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Top Tips for Barley Establishment

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- Farmers Guardian

Spring barley had a short growing season and maximising its opportunities early was important to get the most from the crop, said Farmacy agronomist Alice Cannon.

Allowing sufficient time from desiccation of cover crops before drilling spring barley was important, with some mixtures, particularly those containing at least 60 percent of cereal, needing up to six weeks, she said.

"Spring barley yield is set very early in the season with tillering stopping at GS30," she added. "Yield is directly driven by grains produced per unit area.

"Earlier drilling will increase tillering potential, which increases yield potential and also positively impacts black-grass control.

Barley has limited time to compensate for reduced plant populations in adverse conditions. Always drill by seeds/sq.metre not weight. Aim for 450-500 seeds/sq.m.

"Spring barley produces fewer leaves than winter and 19-24 grains/ear- fewer than winter barley – so more ears/sq. m are needed."

Seedbed quality made a big difference to spring barley establishment, said Ms Cannon.

 

Nutrition

"Establishment can drop to 55 percent in poor seedbeds, which have compaction or N lock-up problems if previous cereal cover crop mixtures have not been desiccated in enough time."

In terms of crop nutrition, nitrogen could initially be locked up, following a cover crop, with brassicas and cereals the worst offenders, said Ms Cannon.

“Front load N or increase nutritional inputs. However, be mindful where growing malting barley with overall N applications."