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winter crops / spring crops


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i know winter crops are sown in late summer/autumn and harvested early summer the following year and spring crops are sown in the spring and harvested late summer the same year but what is the benifit of growing winter crops because it obviously takes a lot longer than the spring variety to get a return on your money ??? are winter crops better yeilding? is i because there isn't enough time in the spring to sow everything at the one time so it's split into two seperate times in the year? are winter and spring varieties used for different things? please enlighten me, sorry, i'm just a curious townie ::) ::):D

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To simplify things I will just take winter crops as Wheat, Barley and Oil Seed Rape.

- All are higher yielding than Spring

- autumn establishment is better

- the ability to drill large acreages is better in the autumn, eg it is easier to cultivate land which is predominantly dry than perhaps in the spring when there has been a winter of rain on them

- like you say it does spread work load - traditionally all crops were spring drilled but that was in the days of smaller farms etc.

- the plants them selves tend to be hardier

Spring crops on broad acre farming tend to be mainly Sugar Beet and Potatoes in my part of the world

- both these are not winter hardy

- in the case of sugar beet, being biennial if it were to over winter it would enter its reproductive stage and render the crop hardy useful for sugar extraction

- in the case of Potatoes they would rot

- spring combinables tend to result from later harvested Pots and Sugar Beet because winter varieties would no longer be suitable because of (amongst other reasons) their requirement for a prelonged cold period called vernalisation

Utilisation does not differ vastly in combinable crops for example you can get both milling quality wheat and malting quality barley from winter and spring drillings.

Those were just a couple of points, the subject is vast and complicated not least because of geography and therefore climate etc., etc.

I could go on and on but hope this gives you a few pointers.......

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