Seasonal planting conditions

The dust has mainly given way to good planting conditions but too much rain now would ruin what has been a good year. Many of the Met stations on the eastern and southeastern seaboards have had about 50% additional rainfall so far this September but dry ground has been able to soak it up so far.

As we slip into October it is now all stations go for planting in most areas. Ploughs were busy this week so when the drills roll they will stay rolling, weather permitting. Lower temperatures remove some of the early planting risks.

It is still early for planting across much of the south and in fields that carry high take-all risk. Take-all hits hardest on land that can deliver very high first wheat yields.


Sow first wheat slots first as there should be no risk of take-all – the same is largely true for barley. Hold off on spring oat planting for another fortnight or so to minimise the risk of crops being too far developed by spring. The risk of mildew and crown rust from early sowing are also real factors.

Latitude might be used on wheat and barley seed for high take-all risk fields but it is still sensible to delay planting until the second half of October.

Drill two-row and conventional six-row barley at 320 to 350 seeds/m2 or 160-175kg/ha (10.2-11.1st/ac) for 50g thousand grain weight (TGW) seed. Do not take TGW as an absolute number so look at the seed as well as the label and use your own judgement too. Drill hybrid barley at around 200 seeds/m2 or 100kg/ha (6.4 st/ac) for 50g TGW seed.

Drill winter wheat at around 200-250 seeds/m2, which is around 100-125kg/ha (6.4-8.0st/ac) for 50g TGW seed where establishment will be good. Hold off on oats for another week or two.


Planted winter wheat or barley should be sprayed pre-emerge with products containing actives such as pendimethalin or flufenacet or chlorotoluron where grass weeds are likely to be a significant problem. DFF and Defy can help broaden the weed spectrum but they still need additional help where serious grass weeds are a problem. Product options include Stomp, Firebird, Flight, Tower, Diflanil etc.

Products such as Flight or Firebird might be used in conjunction with DFF or Defy to broaden the weed spectrum.

In fields where blackgrass resistance is an issue, Avadex Factor should be applied pre-emergence of the crop.

Soil testing

Get soil tests up to date to guide fertiliser use on crops. Where the whole farm is to be tested, soil sampling can be considered as an eco scheme for one year.

It can be useful to get some P and K into the seedbed in fields with low soil indices, especially with winter barley. More P or K can be applied in spring to balance requirement or to help build soil fertility.

Lime and soil pH are very important elements of soil fertility, especially for barley, rape and beans.