Weather: This week’s showery weather is making it difficult for those who are still planting. Spraying opportunities will be there, but keep an eye on the weather forecast to try to avoid showers and make use of the dry periods.

Spring cereals: Fertiliser should be out on all spring crops by now. Aphicide should be sprayed at three to four leaves which many crops are now at. Aphids are visible on many crops. Teagasc recommends a full rate of insecticide and only one insecticide application. If weeds are up then they can also be sprayed at this time. So you are looking at a pyrethroid, sulphonyl urea and fluroxypyr or an Arylex based herbicide. For thistles you will need clopyralid in the mix. In spring barley, wild oats can also be controlled at this time. However, if canary grass is an issue, you may need to wait as plants may not have emerged yet.

Generally spring cereal emergence has been good and even. However, if the seed rate was slightly low due to the seed shortage or emergence wasn’t as good as it should be, then you may apply CeCeCe to promote tillering in the plant. For late April-sown crops, the plant count target is 325 plants/m2. Increasing tiller number should give more heads and can help to dilute protein content across plants.

Trace elements: Trace elements and any nutrition that the crop needs should be applied early on in the plant’s growth to avoid the deficiency affecting the plant. You may not need all of the above on your crops and big tank mixes can stress crops, so check with your agronomist on what is needed.

Fungicide: Early sown spring barley crops may have received or be due a fungicide. It should be applied around mid-tillering. This will probably include prothioconazole (Proline) and where varieties are susceptible to net blotch a strobilurin like Comet can be added. Many winter wheat crops have now received their T2 or will receive it in the coming days. The T2 should be applied to the flag leaf when it has emerged. Use a different product than you used at T1 to help to prevent resistance build up.

ITLUS: The Irish Tillage and Land Use Society (ITLUS) will visit two Kerry farms for this year’s summer field day. The first stop of the day is the Barry farm near Listowel. The Barrys operate a tillage and beef farm near Listowel and a dairy farm in Lixnaw. They grow crops to feed the animals on the farm every year. The next farm of the day is Ballygarron Farm where Paudie and Mary Hanafin run a vegetable business and grow 200ac of spring crops. In the afternoon, attendees will visit Munster Technological University in Tralee, Co Kerry. The event takes place on Thursday, 6 June. The fee for members is €50, €80 for non-members, student members are free, while student non-members will be charged €20. If you wish to attend you should email by Wednesday, 29 May.