22 October 1999

Charger seed rate offers flexibility

WINTER wheat Charger offers more seed rate flexibility than traditionally thought in the late sowing slot.

That is the opinion of PBICs technical specialist John Howie based on Morley Research Centre trials.

Two years work examining the effect of sowing dates and rates as a first wheat after beans or linseed show the variety achieving over 10t/ha (4t/acre) from late-November target plant populations as low as 150/sq m.

"There is always a potential risk with cutting autumn seed rates that things can go wrong," says Mr Howie. "So people get to November and tend to think they must up the rate to, say, 450 seeds a sq m to allow for winter kill. That is clearly not necessary with this variety. The tillering capacity is there."

In Polish trials it survived temperatures down to -26C (-15F), he adds.

Lodging was not a problem in 1998 and did not affect later sowings in 1999, notes Morleys Doug Stevens.

"In the absence of lodging Charger gave good yields over a wide range of drilling dates and appeared to tiller just as well following late drilling as when sown in September."