12th September 2022

Use the correct seed rate for spring barley varieties to ensure optimum establishment

This season is no different, as growers should be patient and delay drilling, until good seed beds with warming soil temperatures ensure quick plant establishment – spring growing crops do not like growth checks.

“We have carried out trials, looking at variety interaction with seed rate for two consecutive seasons in both Scotland and Norfolk. These two seasons were very different with regards to establishment and disease pressure –however despite this a rate of 350 seeds/m² would still appear to be correct.”

Variety v seedrate interaction_NEWS

“Although we saw a slight increase in yield in the 2015 data sets, especially for the newer varieties with an increased seed rate, in general over two years the 350 seeds/m²  rate would appear to be the most cost-effective.”

However he points out that seed rates for spring barley, as for many cereal crops is not an exact science and will need adjusting depending on drilling date, tillering capacity, soil conditions, weather forecast, pest activity and most importantly growers knowledge from previous experience.

Specific weight

“Specific weight however would not appear to be greatly influenced by differing seed rates, but in general the standard 350 seeds/m² in the 2014 and 2015 season, produced the best specific weight for the majority of the varieties in the trial.”

“In general the drive for higher yield has driven varieties towards a later maturity and it is also quite evident that these varieties would also appear to have lower specific weight recordings as compared with past older varieties – but Sienna bucks the trend -and has the best specific weight on the AHDB Recommended List.”

“It’s necessary to keep testing these new high yielding lines to ensure that historic agronomic inputs are still relevant in today’s climate, especially when we know that many of the  new spring barley varieties have significantly increased yield potential over the last six years.


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