Every season brings its own challenges and it’s extremely important to plan well in advance which types of crop or mix you wish to grow, their requirements for nutrition, weed control options and other key factors to ensure the best chance of growing a good crop.
The last growing season was more difficult than previous years due to the prolonged wet winter, followed by a very hot and dry summer.
Drilling and Weed control
The soil conditions are more important than calendar drilling date. This will be reflected on the year and individual soils conditions.
Plan your herbicide programmes before you sow your crop, considering any known problems or limitations if sowing a mixture.
Correct drilling depth is also critical, again taking mixture requirements into account.
Wherever possible always plough for the new crop, due to Maize Eyespot and Fusarium. These can be serious problems given the right conditions and ploughing down the old crop residue as soon as possible will help to minimise disease carry over.
Maize is very sensitive to pH; if it is below 6 then this needs to be addressed. Maize needs a consistent soil temperature of 8 degrees to grow properly.
Sown as a straight crop, maize presents a good opportunity to use some very strong weed control options.
Sorghum shares the same tillage requirements as maize and is equally as sensitive to pH but there are some very important differences.
Sorghum requires a consistent soil temperature of 14-15 degrees before drilling. It is a very common mistake to sow the crop before these temperatures are reached. This will vary depending on the year and may not be until June.
Herbicide programmes within the sorghum crop require some extra thought as grass weed control is not possible. If there are any known grass weed problems and the crop is still to be sown, effective use of a stale seedbed is vital.
A really good cover option, that provides warmth. It also has the potential to last for two seasons, with most varieties being winter hardy. Sow in wide rows to encourage the birds into the cover, with the Kale creating a good canopy.
Kale/Rape hybrids such as Interval are a good late sown option or if a previous crop has failed. With rapid establishment, this crop is winter hardy and provides full season cover.
These plants are suitable for situations where annual planting may not be possible, providing cover for over three years. In the first year of planting, a nurse crop is required to give it some substance. Once established, the perennial crop will need little maintenance.
There is a selection of mixes available, suitable for both Gamecover options and environmental purposes. They vary from pollen and nectar, winter bird food options and a dedicated Bumblebird mix. Mixes that provide cover and feed are valuable for both game birds and other wildlife.
BPS Updates for 2019
‘This guidance has been prepared and is being issued while the UK remains a member of the European Union. Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority. The proposed Withdrawal Agreement outlines the terms of an implementation period. No major changes are proposed to the BPS rules for the 2019 scheme year during this implementation period. However, as a responsible government, we are continuing to proportionately prepare for all scenarios, including the outcome that we leave the EU without any deal. In the event of a no deal EU Exit, the legislation governing BPS will be rolled over and amended by regulations to ensure that they work appropriately post-exit and further guidance will be issued if necessary. This may include removing the option of making payments in Euro and/or amending the ceiling for BPS into sterling’