Take the opportunity to plant when combines are parked

Storm Ellen and the heavy rain that it brought put a stop to harvesting, and while tillage farmers await the return of dry weather they may decide to use the opportunity to get some planting or stubble cultivation done. This is of course only where ground conditions are suitable.

Every cloud has a silver lining and while the current wet weather is frustrating, look on it as an opportunity to tackle a job or plant a crop that you may not have had the opportunity to plant in previous seasons.

Winter oilseed rape

Where ground conditions allow, oilseed rape planting should be the first priority. Anyone with plans to sow winter oilseed rape should aim to get seed into the ground in August and a pre-emergence herbicide sprayed while the combine is taking a rest.

Also Read: Rotation proving important in difficult season

Others might consider planting the crop for the first time. It can be harvested between winter barley and winter wheat, can benefit soil structure and soil organic matter build up and provide alternative grass weed control options.

Fixed price offers are also available and premium options which can deliver a higher return.

Catch crops

If oilseed rape isn’t on the agenda, you might consider planting catch crops to provide a soil cover over winter and to soak up any nutrients left behind from the previous crop.

Catch crops can help to improve soil structure and contribute to soil organic matter. These crops benefit from an early sowing date and have the potential to produce more biomass when planted in warmer conditions and the longer days of August.

Also Read: Early sowing key to cover crop success

Farmers planting for the Green, Low-carbon, Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS) must plant by September 15.

Stubble cultivation

Stubble cultivation may also be carried out. Allowing weed seeds and volunteers to germinate now gives the opportunity to control later on.

To read more about creating a stale seedbed, click here