9 August 2002

Low input triticale looks good on light land

WANT a better reward from a second or subsequent cereal, especially on light land? Triticale could provide it, says Semundos Jeremy Taylor.

Trials in Suffolk by Agrovista last year on sandy loam in a third cereal slot make his point.

Semi-dwarf triticale Fidelio grown without strobilurin or only a low input fungicide regime almost always returned a better gross margin than Pearl barley or Consort wheat.

The work compared N dressings of 80-200kg/ha. Best triticale gross margin, of £384/ha, came from 160kg/ha of nitrogen and no fungicide.

Best gross margins from the barley and wheat, £306/ha and £193/ha, respectively, resulted from 240kg/ha of N with low strob input.

New triticale varieties like Fidelio and Taurus are about 10cm (4in) shorter than traditional types, says Mr Taylor. Taurus, being earlier, is a variety that is better suited to northern farms.

With many second wheats suffering take-all it is worth noting that triticale is not affected, he adds. "But it is not a true break like oats."

Only about a third of the triticale grown is home fed, and marketing the rest can be harder than with more widely grown cereals, he admits. "There are no buy back contracts, but growers shouldnt encounter any marketing problems. We can point them in the right direction." &#42

TRITICALE

&#8226 Light land low input cereal.

&#8226 Wheat and barley alternative for second plus slot

&#8226 Better trials margin than Pearl and Consort.

&#8226 Marketing may need more attention.