17 July 1998

Warning on redrills

LATE-SOWN sugar beet trials reinforce the view that the crop should only be re-drilled after exceptionally poor takes.

Wet weather, delaying a planned early April sowing until May 11 at Morley, highlights the dangers, says Graham Hilton. Although odd plants managed to find enough moisture in the drought which followed, most remain backward. "We expect this trial to confirm advice that growers should not re-drill unless absolutely unavoidable."

The threshold population below which re-sowing might be considered is 40,000plants/ha, he suggests. "On 20in rows that works out at 40 plants a chain. Above that it will probably pay to keep the crop."

British Sugars Patrick Jarvis says the figure is about right but depends very much on the uniformity of the crop and the time of assessment. "At the end of May you could consider leaving even less," he says. &#42