Lord&Hunt - Professional Farmers and Agricultural Contractors

Spring Barley and Oats

Planet and Propino are the two main spring barley varieties in demand in our corner of Essex, and Canyon is our current variety of spring oats which often ends up at Baileys horse feeds.

Preparations for spring crops start straight after the combine – a cover crop mix of radish, vetch, buckwheat and sunflower is planted as soon as possible to keep the soil healthy and functioning through the winter. This aids drainage and retains nutrients preventing loss of topsoil which can be seen in wet winters.

The cover crop is sprayed off with glyphosate in late Autumn/early winter to allow the soil surface to dry out prior to direct drilling with the Cross slot in March/April. A liquid blend of 20:20:0 fertiliser is placed with the seed at drilling which gets the crop off to a formula one start. The combination of cover crop and direct drilling means moisture is retained and emergence guaranteed. Because the soil has not been disturbed fresh blackgrass growth is generally minimal although this does depend on weather conditions over winter. We have found spring barley to be more competitive against blackgrass, reducing seed return to the following crop which in our case is either beans or oilseed rape: thus giving optimum chance for a weed free wheat crop.

The only weed control in spring crops tends to be for broadleaved weeds, and on average only one fungicide timing is required.