17 July 1998

Seed rate slashed with hybrid wheat

Visitors to Independent Agricultures open day at Manor

Farm, Eddlethorpe, North Yorks heard about hybrid wheats,

nitrogen management and irrigation scheduling.

Alan Barker reports

COCKPIT hybrid wheat could be grown at seed rates 20% below normal and possibly lower, according to Independent Agricultures Chris Rigley.

Combined with vigorous growth to produce a good crop canopy and strong rooting early in the season that could help offset the crops anticipated higher seed price, he said.

Plots of Cockpit were drilled a month apart and at four different seed rates, each 20% below conventional Riband plots. The vigour of the hybrid meant even the late drilled plots had caught up with the conventional variety, said Mr Rigley.

Plots drilled at 20% lower seed rate a month later than Riband achieved the same leaf area index, he continued. Even plots drilled late at the lowest seed rate of 80 plants/sqm had produced a good crop.

While Riband was beginning to show signs of stress, Cockpit was not, thanks to its vigour and early root development, Mr Rigley added.

However, the lack of June sunshine means this will not be a good year for assessing yield potential, he claimed.