“As breeders we have various seed growers who drill their wheats after sugar beet or potatoes, and over the last two seasons we have seen some very good results from wheats drilled in this later slot, particularly from the new varieties group 4 Evolution and group 3 Zulu.”
“Both Evolution and Zulu are recommended for the mid-late drilling slot with a latest safe sowing date of mid-February, and our own Limagrain and official data to date would suggest that these two varieties fit the later drilling opportunity very well.”
“It is important to recognise specific characteristics of wheats suited to this later dilled slot– they need to be strong tillering, with a fast ear development and growth habit in the spring,” adds Mr Granger.
“Later drilled crops are often behind the early sowings in maturity, but by choosing varieties that tiller well and have a good spring growth habit, by harvest this maturity gap closes.”
“Soils are still warm and conditions mild, so establishment at the moment should be good which is important. However seed rates need to be adjusted accordingly depending on seed bed conditions, date of drilling and weather conditions at the time – and often this requires rates to be raised slightly- but growers will know what works for individual fields.”
Later drilled varieties often have the advantage of requiring lower inputs, and may not for example, require an earlier autumn herbicide. Varieties such as Evolution and Zulu have robust disease resistance that help to combat and withstand early spring disease challenges points out Mr Granger.