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East Cork Finalist – Robert Batenam

East Cork Finalist – Robert Batenam

The Dairygold Malting Barley Competition 2020 is held every year to showcase our growers and their business practices, to show how they include the crop in their rotation and maintain excellent standards. From all in Dairygold we would like to take this opportunity to thank all four growers in allowing us to this and congratulate all on efforts made throughout the year. The winner of the Dairygold Malting Barley Competition will be announced at 1pm on Friday the 26th.

Tillage farmer Robert Bateman is representing East Cork, the Imokilly region, where he farms on the southern side of Castlemartyr village. The farm is surrounded by Mitchel’s Wood on one side and bounds the river Womanagh on the Ladysbridge side in what can be described a strong land, maybe just a little heavy.

The farm has evolved from total tillage to some short-term grassland in recent years. Robert is a strong advocate of good rotation practices and prior to the demise of the sugar beet crop had a simple rotation of about 50 acres of beet followed by winter wheat or spring wheat and spring barley in 3rd year. With beet gone from the equation Robert has tried to keep as much rotation going as possible growing winter oilseed rape for a few years and has also introduced spring beans into the rotation.

In recent years, Robert has entered into an arrangement with a dairy farmer who is a relative of his, whereby he grows maize on the farm for him and also sows some short term grasses which are used for 3 silage cuts and late autumn grazing of young dairy stock. Robert sees advantages with this system as slurry from the dairy farm is spread before the maize and on his grassland and farmyard manure is ploughed down before the barley. This helps keep up his soil fertility and helps his soil structure and the intention is to rotate these fields around the farm annually.

Robert believes that early ploughing pays dividends by making it easier to have a nice tilth at sowing time and better soil moisture retention during the growing season. Robert does all the work on the cereal crops from ploughing through to harvesting. After ploughing the fields are prepared for sowing using one run of a disc harrow. Sowing is carried out using an Amazone one pass system and is rolled soon afterwards. Robert is growing Planet spring barley for the last five years, each year achieving a quality sample and is very pleased with how it is yielding. He uses a 2-spray fungicide program including trace elements all under the guidance of his local Dairygold ASM Frank Hayes.

All the straw is baled, the dairy farmer takes some and the rest goes to a regular dealer. A contractor is employed to sow and harvest the maize. Robert is joined the GLAS scheme and sows a rape leafy turnip mix after the spring barley, he also has several bird boxes around the farm. As the cereal crops now occupy only half the farm, Robert works full time as a marine electrician which dovetails in nicely with his farming.

Enter our competition today by sending in your favourite tillage related photo to along with your name and phone number to be in with a chance of winning a nature box. 

Please click here to read about the north Cork Finalist. 

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