Teagasc tillage advisor Martin Bourke has confirmed to AgriLand that winter cereal crops in the Wexford are showing tremendous promise.

“And that’s despite all the rain that e have had over the past two months,” he added.

“The records indicate that 140 mls fell in January: the equivalent figure for February was 175 mls.

“But the good news is that ground is now drying out fast. And crops of winter barley, winter wheat and oilseed rape are faring tremendously well, despite the fact that they have had to cope with almost water saturated conditions, since the turn of the year.

“Their positive response to this challenge can be attributed to the fact that crops were sown out in almost perfect conditions last autumn, with the result that they had established very good and deep root systems by Christmas.

“I know that some crops have had to deal with flooded conditions for the past few weeks. In these cases , plant kill could become a factor, particularly in those area of fields affected by standing water for a number of consecutive days.”

Martin continued;

“The either for the next few days is very good. Soils will have dried out sufficiently by the middle of the week to apply the first split dressing of Nitrogen on barley cops. I am recommending  an application rate of 50 kilos per hectare with P and K added to balance this accordingly.

“This should be followed at the weekend by an application of the growth regulator Cycocel on barley crops. This will help even tout the tillering process.”

Martin specifically commented on the excellent appearance of 6 row barley varieties at the present time.

“Crops of ‘Volume’ are looking tremendously well,” he added.

“In contrast, two row varieties, such as ‘Glacier’ and ‘Cassius’ don’t seem to have progressed as well over the winter. But, no doubt, the next few days of good weather will help turn this situation around.”

On the subject of Spring crops, the Teagasc advisor noted that a number of framers in the Wexford are had already started ploughing.

“Personally, I don’t think ground conditions are that suited to ploughing just yet,” he concluded.

“I would prefer they waited until next weekend, until ground conditions have sufficiently dried up. It’s still quite early enough in the season.”