Mid June Seeding Options

Despite good intentions and efforts, seeding could be delayed due to several factors such as cold spring, wet fields (lack of tile drainage/or heavy clay soils), equipment break down, sickness in the family, shortage of manpower etc.. TBARS (LUARS since April 2018) initiated a systematic field experiment with six crops (wheat, barley, oat, canola, flax and pea) in 2016 to see if any or all of these crops seeded in mid June could produce reasonably good yield(s). The results varied with the year; during the first two years with one commonality – canola, flax and pea seeded in Mid June were a total failure. In 2018, flax was almost a failure and canola and pea partly successful. Overall only three crops, wheat, barley and oats, can be relied upon for Mid June seeding. Averaged over 2016-’18, wheat, barley and oats grain yields were 4.09, 4.87 and 5.27 MT/ha, respectively. The corresponding straw yields from these three crops were 4.98, 5.53 and 6.87 MT/ha, respectively. Since oats gave the highest grain and straw yields it could be preferred to wheat and barley for Mid June seeding. Grain yields averages for the same period (2016-‘18) for May (normal seeding) from wheat, barley and oats (same varieties) were 5.19, 5.98, and 5.89 MT/ha; which shows that the oats yields were least affected due to delay in seeding to Mid June. Straw yields in May (normal) seeding of wheat (6.96 MT/ha) and barley (6.38 MT/ha) and oats (7.07 MT/ha) were higher than that with Mid June seeding; Oats were least affected in straw yield as was the case with grain yield as well. What message should we take from these results? Mid June seeding of wheat and barley could lower their grain yield by more than a MT/ha, whereas oats grain yield could be lowered only by ~600 kg/ha. However, it is better to have a crop than not to have any crop. In a year such as 2019, when seeding could be delayed due to cold and wet spring, oats could be preferred to wheat and barley for seeding. It may not be easy however; if the seeds have already been bought unless that seed is kept for next year. It may be noted that out of the three cereals, oat will outperform others in a wet year, barley will do better than others in a dry year, whereas wheat prefers normal weather. But then it isn’t always easy to predict weather. For this year (unlikely to be as hot as last year), I would suggest choose oats for Mid June seeding.

What are the other crops that you could seed in June? Canola could be okay for seeding till the first week of June though with somewhat lesser seed yield than its May seeding. Sorghum Sudangrass, MasterGraze corn and soybean (tall/forage varieties) could be seeded for forage; with 6-8 MT dry matter yield/ha and up to 20 % protein content. Check TBARS Annual Reports from past years for results from these crops. Perennial legumes such as Galega, alfalfa, sainfoin and red clover, not to be harvested in the seeding year, could also be seeded in June or even up to Mid July.

Best Wishes for the Crop Season 2019!

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