As harvest has nearly come to a close in the UK, it is time to reflect on results and performance of key varieties - particularly for winter wheat. We started the season with pressure from yellow rust at seedling stage, which highlighted that only three varieties which are resistant this early and one of those varieties is DSV’s Marston. With the mild, dry winter season, little disease was seen until we reached June when ideal conditions arrived for brown rust (warm and wet). A lot of varieties in trial did show signs of pressure from the disease. Choosing a variety with a known problem that can be easily managed at T2 spray application, is probably better than relying on a resistant variety (which hasn’t been sprayed at T2) to not breakdown in a year with fluctuating commodity prices and when yield is king.
When it came to harvest time, Marston’s yields were excellent especially after such a dry April and May when all crops struggled. Marston was in a national sowing trial were it performed exceptionally well with a treated yield of 106% of controls - the only one recommended variety performing better – and there Marston certainly had the edge on grain quality.. Marston has also performed well on farm with many growers getting over 11t/ha with many saying it had done better than their other AHDB recommended varieties.
With excellent yellow rust and Septoria tritici and high yields, why not give Marston a try in your cropping rotation this year.
Olympus - also bred by DSV - has had great success in the West Country for a few years now. Many have likened Olympus to ‘an improved Exsept’ with its excellent overall disease resistance - 9 for yellow rust, 8 for brown rust and 7 for Septoria tritici. The variety also carries the Pch1 Rendezvous resistance gene to eyespot therefore suitable in a 2nd wheat situation. It also has very good grain characters with high protein, good specific weight and Hagberg Falling Number; and with a very stiff straw has become widely grown both for grain and in a whole crop situation for livestock farmers.
The variety is available from Pearce Seeds and all good seed merchants.
7 kg per ha - or was it an acre! - back in the heyday of WOSR in the 1980’s when farmers threw seed on the ground and everyone got 5t ha of Jet Neuf or Bienvenue. Or did we? Average yield data suggests the UK farmer was doing more like 2.9t per Ha.
So nearly 40 years on, and yields are at a long term average of 3.5t per ha and seeds rates have dropped to 2kg-5kg per ha or 30-100 seeds per square metre. Less seed more yield? Probably not, but at DSV we would suggest it is down to planning and targeting a plant population of 25-35 established plants in the spring. At this density the rape plant can branch and form a complete canopy to optimise light capture and pod numbers. This more interlocked branch structure also increases the stability of the canopy and thus increases standing.
In our trials network one of the routine tasks undertaken is plant counting to assess establishment and after harvest is the perfect time to undertake this task and consider if the seed rate from the previous year was correct and if pest control measures were appropriate. The other critical factors are seedbed fertility and rolling. Over time this directly informs our management decisions.
We find at Wardington (DSV UK testing and trialling station) that the National List and AHDB official trials are drilled at 55 seeds per m² for conventionals and 50 seeds for hybrid as this produces even populations of around 30 plants per M² helping to deliver optimum yield for ALL varieties. To ensure these seed rates work, DAP is applied, and the trials are walked at least every other day and pesticides are used as appropriate.
From early generation trials we have found that Sparrow45 - our new candidate variety - being shorter and having an early aggressive branching habit responds very well to a slightly lower plant population so growers should be targeting approx 25 plants per m².
At DSV Easton Royal we have undertaken hybrid versus conventional seed rate trials this year and we hope to bring you the results very soon. From visiting farmers the consensus so far has been that a seed rate of 30-40 per m² will produce the best yield. Results will be published once the combine has done its work!
The clouds have gathered on the fields of the West country and all crops look better after a drink. Reports from livestock farmers and our grass breeding department say that 1st cut was of very good quality although may be lacking quantity in older leys.
Maize is now 90% drilled with again an increased area in the East for the AD market, while the forage market appears to have held steady. For DSV, our new varieties Likeit (FAO 180) and Joy (FAO 150) have entered the market successfully. Joy, with its super early maturity, is still being places on farm, particularly as a late crop after grass. Taking advantage of the double cropping opportunities and for those who have struggled with establishment due to lack of rain we have experienced, Joy and its sister variety Sunemo may offer a good option for re-drilling. At this stage pre-em weed control could be poor, please consult your agronomist on your options.
Likeit has germinated and is growing well in most areas, showing good vigour where moisture was present. This FAO 180 variety offers the opportunity of big yield with a slightly earlier maturity. Likeit is mainly planted in the West this season, for its good silage quality and one to be considered in the East for the AD market.
Movanna market share has increased significantly this year with large areas being placed across East Anglia and along the South coast following very good NL2 trial results. At FAO 210, Movanna is slightly later, offering high yields and the opportunity for growers to drill a late winter cereal.
This spring also, DSV’s forage rape variety Gorilla has been widely drilled and stocks are looking to be tight for this autumn. Please contact DSV for your local stockist.
The UK is suffering some late frost events at the moment so we thought it a good idea to share some of our oilseed rape knowledge with you on the subject.
With our varieties grown in some of the coldest locations in the world, we know quite a lot about how oilseed rape responds to such conditions. Whilst heavy snowfall can be a problem for weaker-stemmed varieties, late frost events are usually not a problem for winter oilseed rape crops.
Germany and Poland are currently experiencing even lower temperatures at the moment, as they very often do, but growers are not concerned about losses.
In fact, at flowering stage oilseed rape can tolerate temperatures down to -5 °C without any problem. Whilst you may see bud abortion in some locations and a lack of pods on main and lateral branches, a good variety will compensate easily for this in the weeks ahead. An average hybrid oilseed rape plant has about 2800 primary flowers and even if a few are lost, there are enough left to compensate for the damage. After a frost event, the main stem bends (like wilting), but after a few hours of warm temperatures the symptoms are usually gone.
Don’t worry if your crop does not look too great after a late frost event - it will recover and all you can do is wait for warmer weather to arrive.
The cold weather could in fact be a bit of a benefit as the rain and snow that usually accompanies it will go some way to reducing the water deficits prevalent in many parts of the country.
Once the cold weather passes, there is usually no need to support the plant with additional nutrition or agronomic intervention – plants will recover perfectly well on their own.
Don’t forget the important plant protection measures like sclerotinia and insect control as the season develops, but the bottom line is oilseed rape is a very resilient crop.
Spring 2016 to Spring 2017 - what a difference a year makes!
In spring 2016, most UK crops were under heavy pressure of Light Leaf Spot (LLS) and already had an early infection of Phoma. This spring, field pressure is much lower for LLS and Phoma which advanced into the crop much later in the autumn. In general, canopy size is good with green area indexes of between 1 to 2 across most crops. This, of course, is a general picture and every field is different with some areas having higher pressure. In general autumn herbicide application has been effective, and the Clearfield system showing its worth on problem brassica weeds and volunteer oilseed rape. At this stage, blackgrass control looks promising with cooler temperatures which is helping with the propyzamide efficacy.
Overall, we started in a positive situation but as ever the wellies need to be put on and crop walking needs to start to manage the crop coming into the spring.
In the spring we need to achieve three things to get a successful crop:
1. Minimise the impact of LLS via early fungicide application.
Assess level of LLS by incubating new leaves in a plastic bag (if needed). Many products can be used at this stage but where PGR effect is not needed, use Prothioconazole. Where a mild PGR effect is required use Tebuconazole. Particular care needs to be taken with varieties with a LLS score of 5 or below.
2. Feed the plant to create an optimum canopy insuring no nutrient is in short supply.
SMN test is always a good idea in conjunction with GAI for nitrogen but often overlooked is checking the rooting depth. Limited rooting depth will affect yield potential.
Key nutrient; Sulphur*, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus , Boron and all other trace element are also over looked. Check for symptoms in the new growth, look at your last latest soil analytical report and if in doubt do another test.
*Sulphur must go on early with the first N application
3. If needed manipulate the height of the canopy to avoid lodging.
Where the crop is advanced and in a fertile situation, thoughts need to be given to PGR’s sprays, for example Crayx or Toprex. For DSV varieties such as Incentive, Compass and Sparrow, a use of a PGR is not required, unless the crop is grown in an ultra-fertile situation. For other varieties, such as Dariot, a PGR application is advisable to manage the height of the canopy and ensure standing.
OSR this year has the potential, with high futures prices, to produce the highest gross margin on farm. With a little care now and as ever good weather, OSR can drive the profits on your farm.