Spring Cropping – Sustainability Starts with Certified Seed.

12th February 2024

Stephen Bell - Fane Valley Agronomy & Forage Services, Technical Support Manager

Springtime on the farm, welcomes a new growing season, a return to field work and important decisions on cropping options for the season ahead. After making decisions on what to sow, the first thing to do is source seed. Good quality seed is the foundation of cereal production, providing crops with the foundation and opportunity to perform, delivering maximum yields of quality grain.

The difficult 2023 harvest conditions were troublesome for all arable growers, including seed producers, many crops failed field inspections due to lodging, and even crops which passed initial field inspections have struggled to reach the 85% minimum germination standards for certified seed. As a result, there is a shortfall in the supply of some popular varieties and with high demand on farm due to reduced autumn plantings, availability of quality seed is at a premium this spring. The temptation may be to use farm saved seed from 2023 harvest, but this could be a very expensive gamble, as vigour, disease burden and germination will be unknown.

Buying Certified seed provides confidence that the seed in the bag has been tested and is approved in terms of quality, purity, health, and germination allowing the variety to grow to the best of its genetic potential making efficient use of the land and of all subsequent inputs.

At Fane Valley, we have a range of high performing spring cereal varieties selected for ease of management on farm prioritizing yield, straw strength, disease resistance and specific weight, to produce well filled grain suited for feed grain, malting and whole crop silage. We also have the ability to add enhanced seed dressings over and above standard disease dressing, such as trace elements and bio-stimulants, helping establishment and crop vigour.

KWS Curtis, Cadiz, Feedway and LG Diablo are high yielding spring barley varieties, all similar in terms of grain quality, straw strength, and resistance to mildew, with Feedway and KWS Curtis also showing very good resistance to rhynchosporium.  Evelina and Cadiz are taller varieties producing higher straw yields, and along with Feedway ripen in for an earlier harvest.

Fixum and Tybalt spring wheats are top yield performers closely followed by WPB Escape and Hexham.  Grain quality is similar across varieties with Tybalt maturing earliest followed by Fixum, Escape and Hexham. 

Husky and WPB Isabel continues to dominate the local spring oat market, producing consistently superior quality milling oats with high kernel content and good hullability.  Yield is similar for both varieties, with WPB Isabel producing slightly more straw but is later to ripen than Husky.

Bojko spring rye and Dublet spring triticale, are also available, these are popular fast growing, lower input alternative cereal choices for whole crop.

More detailed information on variety selection, seed treatments and tailored agronomy can be obtained from your local Fane Valley Agronomist or by calling the Agronomy and Forage Services Office on 028 9261 0485