Howwill spring barley fare after last years exceptionally large acreage? Manygrowers appear to be making a late decision on the crop.
Anormal year would see around 600,000ha drilled in the UK, compared with the900,000ha last year, says HughBoswell, Farm Saved Seed Co-ordinator for Agrii who is the largest supplier ofcertified spring seed in the UK. With the indications so far that while winterbarley may be slightly up, winter rape is down and winter wheat is notappreciably different from a normal year and may in fact be down as well. Thisis because the wet weather over the last few weeks has meant little or nolate-drilled winter wheat has gone in the ground and there are equally reportsof growers pulling up some winter wheat because the crops are overrun withblack-grass.
In other situations growers with black-grasswere expecting high germination of the weed and have opted to use spring barleyas part of their management strategy against it. So the potential for a reasonablespring barley crop is there, he adds.
However,early season orders have been slow, says Hugh, because few opportunities toprepare the land and lack of buy-back contracts have made growers reticentabout placing orders. Having said that, it is unlikely that growers will gointo other crops, but there is no indication that we will see the very largedrilling of spring wheat varieties that we saw last year. The overallimpression is that we will see a spring barley area that is around the 600,000625,000hawith a flush of late decision making and demand for seed.
Whilewe have a fleet of 24 modern, high-capacity mobiles that treat over 20 per centof the nations home-saved seed, growers should not wait until the last minutein case there is a rush. Plan aheadnow and ensure you have all in place when the weather improves, advises Hugh.
Withspring barley, every seed must count. For this reason a large proportion of thespring barley we sell is treated with Raxil Star (fluopyram + prothioconazole +tebuconazole). This is because it ensures the crop gets off to a good start.The outstanding control of seed-borne diseases, especially leaf stripe andloose smut is important to growers, comments Hugh.