16 October 1998

Three-pass crops give best results

CROPS grown under a minimum pass system can be as profitable as conventional management systems when wheat prices are low, according to recent research results.

Trials conducted by Arable Research Centres and Scottish Agronomy, with funding from the Home-Grown Cereals Authority, show yields of crops grown under a three-pass management system were lower than those using a conventional seven-pass system. However, cost savings equalled or exceeded the return from the extra yield.

The applications made under the three-pass approach were an autumn herbicide/insecticide tank mix, 200kg/ha nitrogen applied in mid-April and a flag leaf fungicide.

Average yield achieved with the three pass approach was 7.92 t/ha, compared with 8.44 t/ha produced under the conventional system. With grain priced at £75/t, a three-pass approach was as or more profitable on three out of four occasions.