by Brian Daly
As we still wait for spring to return after a good February, farmers across the country begin to get itchy feet as March wasn’t an overly productive month. Winter crops seem to be in good order where early fertilizer was applied but this nitrogen will surely be used up and crops will become hungry if ground conditions don’t improve and allow farmers to apply their main spit of fertiliser. Historically at this stage the first fungicide and plant growth regulator would be applied but again the poor weather has halted this. Plant growth regulation is massively important especially when pushing a crop. If high yields are achieved and a weak stem is present it means only one thing, lodging. To avoid this problem a well-planned growth regulation program is needed. While tillering is still occurring growth regulators can also be used to break apical dominance, this means the plant sends it energy and encourages a more even crop which results in higher yields.
At GS31 a combination of (CeCeCe 1l/ha + Moddus .2l/ha) or (CeCeCe 1l/ha + Medax Max .3kg/ha) will keep internode distances tight at the base of the stem and thicken stems to create strong shoots to carry heavy heads of grain. PGR can be used in tandem along with the plants first fungicide. The specific fungicide necessary for your crop will have many variables such as sowing date, weather, and crop condition. Macfare @ 1.0l/ha, or Decoy + Comet @.4l/ha+.5l/ha, Velogy Era @.8l/ha or Coyote @.8l/ha will offer excellent control at T1. Controlling Rhinco, Net Blotch, Rust, Mildew, Ramularia. Folpet isn’t required at T1 if a T2 is being applied mid Stem extension GS32-37. Contact your local Liffey Mills technical advisor to distinguish what is the best option to take.
With very little spring barley sown apart from the odd bit done very early on, there is a lot of work to do. Ground conditions will prove to be difficult as land is extremely heavy. Aim to sow 300-330 seeds per m squared, giving you the best chance of achieving the desired plants per m squared. To achieve correct seeding rate for your specific variety first check for the thousand grain weight on the back of the bag, multiply it 300-330 and divide that answer by the expected germination percentage of 85% which will leave you with kg/Ha to be sown. Spring barley will prove to be a difficult task with such a wet time of year and plenty of work ahead. Keep in contact with your local Liffey Mills technical advisor and make sure to keep an eye on developing crops.