19 June 1998

Abbot ear spike worries

ABBOT winter wheat is worrying growers as ears emerge with aborted lower spikelets.

But yields will not be impaired, stresses breeder PBI Cambridge.

"This effect is widespread in Abbot, on farms and in trial plots," notes Protectorcrop agronomist Dan Robinson.

"The variety is meant to be 3-5% higher yielding than Hereward, but growers are starting to wonder whether this will be possible with this number of non-formed spikelets."

PBIC attributes the effect to over-thick crops. "There is a limited number of spikelets a given area of land can support," says PBIC technical specialist John Howie.

"The plant will put its resources into fewer grain sites, which could give higher specific weights." &#42

Aborted spikelets at the base of the ear are concerning Abbot growers. Many ears on De Montfort Universitys farmer group challenge are affected, says crop protection lecturer, Ian Booth.