Cereal growers should not look to cut fungicide inputs first when wheat prices fall, according to experts speaking at a recent Home Grown Cereals Authority workshop in Peterborough.

While lower wheat prices, combined with increased fuel and fertiliser costs can tempt many to reduce fungicide use, it can be more sensible to look at the cost effectiveness of fertiliser use first, said Bill Clark from ADAS.

“Wheat price doesn’t affect optimum input very much at all. Fungicide inputs are generally cost effective. However with the increase in price of ammonium nitrate, it is the cost effectiveness of fertiliser inputs that has fallen.”

He urged growers to be sure they are making balanced decisions when considering inputs, whether wheat is at £60/tonne or £100/tonne.

Exploiting the better disease resistance of new varieties can also help improve margins, added HGCA Recommended Lists manager, Jim McVittie.

“By and large exploiting varietal disease resistance is a lot cheaper than disease control. Yields are increasing at about one percent per year due to variety alone,” he noted.

The HGCA is running a series of half day ‘Managing cereals in challenging times’ workshops across the country until mid-February. For more information, see www.hgca.com