29 March 1996

Milling protein lift

WORK to establish optimum nitrogen inputs on milling wheat shows that on low yielding sites protein levels can be raised dramatically compared with more fertile areas.

At the Wilton site, applying 250kg/ha (178 units/acre) to Hereward raised yields by about 0.5t/ha (0.2t/acre) compared with a 200kg/ha (142 units/acre) rate, easily covering the input cost. The near 10t/ha (4t/acre) crop also had 0.4% more grain protein.

On thinner, more drought-prone soils at Shipton in the Cotswolds, the same extra nitrogen gave no more yield, both crops producing about 8t/ha (3.2t/acre). But protein increase was twice that at Wilton. Whether that will pay depends on protein premiums. Further work should result in more detailed recommendations.