For the first year DSV are trialling a new initiative with some of their Clearfield trial site growers who are involved with their new RDT network (Rapid Development Trials – a network of trials with over 30 growers across England) .
There are various aims which will be realised from these extensive trials - one of the first was planned after reviewing some of the work carried out by NIAB TAG in 16/17, (which was released in the Landmark Newsletter – May edition). Here, a range of mixtures were trialled, to see their effect on deterring flea beetles away from the oilseed rape plants, or encouraging them to consume the companion plants instead of the oilseed rape.
The DSV plots included oilseed rape mixed with fenugreek, a combination of cabbage crops including pak choi, a legume and clover mix and white mustard and rocket.
The results from the trial were very interesting – At NIAB’s Cambridge Hixton site whole crop failure was reported with only one exception - the white mustard and rocket mixture, where there was little or no evidence of grazing damage. The experiment also revealed positive results at their Morley site in Norfolk, where reduced grazing in the white mustard treatment was observed, compared to rape on its own or with other companion mixes.
So, after reviewing these results DSV have encouraged three of their growers to try the new idea and have included white mustard with their Clearfield crops. One of the growers mixed the seed in the drill with our exciting new variety Phoenix CL, while the other two used a slug pelleting machine to apply the seed after drilling across the trial site.
The idea is that the mustard will grow alongside the variety and help to reduce the flea beetle pressure. The mustard will then be destroyed when the Clearfield chemistry is applied – for use and guidance of Clearfield products please visit BASF’s website or contact your local area manager.
All the sites were drilled in early September so DSV are looking forward to seeing results in the next couple of week.
Figure one – Sowing date and crop damage associated with cabbage stem flea beetle grazing autumn 2016
Source: NIABTAG – Landmark – May 2017
A few hundred years ago man started to develop wild brassica species into the yellow flowered, high performing plants we know today. Back in those ancient times, (and still true today!) the main ‘job’ of a plant was to develop seed, mature it, and then disperse it – in the case of brassicas, the majority being dropped on the ground when the pods dried out and split open.
This trait had to be bred out, especially as one of the key drivers for greater yield is later maturity – in some climates it may not be possible for the plant to naturally senesce in a suitable time.
Hence, all varieties available today have resistance to pod shatter – or you would never harvest anything!
The scientific background to pod shatter resistance is known – there was an attempt to patent this in the USA a few years ago (rejected) which laid out the genetics – but assessing the impact of this in the field is more difficult, as plant maturity still plays a big role (a hail storm across a set of plots may show a difference, but not the same difference a week later!) Combine speed can also disguise the true effects…
There are 2 main ways of assessing resistance to pod shatter on mature, harvested, pods – put some pods in a tin with ball bearings and shake until the pods have opened, or using a force metre machine to individually open the pods and measure the force needed.
Over the last few years the team at DSV have used the second method to look for differences between varieties. In addition, we put trays in our demonstration plots to catch falling seed – these are then assessed pre combine and then again post combine.
The chart below show the last 3 years of amalgamated data, which clearly shows (as expected) differences between the various varieties. (not every variety was tested in every year, hence the gaps) What is also interesting is visible - key issues (as mentioned above) the maturity element – as trials are all desiccated or swathed at the same time, early maturing lines tend to have less resistance to pod shatter, and different years bring different ‘challenges’.
So while some varieties are clearly more resistant to pod shatter than others, harvest conditions can also play a part.
If we then overlay yield data, we can also see a surprising result – in general, high pod shatter resistance also seems to have a negative effect on yield. Trials in a German university showed that high pod shatter resistance often meant that combines at ‘commercial’ speeds were unable to break all the pods, and around 5% of seed was left in the trash.
It’s all about the weather patterns! As ever August was wet (a return to normal) with harvest dragging on into September and even October for some. September was drier, but still with some rainfall with so many farmers have been forced back into drilling in October, and many choosing to go even later. Hopefully this delay in drilling and the necessary increased seed rate will deliver an improvement in blackgrass control.
For oilseed rape this weather pattern seems to have brought mixed blessings. Temperatures have remained mild aiding later drilled crops. However, cabbage stem flea beetle have continued to be active because of this warm weather and appear to have migrated for a longer period. For us at DSV we have noticed that sprays have been less effective on lumpy seedbeds - hitting the target is seemingly just as tough as ever! Slugs have had ideal conditions in many place and multiple applications of slug pellets have been needed. However given these issues and limited spray days in September the rape is in good condition in most areas with an expected slightly larger drilled area and a higher rate of survival.
It is clear that drilling rates have increased and there has also been an increase in farm saved seed including black seed straight from the barn. This shift is interesting when taken in conjunction with the moist warm September - this brought on an early bout of phoma infection (over a month earlier than recent years) that affected most crops – many still at cotyledon stage. Phoma can be very damaging this early as the distance between the lesion and growing point is very short, and it is this that leads to stem canker, lodging and yield loss. Hypro Duet seed treatment gives protection against early phoma and its value should not be underestimated.
For those who have grown Dualis, it has a high phoma stem canker resistance score, but you may have noticed that it has still developed phoma lesions. Dualis has a polygenic resistance to the damaging stem canker that is different from the RLM 7+ expressed in Dariot and Veritas CL. Dualis shows the symptoms of phoma but will not develop cankers that lead to yield losses. For other varieties, with lower resistance, a simple treatment for early phoma with an inexpensive difenoconazole product is necessary as well as protectant activity against light leaf spot. After the first phoma infections were spotted, the weather became drier and in untreated crops the disease appeared to stop cycling and new leaves appeared clean. However, this does not mean that the disease is not already in the stem.
Looking at the new leaves there are two observations to be made. Plants have grown rapidly and taken most of the readily available nutrient resource making some nutrient deficiencies easy to spot. Secondly the size of the crop - we are pleased with the vigour of all of our hybrid OSR and especially the new varieties Phoenix CL and Sparrow45. In field measurements taken across the country we are seeing GAI of up to 3 (very handy for stopping the landing of our grey feathered friends).
These large canopies full of N may need careful management in the spring and we will bringing you management advice for DSV varieties this spring.
The DSV winter wheat breeding programme in the UK is relatively new, with the first crosses - only completed in 2010 - just entering National List trials this year, with high hopes of recommendation in 2019 onwards. DSV’s first variety bred (in Germany) and selected (in the UK) for UK conditions was Marston, a group 4 hard wheat, that has superb disease resistance. Marston is a high yielding variety and has outstanding untreated yields. Marston is ideal for livestock farmers as it is low input variety due to its disease scores, grain quality and agronomic characteristics, including straw length and quantity. In trials and on farm in the past seven years, no lodging has been seen and therefore it gives the opportunity to push the crop if needed - like one of our current growers:
Tim Lamyman is having another go at achieving the Guinness World Record in 2018 after just missing out this year.
Tim chooses varieties that tiller well to produce over 800 ears per sq m - such as Marston. One of the reasons for choosing Marston is that it can be pushed hard for maximum output. This year, Marston yielded 13.84t/ha from a crop which only had 600 ears/sq m, so Tim is hopefully that with 800 ears Marston can achieve over 16.5t/ha next year to beat the world record currently held by Mr Smith from 2015.
Charlie Hollies-Everett of F H Everett and Son in Warwickshire, is another grower who was very impressed with Marston in 2017 and has sown it again this year. He said ‘ I have to look at a variety that has good straw quality and disease resistance - being dairy farmers we need as much straw as we can get so we have bedding for the cattle in the winter months.’ He continued ‘Marston delivered on straw as well as being clean for Septoria tritici, our main disease problem. Brown rust did come into the crop but we knew that it probably would, so we kept on top with our fungicide treatments’
Charlie requires in excess of 200t of cereals to feed his 250 dairy and beef cattle over the winter months. The Marston crops was sown late on some very light, unfertile land, which the farm had just taken over, therefore Charlie didn’t have high expectations of outstanding yields. He said ‘although not a big yield it was much better than we expected and was the top yielding on farm! We don’t push our cereal crops as much as we should but with our priorities with the livestock side of the business, the arable enterprise at times can be forgotten’
Maize isn’t all about foraging and filling the clamp; it also about fitting in with the rotation. Harvest during 2016 was early for most farmers and the crop was in good condition. Harvest 2017 has been later with a challenging start in September but an easier finish in October. Yields have been pleasing on most sites with early quality reports also being good.
As for the DSV portfolio there are excellent reports for all varieties being harvested
Movanna has again produced good yields on farms across the Eastern counties and on the South coast and remained unaffected by eyespot and fusarium. It is now becoming a firm favourite for the AD sector. Reports are suggesting 50t plus yields in some areas at 32% dry matter.
DSV introduced two new varieties last spring - Joy and LikeIt. Both are first cut varieties with Joy (FAO 150) being a genuine ultra-early and was fit for harvest in the first week of September in many areas. Ultra-earlies are always at a yield disadvantage to later material but with Joy an early harvest is a given.
LikeIt (FAO 180) has been a star performer in trial and on farm, with exceptional yield performance in first cut trials. This year it has produced a big cob, and a huge plant, making it look more like a 3rd cut AD variety than a first cut forage type. Pleasingly, given that most of the first year crop was grown in the West country, it was not affected by the gales in September. LikeIt trial dry matter yields are approaching 20t on the better sites and looking to be very consistent.
And finally we have a new FAO 230 variety called Petroscka which looks to have a lot of potential – more data to follow in our next newsletter.