EXTENSIVE trials highlighting varieties and pest or disease difficulties, facing growers in the north, was the major focus on Scotcrops East Lothian site.
Oilseed rape varieties, in particular, go readily in or out of favour as the crop travels northwards.
Synergy, which has suffered from erratic pollination in the south of the UK, has produced very high and consistent yields in Scotland, said Dr Neil Fisher, head of Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) Crop Systems.
He suggested growers look out for two further high yielding, fully restored hybrids from CPB Twyford. Artus yielded 3-4% more in trials with SAC last year but is taller and later than its stablemate Pronto.
SAC is also comparing seed and nitrogen rates for the hybrids.
Synergy drilled at Scotcrop at 70 seeds/sq m should give full yield, said Dr Fisher. The nitrogen recommendation of 50kgN/ha (40 units/acre) in the autumn with a 160kgN/ha (127 units/acre) spring top dressing for conventional rape varieties should hold good for hybrids too.
SCOTTISH growers have still to find their feet with winter linseed which had its first SAC trials outing north of the Border.
Matthew Brown, of SAC, pointed out that Oliver was virtually the only variety still standing. Most of the others had suffered winter kill.
"In theory, they should be ready to harvest at the end of August, but realistically it will be September, which isnt wonderfully early," he added.
"I am not sure where the attraction of winter linseed is for conventional arable farming except if cereal prices plummet."
That was not a view to go down well with Chris Green, of Semundo, who predicted 30,000ha of winter linseed will be harvested this year.
He criticised the SACs choice of 600 seeds/sq m as a seed rate when Semundo is recommending growers to drill 950 seeds/sq m.
"What we aim at is a crop coming through the winter with sufficient biomass to be robust, with a good, dense plant population that can be managed in the spring with nitrogen and growth regulators," said Mr Green.
High seed rates put stress on straw strength but reducing nitrogen inputs from 80kgN/ha (64 units/acre) to a range from 50-70 kgN/ha (40-56 units/acre) would ease this.
Semundo trials near Perth last year produced a yield of 2.7t/ha (22cwt/acre) from winter linseed.
SEVERE lodging had flattened most of the barley at Scotcrop. Even the notable exception – Regina winter barley – wasnt home and dry, according to David Cranstoun, of SAC.
End users might still prefer spring barley malt for distilling, unless growers were producing grain nitrogens from winter varieties below those of the spring favourites. The spirit yield from winter varieties seems to be inherently lower, he said.
Nevertheless, he praised Reginas performance on the site. Its standing ability may have been helped by its lateness which meant there was less weight in the ear when showers arrived.
Melanie, which had gone flat, had heavier ears earlier and very shallow rooting this year, said Mr Cranstoun. "Manitou is flat but Muscat is standing surprisingly well," he added.
VIRTUALLY all Scottish wheat acreage is down to Riband which is the market being targeted by Nickersons with its WW10 crossing of Wasp and Flame.
In its second year of National List trialing, it is already attracting distiller attention, according to the companys cereals specialist Alistair Moore.
He was also urging visitors to consider later nitrogen applications to Crofter to avoid the excessive tillering which can affect the variety and lead to increased lodging risk.
Aiming for top dressing about 10 days before the terminal spikelet stage – about 18 April at Scotcrop – would allow the ear to develop fully and produce yield, he said.
UNRIPE secondary ears on spring barley pose major difficulties for maltsters who dont want the immature grains coming in.
Since the withdrawal of the approval for 3C chlormequat for lodging control on spring barley, Chris Heeps, of Mandops, said Barleyquat and Adjust fill the role of restricting secondary tiller development.
The company has several new products coming through, including PF961, which combines Barleyquat/Adjust with an additional biostimulant said to even up plant development. Both this and PF965 – similar to Barleyquat – are new products awaiting official approval.
Also due for next autumns market is a plant hormone stimulant Axon which, like its sister product Axis, will be available only through Dalgety outlets. Applied between the two-leaf and the seven-leaf stage, Axon has produced an average 8.3% response over the last two years of trialing.
INSTEAD of the usual three-spray programme on Riband, Simon Oxley of SAC, was trying out a two-spray strategy using new strobilurins with low rate triazole. His GS32 mixture of 0.7 litre Ensign (kresoxim-methyl) and 0.3 litre Opus (epoxiconazole) is potentially the most robust when followed at GS61 by 0.67 litre Opus.
He cautions growers that while the Ensign should give good protection against mildew, in particular, the triazole is necessary for eradicating any disease which is already present.
"We are missing out the head spray and time will tell if Ensign is good enough for us to protect for the rest of the season," said Mr Oxley.
The winter wheat fungicides trials, which include other triazole sequences, the new eyespot product Unix (cyprodinil), and programmes of a triazole mixed with the cheaper material chlorothalonil (Bravo), will be taken through to yield.