Tillage farmers are currently frustrated with the drawn out harvest and the unsettled weather.

Many have been looking forward to the next planting season and would be forgiven for pulling out the drill early in the season.

Last year’s wet autumn has also left people weary of waiting and taking a chance on weather being suitable for sowing into October.

In the 2019/2020 season, approximately 60% of the intended winter cereal area was planted, as wet ground conditions dominated the weather from the end of September on.

However, it is essential that farmers take a step back and remember the benefits of delaying drilling – that is of course provided that the weather holds up.


Delayed drilling can reduce the risk of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) infection from aphids and can also reduce the incidence of diseases such as take-all.

Last autumn was the first without Redigo Deter – a seed dressing which provided protection against aphids and BYDV for up to eight weeks. Delayed sowing and poor weather kept BYDV pressure low.

However, BYDV has not gone away, there is widespread resistance to pyrethroids and while there is alternative chemistry available the answer to the problem is not in a can. Preventative measures can be taken first as part of an integrated pest management strategy.

In the same vein, if you have managed to get hold of a BYDV tolerant variety there is still a threat of disease, particularly take-all, and so drilling should be delayed.


Advanced crops also carry the risk of developing diseases like Septoria early in the season and as the availability of chemistry reduces prevention is essential.

Keep an eye to the weather forecast. It’s hard to strike the right balance, but we should strive towards it.