Rain boosts early drilling prospects – harvest update

RECENT WET weather means many growers will be able to sow wheat early this autumn, but variety choice and agronomy must be right to make the most of the opportunity, says Nickerson wheat breeder Bill Angus.

“Some wheat varieties are better suited to early drilling than others. Those with good resistance to Septoria tritici and eyespot, short, stiff straw and late primordia development will be the best choice.

“Soil moisture levels are currently much higher – this time last year it was virtually impossible to produce a seedbed early in the growing season.

“Farmers will be keen to get started early, so bad weather won‘t force them into late sowing in poor ground conditions,” he noted.

Seed rates should also be reduced, as germination levels will be high in the moist, warm early season conditions, Mr Angus explained. 

In addition seedbed cultivations and pre-emergence weed control must be precise.

New NABIM group 3 variety Nijinsky, a cross between Claire and Consort, is now a good bet for early drilling, Mr Angus noted.

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