Welcome to Kings' May e-newsletter. This edition shares answers to some recent grower queries, encourages patience when it comes to drilling game cover, emphasises the benefits of green cover and invites growers to meet their local Kings advisors at a series of summer events.
To stay up to date with the latest news from the field, keep in touch with the Kings advisory team and find out what other growers are up to in tweets like these, follow Kings on Twitter.
Common grower queries
My seed has been flea beetle treated. Does this mean I don’t have to worry about flea beetle damage?
The manufacturer advises that the flea beetle treatment gives protection for one week at establishment, so crops should be checked regularly after this has passed. If signs of shot holes start to appear in leaves, an appropriate insecticide spray will be needed. Speak to your local Kings advisor for guidance if needed.
Do I need to apply slug pellets to my wild bird seed mixture?
Slugs will eat a wide array of broadleaved plants and grasses, including most crops and many weeds, so pellets should still be applied, especially after heavy rain and if land is cloddy. Slugs feed by scraping the surface of their food, which can include seeds, roots, stems, and leaves and harm crops by killing seedlings outright and by damaging leaves on young plants. Management options for slugs are limited, so discussion with your local advisor is recommended to minimise damage.
What row widths should be used when sowing game crops?
Depending on the mixture, 16-18 inches is often advised. This encourages tillering and strengthens the stem of the crop, giving it better standing power. For game crops this also allows better access for birds. Take expert advice to identify the best width for your specific needs.
Not too late for game cover drilling
Where ground conditions are not ideal, there is still time to be patient when it comes to sowing game crops and especially brassica mixtures.
Drilling into a warm seedbed with plenty of moisture is much more important than sowing on a particular date and crops sown in late May and early June will still give great results.
Making the most of bare land
Some growers have been left with bare land after wet weather prevented spring sowing, or caused winter crops to fail. While this is far from ideal, it does present a great opportunity to reap the benefits of cover crops. If left bare, weeds will germinate and soil condition will remain unchanged, with the potential for similar challenges next season.
With careful variety selection however, cover crops will help to improve soil structure and soil health and capture nutrients to recycle into the following crop, providing a boost for next year’s yields, as well as fulfilling Ecological Focus Area (EFA) requirements.
A simple mixture of oil radish and vetch, for example, will improve soil structure and fix natural nitrogen and can be kept in the ground over summer to be topped and ploughed in as a green manure before winter cropping. To discuss the best varieties for your individual circumstances, contact your local Kings advisor.
Talk to the experts at an event near you
During the busy summer events season, growers will have plenty of opportunities to meet their local Kings advisors.
Growers can learn more about woodland management for game and wildlife at an informative workshop on 10th June. The event will be hosted by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) in conjunction with Kings, Woodland Trust and Forestry Commission.
All growers will benefit from a visit to Kings at stand 421 at this year’s Cereals event on 15th & 16th June, with the opportunity to discuss the latest advice on growing successful game cover, green cover, conservation and forage crops and receive expert guidance on the best ways to comply with and benefit from changing legislation.
Throughout June and July, growers will be able to see game cover and green cover trial plots as well as talking to their local advisor at more than 20 Frontier demonstration and development site open days across England and Scotland.
For further details and a full list of events, please visit Kings’ events page.