RGT Planet – a rock-solid choice for spring barley growers
Growers who are unlikely to drill any more winter wheat and are considering spring barley as an alternative will need to talk to merchants very soon, if they haven’t already, to secure seed, says RAGT’s arable product manager Jack Holgate.
“Demand is high, but supply has also been compromised by difficult conditions earlier in the season and a catchy harvest. Secondary tillering and poor germination have affected a lot of seed crops.
“It may well be a question of getting what you can, but if there is a choice, RGT Planet should be high up on growers’ lists.”
First listed in 2015, this variety has an excellent track record on farms across the country, proving itself season after season as a reliable performer that turns in very good yields of high quality grain, which is still very much in demand by brewers and for export.
It is also a sound feed barley choice where people really want to push it for yield, for example farmers on heavier soils in the west, says Jack.
“Most growers who have grown spring barley in the past will have grown Planet at some point so they have a good idea of how to grow it, which can make all the difference when it comes to securing high yields in the field,” he adds.
“It’s a consistent performer across all soil types and regions. It’s a rock-solid choice – you won’t have any nasty surprises and it won’t let you down.”
Doubling spring barley area
Gavin Bowser is expecting to double his area of spring barley this spring after wet weather curtailed the autumn drilling programme at the end of October.
All 200ha will be RGT Planet. While newer varieties are available, he will continue with the variety this season and the foreseeable future.
Gavin, who farms 1000ha of silty clay loam at Croft Marsh, near Skegness, Lincolnshire, says the team cleaned about 40t of Planet seed before Christmas.
“Planet’s done very well for us over the past few years. There’s nothing out there that’s really any better – end users like it, we know how to grow it and its agronomic scores are holding up well.
“Standing power is critical for us and Planet is as good as any. In any case, now is not the time to be switching – seed will be at a premium. We’re sticking with it.”
Gavin is not worried about growing a large area, despite spring barley’s tendency to brackle when over-ripe, particularly with high-yielding crops. “We do push our barley; we are not on ideal malting barley land so need the tonnage to dilute grain nitrogen,” he says.
“But we bought a new combine header last season, which hoovers up the crop much better. That has made a big difference.
“Also, we noticed that earlier-cut fields of Planet had many more volunteers than later-cut crops – you’d expect it to be the other way round. The earlier fields may have been heavier, but it also suggests that Planet is pretty good at holding on to ears.”
RGT Planet grain stats (RL 2024)
Specific weight (kg/hl) – 68.7
Screenings (% through 2.25mm) – 1.2
Screenings (% through 2.5mm) – 3.3
Nitrogen content (%) – 1.52
Read more about Gavin’s spring drilling plans : https://ragt.uk/twice-as-much-planet-as-planned-we-catch-up-with-lincolnshire-grower-gavin-bowser/