15 October 1999

Autumn tip – spring wheats

SPRING wheat varieties could be growers best bet for autumn drilling as early as mid-October, according to breeder CPB Twyford.

In the firms drilling date trials spring "alternative" types such as Chablis performed on a par with true winter wheats, including Equinox, Genghis and Savannah, from Oct 12 sowings.

"By Nov 10 only one winter wheat, Aardvark, was ahead of Chablis," says operations director John Blackman. At 13t/ha (5.3t/acre), the Chablis plot yield was 1.2t/ha (0.5t/acre) above the average of the 12 varieties in the trial drilled on that date.

Possible breadmaking premiums, and lower growing costs, mean such wheats will give growers higher gross margins than true winter wheats from such drilling dates, he maintains.

NIABs Richard Fenwick confirms November-drilled Chablis yield potential, but is cautious about drilling earlier.

"The danger is that as a spring wheat it gets ahead of itself. Plant growth regulators or fungicides might be needed when growers cant get on the land."

First-half November drilled NIAB work puts Chablis yield at 107% of controls, on a par with Charger and 5% higher than Riband sown on the same date. &#42