18 January 2002

Keep tabs on wheat lodging

EARLY drilling and favourable conditions suggest there could be record wheat yields this harvest.

But growers with over-thick crops will have to work hard to keep them upright, warns UAP technical adviser Brin Hughes.

He says crops with more than 150 plants/sq m now, which means about half the total crop area, could need growth regulator as soon as mid-March.

Meteor (chlormequat + choline chloride + imazaquin) is most appropriate for early applications, because imazaquin works well at lower temperatures, says Mr Hughes.

Recent work suggests the effect increases with the additive Route. "It improves root structure and works synergistically with Meteor. Until two years ago I was quite sceptical, but SAC work proves it enhances chloroplast activity to boost photosynthesis."

His advised application of 1.25 litres/ha of regulator with 0.5 litres/ha of adjuvant costs about £26/ha (£10.50/acre). Despite anticipated heavy demand there is no sign of shortages or price rises.

Where it is not possible to apply a Meteor/Route mix, Mr Hughes suggests adding 0.1 litres/ha of Moddus (trinexapac-ethyl) to 1.5-1.75 litres/ha of Meteor at the start of stem extension (GS30-31).

But beware that all potential benefits of growth regulation could be undone by applying nitrogen too soon. &#42

WHEAT GROWTH REGULATION

&#8226 Good potential if crops stand.

&#8226 Many stands too thick.

&#8226 High lodging risk on half area.

&#8226 Early imazaquin/Route advised.

&#8226 Good potential if crops stand.

&#8226 Many stands too thick.

&#8226 High lodging risk on half area.

&#8226 Early imazaquin/Route advised.