Sowing later reduces take-all risk

Dr. Richie Hackett has been examining the effects of take-all for the past number of years at Teagasc Oak Park and he counts delayed sowing as one of the best methods of controlling the disease.

He presented some of the trial results at Goldcrop’s recent autumn technical briefing.

While soil pH levels, crop nutrition, poor drainage and seedbed consolidation can all increase the likelihood of take-all, sowing date plays a major role.

Hackett investigated different varieties and sowing dates in his trials, which were planted with seed dressed with and without Latitude.


The first major factor that Richie eliminated as having a significant impact on take-all risk was variety.

In both winter barley and winter wheat, we didn’t find any consistent difference between varieties in terms of response to Latitude.

Seed rate

Hackett cautioned growers to be careful if they are thinking of cutting seed rates, as this could result in a lower yield.

“Seed rate can have an effect. A lower seed rate can reduce the level of infection, but you have to be careful from an economics point of view.”

Sowing date

The sowing dates used in the trials were in the last 10 days of September and the last 10 days of October.

Going back on old data, Hackett explained that 2004 was “quite a severe take-all year”. He noted that in 2004 “yield in late-October was much higher, irrespective of whether you used Latitude or not”.

Speaking on more recent years, Hackett commented: “We did get a yield response [from Latitude], 0.6-0.7t/ha, in late-September and it was slightly lower in late-October, but it wasn’t a massive difference.”

So remember, don’t be afraid to keep the seed drill in the shed for a while.