2 June 1995


EARLY drilling and lush winter growth make this an ideal year to demonstrate lodging control in winter cereals.

At Cereals 95 the Morley team is demonstrating six treatments to show the value of matching application to need. Small plots of weak-strawed Hussar were drilled on Sept 30. After such an open winter the crop should be susceptible to lodging, reckons Morley agronomist Doug Stevens.

"Our assessment is that the lodging risk is high and farmers are likely to have needed chlormequat and Terpal – that is to say a two-spray approach – for varieties with weak straw strength like Hussar."

Product options are now plentiful, he notes, with chlormequat + 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (Upgrade) from Rhône-Poulenc and chlormequat + choline chloride + imazaquin (Meteor) from Cyanamid, plus BASFs reintroduction of a label recommendation for split rate 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid + mepiquat chloride (Terpal) where chlormequat has been missed.

Although a high risk season, Mr Stevens plays down the danger of treating before reproductive growth starts. "It is more important to keep the crop standing than to worry about a small effect on bushel weight."

In trials the effect of using chlormequat before first node has never been more than 0.5kg/hl, he says. Lodging can wipe 3-4 kg/hl off bushel weight.

"The danger of keeping tillers is more than offset by thickening the stem base. And although an early split programme may not shorten the crop as much as a single treatment, it does give better standing power. Trials in the bad 1988 lodging season clearly showed that." Cyanamid claims that early treatments with Meteor do not affect grain size, he adds.