Evidence from NIAB TAG work in the last few years has indicated that in dry conditions, seed loss through natural mortality and degradation may be REDUCED by cultivating, as burying the seed actually protects it; that is to say we might be better off not cultivating at all in dry years.
We cannot pre-empt the weather between now and drilling however, and stale seed beds – where recent rains have arrived – are still a highly effective tool.
Seedbeds should be worked from the top down to minimise clod size, and should be rolled immediately to break clods and conserve moisture.
Note that where Bromes are the dominant grassweeds, different tactics may need to be employed. Sterile Brome should be ploughed or immediately cultivated to encourage germination, however Meadow, Rye and Soft Brome should be left on the surface for a month to ripen, in order to prevent the seed becoming dormant.