Jan 20 2023

Establishment key to spring cropping success

A deep rooted, well tillered plant that’s quick out of the blocks is crucial for the strong establishment that’s key to spring cropping success. 

  • Strong establishment is key to yield
  • Optimise rooting for season-long benefits
  • Treat seed with Newton for vigorous crop establishment minus the stress

Establishment is the most critical phase for spring cropping success

Strong establishment is crucial to achieve the high number of fertile shoots needed for cropping success.

In barley, tiller production and survival are the most important factors determining yield. Achieving a deep rooted, well tillered plant that’s quick out of the blocks and can cope with commonplace dry springs is crucial.

Optimising speed of establishment will also help maximise the crop’s competitive nature against yield-robbing weeds that will be fighting for the same space and resources.

Here’s our latest advice to help you achieve the strong start that’s needed for spring cropping success.


Establishment key to spring cropping success

Establishment key to spring cropping success

Ensure sufficient plant numbers

Seed rate influences tiller numbers so it’s important to select the correct seed rate to achieve sufficient plant numbers for optimal yield. As a general guide:

For spring wheat & spring barley use 300 – 350 seeds/sqm to achieve a plant population of 250 – 300 plants/sqm. For spring oats use 250 – 300 seeds/sqm for a target of 200 – 250 plants/sqm.

If early/late drilling, increase to the upper end to compensate for challenging establishment conditions. Spring barley is relatively frost sensitive and there is less scope to compensate against low plant populations.

Optimise rooting to maximise tiller survival

Plants require extra attention in those first critical weeks to help put their roots down. It’s essential soils have good drainage, are well structured, and roots grow deep down the soil profile to extract the water and nutrition needed to maximise tiller growth, and sustain their survival through the course of the spring.

Maximising growth of tillers before stem extension increases their chance of survival to form ears, so you want to be doing all you can early to optimise sunlight, water and nutrient capture.

It is worth remembering that some nutrients are not very mobile in the soil, so the bigger the root system you can produce, the better. Correct any deficiencies in the soil. N access is key to maximise canopy size and build yield.

Nutritional seed dressings may help as roots don’t have to travel very far, but this might result in lazy roots. This is fine in a good growing season with frequent showers, but no good in a drought.



Deep roots will help overcome seasonal challenges

Establishing deep-rooted plants from the outset is a good way to minimise risk later in the season. Crops with better root systems will perform better in a dry spring as they will be able to capture more water and nutrients from depth. This is particularly important on lighter soils used to grow spring barley. The relative distribution of roots down the soil profile changes little between GS31 and anthesis, so do all you can early as you won’t be able to improve it later.

A stronger plant with more roots and shoots will also be more resilient to frost heave and frost shear where early drilling may put crops at risk.  





Maximise spring cropping success with Newton seed treatment

One of the most effective ways to maximise crop establishment and build a vigorous root system, is to treat seed with Newton biostimulant seed treatment.

Newton is a non-chemical seed treatment. It will enhance germination and emergence, and also stimulate rooting, but it won’t jeopardise soil biology (a concern with chemical seed treatments).

It contains plant-sourced signalling peptides – a type of phytohormone – that plays a key role in ”waking” dormant seed & signalling growth, and is one of the most cost-effective ways of optimising crop establishment.

Establishment key to spring cropping success

Establishment with Newton key to spring cropping success

Proven benefits with Newton:

  • 2 days faster germination, up to 2.5 days faster emergence, up to 17% higher emergence
  • Up to 43% extra root mass, 22% extra shoot mass
  • Higher access to nutrition
  • Improved drought resilience, more extreme weather tolerance
  • Up to 10% high yields

Newton is flexible to suit your needs

  • Recommended for use on winter and spring cereals and peas
  • Can be co-applied with other seed treatments – both chemical and non-chemical
  • Approved for use in organic crops

You can find out more here, or get in touch with Stuart below

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Require technical assistance or product information? Please get in touch with our Technical Manager, Stuart Sutherland.

For all other general enquiries, please email or call us at the office. If you’d prefer, drop us a message using our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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