24 March 2000

Cutting seed rates

GROWERS with the confidence to cut seed rates when drilling early can save £30/ha (£12/acre), says UAPs Peter Gould.

"I would say 75% are drilling on seeds/sq m, but they are drilling around 250 seeds. That is way too high. It is no wonder we are seeing silage crops out there."

Target plant count for an early September drilled wheat on medium soil should be 60 plants/sq m. At a typical seed survival rate of 75% that means drilling 80 seeds/sq m, or 40kg/ha (0.3cwt/acre) at a thousand grain weight of 50. That saves £19/ha (£8/acre) compared to 250 seeds/sq m of seed costing £220/t, he calculates.

By setting crops up with the right plant counts to achieve target tiller numbers later, growers will avoid expensive pgr programs in spring, saving £10/ha (£4/acre). Yields should also increase. &#42

Target plant populations

Drilling date Target

plants/sq m

Sept 60-120

Oct 90-180

Nov 160-300

Range due to fertility, soil type & location differences.

Source: UAP.