Date: 06/2020
June is an exciting time for a wheat breeder as diseases spread across the breeding nursery and plants reach their full height. I usually spend most of June on the road, taking notes on the appearance of each breeding line at various sites around the UK. I also have material growing at a few sites in France and at our breeding station in Germany but I shall have to give those a miss this year due to the travel restrictions in place.
The yield plots at our site look very lush and full with very little leaf curling or symptoms of drought stress despite the lack of rain. The plots were all drilled in October, just before the rains came. I notice that other parts of the country are growing thinner plots where establishment was not very good and where the drought has only added to the problem. Yellow rust has taken hold in the breeding nursery and I expect that to get worse in the next couple of weeks. This enables me to select the resistant lines and add that to all the data we collect. The dry weather has meant that septoria hasn’t taken hold yet but it usually doesn’t take long to sweep through the plots once the rain starts.
So the field season is well underway and the team here can often cover almost 10km on some days as we walk up and down the plots. Things stay busy from now until we have finished drilling so last week we even had the drill out to test the settings. Fields have also been planned for our October drilling – if it doesn’t get done now, it is too much of a rush later on!