The wonderful British spring is keeping stewardship crop growers on tenterhooks as they wait to drill at the optimum time. These crops need a warm, moist seed bed and variable weather to date has instead brought excessive cold and wet conditions followed by dryness.
This has complicated planting decisions, but the team at Kings is encouraging growers to be patient until conditions are more suited to these crops before taking to the drill.
Richard Barnes, from Kings says: "There is plenty of time and growers shouldn't rely too much on the date on the calendar. It may be best to keep seed in store for now because it is so important for it to 'hit the ground running' and germinate quickly. This enables plants to grow away from pest and weed pressure.
"Most of the varieties we advise on can be planted until early June and, with the correct choice of crop, this window can even extend until mid July. Many of Kings' customers did this with great success last season."
Richard says that grass, pollen and wild flower mixtures should ideally be planted in May but if seed bed conditions and ground temperatures are unsuitable, he advises a delay until August or early September. "Seedbeds require more moisture and warmth before wild bird seed mixtures and game cover crops are planted, so it would be wise to postpone these for a few more days."
Crops then need to be monitored closely to ensure that challenges from weeds, slugs, pigeons and flea beetle are addressed promptly.
Richard adds "At Kings, our busiest time is not during seed sales season but between June and August as we help growers to transform their seed into a well established crop. After helping with planning and preparation, watching all the hard work come to fruition is the time of year we most enjoy as advisors.
"A good outcome from these crops is so important, often providing an additional income stream which will be especially welcome this difficult season. Good advice is essential to achieve maximum potential and Kings are here to help, supporting growers to achieve the best results."
To find out how Kings can help with your stewardship crops, please call 0800 5879797.