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Cereals and OSR

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Wheat Seed

The breadmaking variety Mulika is still the variety with the highest market share in this category. Growers of spring wheat often target the breadmaking premium and Mulika’s quality is sought after by millers. However, there are now Group 2 and Group 4 varieties which are outyielding Mulika by over 10% on the AHDB RL. If achieving a milling premium is a concern then the likes of KWS Cochise or KWS Alderon should be considered.

Barley Seed

Spring barley has found a very positive place in many arable rotations recently. Whilst its inclusion may have been encouraged by outside influences such as blackgrass control and poor autumn drilling conditions - the consistency of yield and lower growing costs seen in spring barley compare favourably with autumn sown alternatives. In Scotland varieties suitable for distilling are preferred, whilst in the south and east of England malting varieties are grown predominantly for the UK domestic brewing market or for export. Most growers in the western region look for maximum yield of grain (and often straw) from the feed barley market, though several of the varieties with the highest yield potential are malting types.

Oat Seed

As a low input crop, spring oats can be a very useful addition to the rotation. It is a crop which has become more popular as the nutritional benefits for us all have increased consumption and therefore increased demand from oat millers. Spring oats also provide another cropping option where take-all or blackgrass is an issue. To get a spring oat crop off to a decent start, it is advisable to drill before mid-April as the crop will be able to tiller well during the early stages.

Rape Seed

Spring oilseed rape has often been viewed as a crop that is only used in the rotation to rescue a failed winter rape crop. However, with an improvement in end-use values, it is attracting more interest as an economically attractive break crop. Recently introduced hybrids are now performing at a level that could see a more consistent area in the UK.


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The area of field beans, peas and other protein crops has increased quite dramatically since DEFRA chose nitrogen-fixing crops as one of its options for growers to achieve their requirement for Ecological Focus Areas (EFA). Unfortunately, recent amendments to the legislation state that pesticides cannot be used on these crops if claiming as part of your EFA. Pulses play an important part in the rotation, creating an excellent first wheat opportunity whilst allowing nitrogen inputs to be reduced slightly. There is strong demand for human consumption for peas and beans and we are seeing increased usage of pulses within the animal feeds sector as improved continuity of supply has attracted more end users.

Spring Beans

When looked at from a whole farm approach, they have much to offer: • Relatively cheap and straightforward to grow • Easy to harvest • Eases workload pressure at sowing and harvest • Excellent break crop contributing N to the following wheat crop • No nitrogen fertiliser required • Premiums widely available for human consumption • Suits medium to heavy soil types.

Protein Peas

Protein peas vary in popularity and are mainly dictated by harvest conditions in the previous season or two. When standing at harvest they can be very satisfying to grow and present good economics. However, those who have harvested peas when they have fallen flat to the ground tend to be put off for several years. Campus should make peas a viable option to more growers now as it offers a significant improvement in standing ability over popular varieties like the relatively stiff Prophet.


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Peas for wholecrop?

Peas can be grown for whole-crop purposes as a source of homegrown protein. However, when grown and ensiled separately it can be challenging to reach a satisfactory DM content and a successful fermentation is not always possible, sometimes producing butyric type silage. For those looking to use peas to increase the protein production, we advise that they are grown as a mixture with barley (mixtures are available at various ratios). Spring barley matures for wholecrop at a similar time to peas, which helps to achieve a high DM and produces a much more stable forage.

Speak to a Wynnstay Arable Specialist

View Our Specialist Spring Seed Blogs For Further Information

Spring Seed Shortages
Nutrition for Spring Crops
Drilling Spring Seed
Crop Protection Decisions
Farm Specific Nutrient Planning
Whole Crop Cereals

Introducing Spring Seeds 2019

Focus on the West

As we look towards Spring 2019, we are hopeful that growing conditions will be significantly better and more stable then they were for 2018. The variable UK weather can always be difficult to predict but 2018 did take it to the extreme. Conditions went from very wet in January to April followed by an extreme drought from May to August which saw Spring Crops suffer dramatically. The UK and in fact European wide picture is that when it came to harvest, yields were significantly down with very stunted crops and fewer tillers due to the lack of Nitrogen uptake.

In true British fashion, we go again for 2019 and so far it is pleasing to see that Autumn drilling has gone relatively smoothly with later drilling being achievable with the mild temperatures up until the start of November. We are still expecting significant demand for Spring cropping with the options and flexibility they offer in the rotation.

It seems to be a similar message to last year but again we would advise early ordering if variety choice is key. Lower yields have affected seed crops and in turn, will mean that demand could potentially outweigh supply.

Focus on the East

Like everywhere, the East suffered an unusually dry harvest and a very mild drilling season meaning more autumn seed was drilled late into November. Oilseed rape establishment has been significantly hampered due to flea beetle damage and very dry seed beds with little moisture coming in the early stages of crop development. However, a significant area of this has already been re-drilled this autumn, either back into oilseed rape or a late drilled barley or wheat crop. With a lot of outlets for malting barley in our area, spring barley will remain the dominant crop that will be planted in the East. Growers will be drawn to the potential good gross margins with varieties like LG Diablo which is a potential dual-purpose variety and one of the highest yielding varieties on this year’s list.

With the constant fight against blackgrass, farmers cropping plans have changed significantly and this trend looks set to continue. We are seeing farmers able to get a very good flush on grass weeds prior to drilling. Also, yields of spring cereals are becoming increasingly more competitive, especially when drilled into good conditions and with the lower inputs needed for spring crops, it is becoming an increasingly attractive option in terms of gross margins.

Spring Beans will prove to be a popular crop and we are expecting Vertigo and Lynx to sell well especially after the problems with Autumn planting and the potential for good premiums for any beans that will make human consumption for next year. It is clear to see that Spring Seed will be in short supply but Spring Pulses have been hit particularly hard by the dry weather and even at the time of writing availability is extremely short.

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