Findings from a drilling intentions poll conducted among around 40 growers from around the UK by Syngenta this summer found that despite 56% of winter wheat growers delaying drilling by a month or more after last year’s wet autumn, and 27% unable to drill the majority of their winter wheat crops at all, only 7% are planning to drill earlier than normal this autumn.
Nearly 87%, plan to drill at the same time as normal, with the remainder planning to drill later.
Key risks that growers felt were increased by earlier winter wheat drilling included black-grass, lodging, Septoria tritici and barley yellow dwarf virus.
“On the face of the results, it appears most growers are taking a sensible approach by resisting the temptation to drill early as a knee-jerk response to 2019’s washout autumn,” says Syngenta seed and variety expert, Tracy Creasy.
“That is a good approach to take because early drilling does increase the risk of all four problems that participants in the survey identified. Nevertheless, a number of winter wheat growers were intending to drill earlier. These growers are going to have to take extra care – beginning by growing robust varieties.”
Respondents to the poll were divided about the impact that earlier drilling has on the risk posed by diseases that threaten crop establishment, such as Fusarium, with 55%, feeling that earlier drilling neither increased nor decreased the risk.