Keep the seed drill in the shed

Current dry conditions and a fear of a return of wet conditions – like last winter – will no doubt have growers eager to get out into the fields and plant winter crops.

Farmers cannot be blamed for wanting to take advantage of good sowing conditions, but think carefully before drilling early. It may come back to bite you later on in the season.

Winter cereal growers should take a few things into consideration before they put seed to soil. Going early may not give you the best results, particularly in high disease pressure areas.

Aphids and disease pressure may be increased in early-sown crops.

Aphids

Crops sown in the first week of October with Redigo Deter seed dressing will be protected for six weeks. By this time, temperatures may be reduced enough to decrease aphid activity.

Delaying sowing into October makes the most of the six-week period of protection from the seed dressing and ensures the crop has a level of protection if ground conditions are not suitable for travel.

Leaf disease

No one wants to be spraying for disease in December. Margins are too tight on crops even if the ground allows, and if the ground cannot be travelled, the spread of disease is a threat to the crop.

This season, if crops are sown early, they will most likely burst out of the ground in the warm temperatures and these thick crops may come under pressure with disease.

Before planting, think of your integrated pest management strategy and also think of the active ingredients that are coming under increased resistance pressure. These products should not be coming out in the winter.

Take-all

Trials in the UK show that getting sowing date right – delaying it – can decrease your risk of take-all by 17%.

Trials in Ireland have also shown that late sowing can reduce the risk of take-all and that crops sown in October have higher yields, compared to those sown in September.

One thing is for sure with recent weather events, there is a fine line in tillage farming and balancing on that line is extremely hard to do.