Padraig Kehoe – Enniscorthy, Co Wexford

After a dry autumn in Enniscorthy, rainfall levels are catching up. Over 90mm of rain has fallen on Padraig’s farm over the past week.

As a result, ground is wet and he struggled to even apply slug pellets during the week with his quad. Crops are taking this rainfall very well however, as establishment and early stage development was great.

Padraig's winter wheat which was direct drilled into grass ley is establishing well.

Temperatures over the past week have noticeably decreased, with nightly ground frosts returning. Padraig welcomes this, as he thinks it will reduce aphid pressure.

Chopped straw

His earlier sown winter wheat crops are doing very well.

He notices a big difference in the crops which were drilled into chopped oat straw however.

Padraig says that the crops are visibly behind and he attributes this to the chopped oat straw using up available nitrogen to help break down.

He says that slug pressure is also higher on these crops and they have since received an application of slug pellets. He says that winter oat straw yields were very high this year, which is contributing to this. His later sown winter wheat crops are coming along very well. The crop was direct drilled into spring bean stubble using either a John Deere 750A or a Horsch Avatar drill. He used both drills as a trial, but says he doesn’t notice any difference in crop establishment between the two. Padraig says he would like to try direct drilling more of his crops in the future, but would keep his minimum tillage drill as a back-up.

These crops have yet to receive a herbicide. His winter barley and hybrid winter rye crops are also looking very well, he says.


Finally, Padraig sowed his winter oats on the 16 October. The Husky crop was drilled at a rate of 140kg/ha, but wasn’t rolled after due to sticky conditions.

His winter oilseed rape is coming along well and recently received Proline (0.4l/ha) and Juventus (0.5l/ha).

Iain McMordie – Downpatrick, Co Down

Rainfall in Co Down has been lower than many areas around the country over the past month. With that said, ground conditions have still been sticky at times and Iain has had to hold off on finishing the last of his fieldwork until conditions improve.

Iain's later-sown winter wheat has now emerged.

Temperatures have cooled, which Iain welcomes. While all crops have now emerged, he thinks cooler temperatures will help slow down growth ahead of the winter. All cereal crops are looking good.

Since talking to him last, he has finished drilling his winter wheat. The last of the crops were sown around two weeks ago and are just now emerging. This year, Iain is growing the variety Extase, as well as a small amount of Graham. He is also growing 22ac of Costello for a seed contract.

He noticed that a stone had partly blocked a pipe in the distribution head of his drill and this has created some stripes in the field.

He still has around 36ac of wheat to spray for weeds. He intends on applying Liberator (0.4l/ha) and Defy (2l/ha) when conditions improve. Iain will also apply a follow up herbicide on earlier sown winter wheat crops to knock out volunteer barley. He says his winter barley crops have all emerged with very little damage from wet spots in fields.

Two out of four fields of winter oilseed rape are looking poorly, explains Iain. They are extremely thin, so he broadcast seed using a slug pellet applicator in an attempt to establish new plants to thicken the crop out. He says that this approach has been hit or miss in the past.

The crops in the other two fields received an application of Falcon to knock out volunteer barley and are due to receive Kerb in the coming weeks.

He has also started winter machinery maintenance and has ordered parts for his drill and discs, which will be collected this week.

Con Barry – Lixnaw, Co Kerry

Con says he thinks October has become a wetter month over the years. This is certainly the case this year, as over 224mm of rain fell on his farm during the past month.

Ground conditions have deteriorated considerably, but he was able to complete all of his planned autumn fieldwork.

Con's winter wheat crops, sown after maize, are also emerging well despite the wet weather.

Temperatures are still relatively mild however, reaching 14°C this week. He says that crops and grass are still growing as a result.

Con started harvesting his maize crops on 16 October and completed this three days later. Overall, he is happy with how his maize crops performed, but says that it wasn’t an exceptional year.

The maize was pitted in his yard and will be fed to his dairy cows after calving.

He will mix the maize silage with wholecropped oats and wheat, as well as crimped wheat, all of which were grown on his farm. He will also add in some soya bean meal to the mix.

Con was able to follow the forage harvester with his plough and one-pass, sowing Graham winter wheat at a rate of 165kg/ac.

Conditions were quite good considering the wet month. He was able to sow around 200ac of winter wheat over the week before the weather broke again.


Con says that slug pressure is particularly high this season, helped by high temperatures and moisture.

In particular, the slugs appear to favour hybrid winter rye over other cereals. He had to apply an application of slug pellets twice on his rye crops as a result.

With the exception of some slug damage and wet patches, the crops are looking very good. Crow pressure is also high in Con’s area. He is also servicing his machinery and preparing them for winter storage. So far, he has serviced his drill, power harrow and combines, and will move onto his mowers next.