March is an extremely important month on all tillage farms. The work done in March provides the foundations for this year’s harvest. Spring Cereals grow from seed to maturity in approximately 120 days and the old saying “well sown is half grown” is still as important as ever.
Some important things to remember as we approach busy season.
- Sowing Date – sow your crop when soil is ready and conditions are right- you only get one shot at planting.
- Fertilizer – apply fertilizer based on Crop needs, Current Soil samples and the Nitrates directive.
- Crop choice – choose crops that suit your soil type, your rotation and your farm.
- Variety Choice – choose a variety suitable to your farm. Please see our February Newsletter for available varieties or contact your local Quinns technical sales advisor
Winter Oilseed Rape
Winter Oilseed rape will be the first crop to receive nitrogen. The timing of the first Nitrogen application is dependent on the Green Area Index of the crop which in turn is very dependent on sowing date and pest damage over the winter months. There are some very backward crops of Oilseed rape and these should have received nitrogen in the form of ASN before the end of February. Forward crops of Oilseed Rape will require some form of PGR to ensure canopy shortening and strengthening of the roots which leads to more even ripening and uniform distribution of light throughout the canopy. Use Caramba @ 0.8-1.2Ltr/ha in thick advanced crops once rapid growth occurs.
For winter Barley the 1st split of Nitrogen needs to be on by GS 30. This will be dependent on crop sowing date but for October sown winter barley Nitrogen needs to be on in the next 7-10 days. It is better to be on a week too early than a week too late as growth will increase significantly once soil temperatures warm up. In relation to Winter Oats, new research presented at the Teagasc Tillage Conference showed that a 50:50 strategy for splitting nitrogen between GS30 and GS32 will increase hectolitre weight by 1 kg/hl compared to a 33:66 strategy. The optimum application rate varied from 120-150kg/ha (90-120 Units) applying any more than this has no effect on yield but can have a detrimental effect on Hectolitre weights.
Lime still remains hugely important to production on tillage Farms. As an industry we are still under utilizing and under spreading lime. If you got a soil sample back recently and find that you need to spread lime there are Granular lime products such as GrowMax or Granlime on the market that will give you a quick fix for one year. These are very finely ground so as to dissolve quickly and increase pH.
On the down side, they leach easily, so will only last about one year. The best way to address pH is sample early and spread ground limestone. If you have fields that need a pH correction plan an application in the autumn for next year.
For the best advice on any of the above or general agronomy please contact your local Quinns technical sales advisor.