Tuesday, 18 February 2014

What are the basic rules for good game crop establishment?

First of all, test the soil for pH, and levels of nitrogen, phosphate and potash. Acidic and poorly fertilised soils are more likely to suffer from clubroot. If the pH is below 6.0, an application of lime would be advisable. Further tests after every four years or so are advisable. Good seedbed preparation is essential, with a fine, firm seedbed being the ideal.

Ensure weather and soil conditions are right before drilling each variety of seed, for example, whilst triticale can be drilled in early April, it is too early for kale, sorghum or maize. Poor thin soils should benefit from spreadings of farmyard manure to boost organic matter levels.

Understand the likely weed burden in the soil and apply appropriate pre- or post-emergence herbicides. Remember to check on possible restrictions imposed by SEERAD or Defra on pesticide use on set-aside or Stewardship crops.

Inspect crops regularly for signs of pest attack and take immediate action whether it be spraying for flea beetle or employing bird scarers.  Once the crop is established, give it a further boost of nitrogen. The one exception to this is triticale where nitrogen application should be kept to a minimum. Too much will likely result in the crop lodging.

We recommend that crop sites are rotated to reduce the likelihood of clubroot. Purchase good quality seed from a reputable supplier to ensure good germination and vigorous growth.

Read our Game Crop FAQs >

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