A key consideration to increase spring cereal yields is choosing varieties with a greater tillering ability that can help improve final headcounts.
Modern varieties such as RGT Planet, LG Diablo and Laureate on spring barley and the new spring wheat variety KWS Cochise are shown to do this and thus provide greater flexibility for growers on different soil types and with later drilling dates. These varieties can also show a yield advantage
in drought situations due to their tillering abilities. It is worth noting that older varieties such as Kelim and Westminster are still very popular, particularly as feed varieties due to their tall strawed nature.
As the spring drilling window is so wide, it is important to ensure seed rates are adjusted to allow for earlier or later drilling. More information on seed rates is provided on each species page of our Spring Seeds brochure.
Ensuring optimal drilling date is key with spring cereals to maximise yields. Waiting for the right conditions is often more important than an exact drilling date, as spring cereals require the best possible start to ensure rapid emergence and this has a major influence on final yield. If it is possible to drill, drilling from late February can also help with higher yields.
Grass Weed Control
To ensure maximum weed suppression a higher seed rate is advised to allow for crop competitiveness. However, it is worth noting that growers who are looking at excessive seed rates should be wary for the increased chance of lodging, particularly on very fertile sites and with more modern varieties being more aggressive at tillering.
To aid with seed vigour it is pleasing to see that Vibrance Duo now has approval for both spring cereals. However, there are no wireworm treatments for spring cereal seed now that Austral plus has been banned. There is still Signal300es for winter wheat and barley and there may be a chance going forward to get spring approval but as it stands there is no option. To mitigate wireworm risk there are a few steps which can be made:
- Try to avoid drilling spring cereal seed if a grass ley has been down for 4 years or more.
- Think about crop nutrition and do everything possible to ensure the crop has everything it needs to get up and
away as quickly as possible. Obviously, pH is crucially important.
- If it can be avoided, don’t sow too deeply into cold, wet soils. Wireworms cause much more damage to plants that
- Consider the placement of starter fertiliser at drilling
- Increase seed rate where wireworm is expected
- Rolling the seedbed will make life a little more difficult for wireworm, but it shouldn’t be relied upon as a standalone
- If a variety tillers well is there a possibility that it also produces more roots? The greater the root mass, the better able it
would be to tolerate wireworm attack.
- Consider seed treatments such as Vibrance Duo and Kick off to aid with early vigour