Sowing for Peak Performance

Every farm has certain considerations and features that make it unique so it is easy to see why for many growers variety choice can be a headache. With 41 varieties on the AHDB Winter Wheat Recommended List alone, finding the varieties that best fit your farm circumstances, is far from easy.

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At the most basic level the advice is simple: when planning your cropping strategy, pick varieties that will give the best performance based on sowing date. Whether you are growing for all-out yield, for a premium or as part of a wider farm management strategy to manage problem weeds or spread the harvest workload there are a range of varieties available to suit your needs.

To make it easy, we’ve created a useful diagram that highlights how to match drilling date to variety. As well as showing the acceptable sowing window, we’ve marked in orange our suggestion for when to sow for each variety for best performance. It isn’t limited to winter wheat either, it runs from early drilling through to true spring varieties.

Take KWS Kerrin for example, the UK’s highest yielding fully recommended Group 4 wheat. According to the Recommended List, the latest safe sowing date for this variety is the end of January. This is not a course of action KWS would recommend. Its best performances generally come when sown between mid-September and early November. After this period, it would be better to switch to a variety recognised for its performance in this window, such as KWS Crispin. After the New Year, spring varieties come in to their own. New varieties are no longer the poor cousins to their winter counterparts that they used to be. The Group 2 variety KWS Chilham for example, offers yield and grain quality. It is the obvious choice for those seeking a quality wheat with premium potential to sow after roots.

When considering your cropping strategy, we have broken down the season into three key periods, and we’ll be providing commentary as the season progresses with our advice on how to get the most from your variety selection.

1st September – Mid-November: Winter varieties

Mid-November – 31st December: Transitional period

1st January onwards: Spring varieties

You can download the infographic here

If you are looking for advice on variety choice, then you can contact the KWS team by phone or email – we’re always happy to help.

Email –

Office – 01763 207300

Will Compson, Cereals Manager – 01763 207316

Martin Brown, Eastern Sales Specialist – 01763 207321

Rose Riby, Northern Sales Specialist – 07880 315830