Boortmalt advises farmers on late sowing conditions

This week, Boortmalt issued some advice to farmers on sowing rate and nitrogen (N) application rates in the late sowing season in order to increase farmer’s chances of meeting protein requirements.

Brewing barley must be at or below a protein content of 10.8%, while distilling barley must be at or below a protein content of 9.4%.

AgriLand spoke to Tom Bryan – malting barley technical manager – and John Crean – head of agricultural operations – of Boortmalt. They advised farmers to increase their seed rate in order to lower grain protein content.

Increase seeding rate

Grain protein is always something that can change in each given season and from farm to farm. Increasing seed rate can help to reduce grain protein content.

Adding to the seed rate should result in more main stems, and a more even distribution of the N to the plants. Increasing main stems should also improve grain quality as more tillers can result in more screenings.

According to Tom, farmers need to look at their normal sowing date and add 1kg/ha/day to the seed rate for each day after this date.

He estimates sowing to be approximately one week behind the average in most places and expects that an extra 7kg/ha onto seeding rate will be the run of this increase.

N advice – decrease by 1kg/ha/day delayed sowing

When it comes to N, the advice is similar. Farmers should reduce N rate per hectare by 1kg/ha for each day after the normal sowing date.

John commented that many farmers in Co. Wexford now front-load their N with great results. He advised farmers to think about putting all N in the seedbed.

However, both commented that farmers know their own farm better than anyone else and should make agronomic decisions to suit their farm, while taking into consideration the late sowing date, the increase in seed rate and decrease in N content.