Tillage farmers are struggling with weather conditions and sowing of spring cereals is behind by two weeks, according to Jim O’Mahony, Teagasc Programme Manager Tillage.

He said there has been very little sowing done to-date on tillage farms across the country – sowing that should be nearly completed by this stage – due to continued wet weather.

Spring sowing is behind by two weeks and every week sowing is late in April, he said, will impact on yields. He also said it is getting very late for sowing beans, which will result in a very small acreage going into the ground in 2014.

The quality and yields of malting barley, he said, will be affected if it goes into the ground too late.

Meanwhile, winter crops though went into the ground in ideal conditions, he said, and despite the poor winter they have come through it in good condition. “At the moment winter crops are ok, despite the prolonged wet weather. However, only for such a good establishment period they would be in trouble.”

The next two weeks, he said, will be vital for tillage farmers and there will be a lot of work to be done if the weather takes up over the next two weeks. However, he advised caution over haste in the coming weeks. “We are saying to people to not sow spring barley in poor soil conditions – wait for good soil conditions before sowing. The priority while waiting should be looking at fertiliser and spraying of winter crops.”

Disease levels, he said, are low to moderate, with winter crops looking ok at this point and have the potential to do well.

Meanwhile the Department of Agriculture in Northern Ireland has said winter cereals are progressing well and should have received their first Nitrogen application by now. It advised sowing of spring barley should only take place when a good seedbed is created.