Iain McMordie – Downpatrick, Down

Settled weather has allowed the cereal harvest to finish up in good time, says Iain. When talking to him this week, he was counting down the days to the start of his spring bean harvest. His 55ac should be ready by the weekend, weather permitting.

Iain burning off stubble with Mourne Mountains in the background.

Overall it has been a good harvest so far, says Iain, with the exception of a number of combine breakdowns which held things up.

Since speaking to him last, he cut his Isabel spring oat crop which is destined for seed. The crop yielded around 2.75t/ac. He also cut his Isabel porridge oats which yielded between 2.7t/ac and 3t/ac at 15-16% moisture. The grain was dried the following day and will be stored until it is collected by Whites Oats next spring. He chopped most of his spring oats straw this year as he says there isn’t a significant demand for it in his area and it’s also good for his soil health.

His Extase and Graham winter wheat crops yielded between 3.8-4.4t/ac. He says he still has around 50% of his wheat to dry but as it is 16% or less, it is not a priority. The straw yielded over 2t/ac.

Iain is aiming to stubble-cultivate certain fields as soon as possible

His winter oilseed rape crops yielded around 1.6t/ac to 1.7t/ac dry. He says the anti-pod shatter genes in modern varieties seems to be working well as he did not burn the crop off this year and suffered little loss. He did note some shedding in one field but thinks the small birds that lived on it for weeks were largely responsible.

Iain is aiming to stubble-cultivate certain fields as soon as possible. This week he is also burning off stubble regrowth ahead of sowing barley and has also started spreading fibrophos.

His hybrid winter oilseed rape has emerged well but slugs are causing considerable damage on a proportion of the crop. He says that, as the crop is a hybrid, it was sown thin so slug damage at this early stage is particularly damaging.

Con Barry – Lixnaw, Kerry

The weather has been good over the past month in north Kerry, says Con. He says tillage farmers got a great chance this year, with the weather settling down for the winter and spring cereal harvest. However, harvesting grain for crimping, which fell in-between, was a challenge this year due to broken weather.

Regrowth has been strong in Co Kerry.

Con’s winter wheat yielded between 4.5t/ac and 5.2t/ac, with crimped grain averaging 5.8t/ac. This was a great performance and straw was also impressive, averaging between 15 and 16 4x4 round bales/ac.

The performance of his spring barley crops, however, was mixed. The best of it did around 3.25t/ac at 18% moisture. This was on a block of ground close to home which received farm yard manure recently.

Another block of ground, which is considerably further away from his home, averaged 2.8t/ac at 19% moisture. While it looked like a good crop, the grains were small and he thinks he lost yield due to this. He also noted a late flush of green tillers in the crop. “I think these tillers were abandoned when conditions turned poorly in spring, but came back when things improved in summer,” Con says. The straw yielded around 10 4x4 bales/ac, however.

Due to the mild temperatures and moisture, the undersown grass developed quickly and he is now grazing cattle in the field

He also harvested his spring wheat crops, which yielded between 2.7t/ac and 3.25t/ac at 18% moisture. The straw yielded an impressive 14 4x4 round bales/ac.


Con also wholecropped his spring oats, spring barley undersown with grass and some spring wheat. He uses a contractor for all of the wholecropping. He was happy with how his oats and barley yielded but his wheat was just average, he says.

Due to the mild temperatures and moisture, the undersown grass developed quickly and he is now grazing cattle in the field. Elsewhere, Con is spreading slurry on to stubble before cultivating it.

He is also spreading an amount of farmyard manure. He may have to mow some paddocks to bale as grass growth has been so strong.

Jonathan Kelly – Limavady, Derry

Ground conditions are good on Jonathan’s farm and, as a result, he is busy this week finishing harvest 2021 and preparing for the 2022 autumn planting campaign.

Around 84mm of rain has fallen on his farm over the past month and over a third of this, 30mm, fell on 9 September alone.

Jonathan finishing his spring barley overlooking Lough Foyle and Inishowen at dusk

When talking to Jonathan last month, he was just about to start his winter wheat harvest.

The crop looked very good all year and he was pleased with how it preformed, averaging around 4t/ac at between 15%-18% moisture. This is an exceptional yield for his farm. Straw yields were also very good, averaging 5 8x4x3 square bales/ac, most of which is now in his shed.

The cereal harvest was completed by 2 September which is very early for him

Next he moved to his spring barley crops, which averaged around 2.5t/ac at 14%-15% moisture. He is drying the last of this crop this week in preparation for storage. The crop’s straw was also exceptional, averaging 4-5 8x4x4 square bales/ac.

The cereal harvest was completed by 2 September which is very early for him.

He tested his spring beans this week. After testing 24% moisture he decided to leave the crop until the weekend at the earliest.


Jonathan gave most of his stubble a shallow pass with his 4m powerharrow to germinate weeds and volunteers. This will be burned off this week. Some of this ground will be subsoiled before drilling winter cereals via minimum tillage. The rest will be ploughed and one-passed.

Emergence is good on his winter oilseed rape and he recently applied Falcon (1l/ha) to knock out barley volunteers on his crops which were min-tilled. He also applied slug pellets.

His maize crops are coming along very well and the harvest could begin in the next three weeks. The crop is even and tall, at around 7ft in height.

Elsewhere Jonathan is busy spreading compost and slurry as well as cutting hedges. He also mowed silage this week which will be the crop’s third cut.