Updated: Mar 8
“I didn’t finish drilling all my winter wheat so why don’t I drill the seed this spring?”
At this point in time the answer is “bad idea.” I know that in the AHDB cereals booklet the latest safe sowing date is End of February, so why not plant it now? Well firstly vernalisation is required. This is a complex process involving the interaction of low temperatures and day length on the plant to enable it to initiate reproductive development (produce an ear.)
Researchers have looked at this issue and considered factors that include the number of fertile tillers, grains per spike, 1000 grain weight, number of spikelet per spike, grain yield and protein percentage.
They found that with the use of an appropriate growth regulator it was possible to control the vernalisation process to the advantage of the grower negating the need to purchase spring seed whilst also increasing and improving upon the characteristics listed above. I should also point out this is not current UK research or practise.
So for the time being the answer is still “No – bad idea” leave the winter cereal seed where it is until autumn. Do however; make sure you buy sufficient spring cereal seed for your own farms circumstances. The first of which is sufficient to survive in these less than ideal ground conditions.