DIY response to lack of trials data

6 July 2001

DIY response to lack of trials data

By Simon Wragg

A DEARTH of local data has prompted a Shropshire farming partnership to set up its own fungicide and new variety assessments.

The main message emerging is the importance of producing wheat at the lowest cost/tonne, rather than the lowest cost/ha. Tailoring fungicides to variety and disease pressure plays a key role in that.

Brothers Robin and James Huxley manage and farm 970ha (2400 acres) of arable ground along the north Shropshire-Wales border.

They have teamed up with local agronomy firm Spunhill Crop Care to assess new varieties Petrus and Xi19 against Consort, Claire and Napier.

Spunhills technical manager Bryn Thomas says it is not a replicated trial, but results should indicate what will work on-farm locally. Treatments reflect farm practise on the predominantly mixed farms in the area (see table).

Ten days after flag leaf sprays the one-hit approach was already succumbing to septoria, with lesions on leaves three and four of the Consort and Napier. But potential bread-makers Xi19 and Petrus were faring much better, with infection on the Xi19 one-pass plots comparable to Consort where the farm-standard, two-spray programme had been used.

"It is impressive. The Xi19s leaf 4 is almost clear of disease. Ears seem to have noticeably more grain sites," says Mr Thomas.

Under the two-spray regime, septoria is still making its mark on Consorts leaf 3, but Napier seems to be responding better with little septoria present even on leaf 4, he says.

Claire looks very well in the trials and is surprisingly free of mildew despite high levels seen locally, he adds. "That is possibly low due to the exposed aspect of the field."

Heavy rain in mid-June is expected to accentuate treatment and variety differences by harvest. &#42

Fungicide programmes

07/05/01 11/06/01 01/07/01 (est) Cost (£/ha)

One pass – Landmark @ 1.0 – 40.95

Farm standard Vista @ 1.0 Landmark @ 0.6 – 41.24

High strob Landmark @ 1.0 Landmark @ 1.0 Garnet @ 0.5 101.51

Landmark = kresoxim-methyl + epoxiconazole, Vista = fluquinconazole + chlorothalonil, Garnet = tebuconazole + triadimenol.

Trials difficulties

Last autumns atrocious weather curtailed the work the Huxley brothers hoped to do at Wynnstay Home Farm, near Ruabon. "We wanted to look at ground work as were heading for minimum cultivations, but the weather ruled that out," says Robin. In the end, drilling took place at 175kg/ha (1.4 cwt/acre) in mid-November after ploughing on the medium clay loam field. Yield monitors on New Holland TX68 combines will be used to record yields. "Theyre accurate to about 2% so should provide some good data," he adds.

See more