Weather conditions are picking up but pulse growers are urged to avoid drilling unless soil conditions are favourable
Pulse growers are being urged to hold their nerve and avoid drilling until soil conditions are favourable.
Persistent wet weather in most regions in recent weeks has led to many growers delaying the sowing of spring crops including pulses, according to the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO).
The main period for sowing spring beans is normally early March to early April. Later sowings are generally less favoured due to the normally increased risk of low soil moisture at establishment.
However, that is unlikely to be a problem this year, with good soil moisture content likely at and immediately below seeding depth for the crucial establishment period, making yield penalty less likely from a slightly later than normal sowing, says the organisation.
Research from the PGRO’s Optibean project has shown that when in a later drilling situation, increasing the seed rate in an attempt to compensate is mostly detrimental, with increased inter-plant competition in the main pod set period detracting from final yield.
Steve Belcher, principal technical officer at PGRO is confident improving weather conditions will enable most growers to drill within the next week.
He says: “It has dried up a lot this week. Although it is cold at least it’s dry. Many will drill in the next week to ten days.”
Should growers struggle to drill in this period, there is little alternative but to sow a cover crop or leave the land fallow, he adds.