As March approaches, with the promise of spring, it is time to start planning spring cropping options for the year ahead. With elevated fertiliser and feed costs this season, it is important to evaluate spring cropping options and ensure you are making the appropriate decisions for your farm. Spring cereals are very versatile and provide the opportunity to supply home grown feed and straw when combined, with the grain either crimped, rolled or propcorn treated. Spring cereals can also be grown for forage and cut for whole crop silage, providing a useful second forage on farm to help supplement grass silage and lift intakes.
Before making any decisions about which crops to grow or which varieties to select it is vital to get your fields soil sampled to determine pH and nutrient content. Soil health and nutrient availability are critical to nutrient use efficiency, a key driver of yield which must be addressed before drilling crops this spring. The Fane Valley Agronomy and Forage Services team can help you determine the nutrient availability in your soils, the need to raise pH using lime such as Calciprill, provide recommendations on how you can best incorporate organic manures and slurries with artificial fertiliser and provide agronomy advice to optimise soil and plant health and maximise grain yield and straw quality on your farm.
All our spring cereal varieties have been carefully selected for ease of management on farm, producing high grain yields, good specific weights, strong disease ratings and standing ability which helps maximise grain yield and straw quality.
Available this Spring are the ever-popular early maturing spring barley varieties, Kelim, Evelina and Planet which offer the complete package in terms of grain yield, lodging resistance and good disease characteristics with the added benefit of a plentiful amount of straw. If you are looking to push yield Prospect and SY Splendor are high yielding feed barley varieties, as recent additions to the Recommended List both are slightly later maturing than Planet but provide excellent yields with good disease resistance, stiff straw, and excellent resistance to brackling.
In terms of spring wheat KWS Cochise remains a market leader, producing high yields of quality grain and straw. KWS Helium, a new variety for this year also has an impressive mix of characteristics in terms of yield and quality and good all-round resistance to the main spring wheat diseases.
Looking at oats, the varieties WPB Isabel and Husky are both suitable for milling at Whites with high kernel content and high specific weights offering an excellent mix of yield and disease traits.
With the continuation of the Protein Payment Scheme, crops such as beans, peas and lupins are of interest to growers once again. Spring beans have proven to be a popular choice and being legumes, they can fix nitrogen from the air removing the requirement for any additional nitrogen to be added to the growing crop. Additionally, beans can leave up to 50kg of residual nitrogen in the soil which will be available to the following crop helping to make savings in terms of nitrogen fertiliser over the following two seasons.
For growers looking specifically at the whole crop market, spring triticale and spring rye, both offer high whole crop yields, with lower input costs. Spring rye is particularly fast growing and offers a short growing period suiting perhaps a situation where sowing is delayed or following early grazing/silage in the spring.
At Fane Valley, we work closely with customers to ensure the availability of seed in a timely manner, with seed treatments tailored to suit the individual requirements of growers, and to get your crop of to the best start possible.
To secure your seed and for further information on how to optimise your crop inputs for the upcoming season please contact the Fane Valley Agronomy and Forage team on 02892610485.