Brendan Lynch – Ardee, Louth

With the harvest countdown now on, things are quiet on Brendan’s farm.

Conditions can be described as perfect in Louth for grain filling, he says.

However, things have been dry for potatoes so the 18mm of rain which fell over the past week has been welcomed.

Brendan has potato irrigation equipment but doesn’t think it will be needed this year.

Brendan's potato crops are coming along well.

He says his earlier-planted potato crops are looking excellent but his later ones are still a bit behind. This week’s moisture will be very beneficial for these crops, he says.

He notes that potato virus seems to be an issue in the area this year, particularly on home-saved seed. His blight control programme is in full swing. Until this week, pressure had been low but the arrival of moisture and high temperatures have changed this. He expects the potato harvest to kick off in the coming six weeks.

Winter crops

Brendan’s winter barley crops are looking good after an ideal grain filling period. He thinks the harvest should kick off around 20 July which is normal for him. He has serviced his Claas 650 combine and the grain stores have been washed down.

His winter oats are also looking good and are still green in colour. He is very optimistic about the potential of his winter oilseed rape as there appears to be a high amount of pods on each plant.

Brendan’s winter wheat received a head spray two weeks ago of Cello (1l/ha) and Amistar (0.5l/ha). He also added Addin (1l/ha) and Magnite (3l/ha) to the tank. He says the crop has enjoyed good flowering weather.

Spring barley

Brendan is happy with how his spring barley crops are coming along. They received a head spray two weeks ago of Decoy (0.32l/ha), Serpent (0.65l/ha) and Arizona (1l/ha). He also added Drummonds Mag trace elements (2l/ha) into the tank. Disease pressure to date remains low in the crop.

Seamus Duggan – Durrow, Laois

The 18mm of rain which fell over the past week was needed, says Seamus.

Spring barley crops on dry pockets of land were beginning to show signs of stress but this has all been alleviated with the arrival of moisture.

With the rain and warm temperatures, he describes conditions for his spring cereals and beet crops as perfect.

His winter barley crops, on the other hand, appear to be succumbing to late-season ramularia.

Seamus's beet crops have exploded over the past few months.

“The crop looked so promising all along and disease pressure was low all year,” Seamus says.

“But it seems like ramularia has come into the crop overnight. I’ve been taken aback by how quickly it has spread and I really don’t know how this will affect grain fill.”

As a result, he says he has serious concerns going forward about ramularia control. “The next 10 days are going to tell a lot,” he says.

Beet crops

Seamus says his beet crops have exploded in growth over the past month and despite the late season, the rows were meeting by 23 June.

He is very happy with the crop so far and had to apply just two herbicides this season.

Seamus plans to apply N2 liquid nitrogen along with trace elements on to the crop around the first week of August. He’ll also apply a fungicide and will close the gate for the season on his way out.

Spring barley

His spring barley crops remain clean and he thinks that his earliest sown crops will begin to turn within 10 days. He waited until the head was fully out to apply the head spray in a bid to provide maximum protection against fusarium as the crops are destined for the drinks industry. The head spray consisted of Priaxor (0.7l/ha) and Decoy (0.35l/ha).

Seamus is optimistic about the malting barley price this year, with the Fob Creil malting barley price currently around €221/t for brewing barley.

Michael Kennedy – Athenry, Galway

The 32mm of rain which fell in Athenry over the past week has been welcome, says Michael.

While crops were not under pressure, his potatoes benefited from the moisture. The warm and moist conditions are expected to drive these crops on now, he says.

The weather last week was perfect haymaking weather in Galway, remarks Michael. He says the delay in making hay crops has resulted in a relatively good yield. “Hay was a good three weeks later than normal this year which has helped the crop bulk,” he comments.

Some of Michael's potato crops are in full flower.

Once his hay was baled and cleared, he applied slurry and manure in preparation for a second cut of grass silage. His earlier-harvested silage ground will be ready for a second cut in a few weeks.

Potato crops

There is a big spread in the developmental stages of his potato crop due to the staggered nature of his planting campaign earlier in the season. He says he has some crops which are in full flower while others are just 15cm in height. The later-sown crops have been slower to develop as, up until last week, night time temperatures were cool.

He hopes to begin harvesting his earliest Queens in three weeks. The crops will be harvested green, graded and sold within a day. Blight pressure has increased in the area with the arrival of moisture last week so he aims to spray every seven to 10 days. Trade remains steady, despite the better weather he remarks.


Michael’s winter barley crops look very good, despite a bad start. The grains appear to be filling well and he expects the harvest to kick off in two to three weeks’ time.

The spring crops are looking equally as good. His spring barley is green and lush in colour and two weeks ago received a head spray of Arizona (1.2l/ha) and Mettle (1.2l/ha). His spring oats are also looking excellent.