Make decisions early on spring seed varieties

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Growers are being urged to make spring seed decisions early, as popular varieties are likely to be in short supply.

“Delayed drilling due to the ‘Beast from the East’ and little rainfall from May to August last year has impacted seed availability for 2019,” says Jonathan Baxendale, Wynnstay combinable seed product manager.

While popular varieties are currently still available, overall supplies are down and Mr Baxendale advises securing seed as soon as possible.

“RGT Planet is a high yielding feed and malting barley variety, particularly for growers in the West, which is likely to be our most popular variety this spring. Propino is also expected to be in demand, although it’s slightly lower yielding than Planet, alongside Laureate which has full Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) approval.

“If you are considering growing a new malting barley, LG Diablo is expected to be popular this year and is currently one of the highest yielding spring barleys on the Recommend List. It’s getting a lot of end user interest already from seed mills, maltsters and brewers, so I recommend ordering now.

“For those looking to grow a variety for whole crop or baled straw, Kelim is once again likely to be the variety of choice due to its good grain yield and extremely tall straw,” Mr Baxendale adds.

When it comes to spring wheat, he says growers should be considering KWS Cochise. “It’s the highest yielding spring wheat available, providing on average a 10% higher yield than the current favourite, Mulika. It also offers a high specific weight and Orange Wheat Blossom Midge resistance, so should be a popular choice.”

Spring cereals were not the only crops to take a hit in 2018 and Mr Baxendale notes stocks of spring beans are also expected to be low. “Significant bruchid beetle damage, along with the drought, caused low yields in spring beans at harvest and poor germination scores. 

“A derogation has been brought in that’ll allow spring bean seeds with a lower germination score, a minimum of 70%, to be sold in order to meet demand. A similar derogation has been granted for spring oats with a minimum gemination of 75% being approved.”

Mr Baxendale advises growers to act fast to obtain their seed variety of choice. “Don’t hedge your bets as you may well end up with second best varieties or even not be able to grow your species of choice. Order spring seed early to avoid disappointment,” he concludes.

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About Author

Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.