At the beginning of 2020 there were tonnes of winter wheat seed in farmer’s stores which was not planted autumn 2019.
One of the questions asked was how late can it be sown. There were many answers provided. All of them revolved around the question of vernalisation.
So what is vernalisation? A couple of text book answers would be:-
A process of shortening the juvenile or vegetative phase and hastening flowering by a previous cold treatment.
Vernalisation is commonly required for crop planted in the autumn because the seeds and buds of many plants require cold in order to break dormancy.
These photo’s show the results of drilling winter wheat a bit too late.
As an experiment this small area of wheat was drilled mid March. The plant has vernalised but not sufficiently to produce a commercial crop. This farm experiment is supported by other trials work I have recently seen.
As a rule of thumb it appeared you were safe up until Mid February but after that you were on a steep down hill gradient to more silage rather than grain.
Consequently we still have tonnes of wheat seed in the barn looking for a home this autumn. How are we best going to manage it?