11 June 1999

Bid to improve reliability of durum wheat

TEN farmers from Northants – tempted by a £207.48/ha (£84/acre) of EC Supplementary Aid for growing durum wheat -are experimenting with a range of new varieties which may improve the crops reliability.

"Farmers in north Austrian have been obtaining respect-able yields in a climate similar to ours," says merchant Charles Jackson.

Poor weather

A low vernalisation requirement means the crop can be drilled from November to April, a big advantage during the poor weather last winter and autumn.

The effectiveness of strobilurin fungicides and pre-harvest Roundup (glyphosate) for securing an all-important good Hagberg Falling number is being monitored.

The aim is to develop the crop as an import replacement for a value-added food market. &#42


&#8226 SCIENTISTS at Reading University have developed smart greenhouse cladding materials which reduce the need for pesticides and plant growth regulators on protected crops.

Developed in conjunction with VisQueen Agri, the cladding eliminates certain types of light which have been found to stimulate disease development and control the height and final shape of plants.

By reducing spore-loading, the new films have reduced Botrytis by 45% by removing ultra-violet light and increased shelf-life. Ornamentals have shown marked quality improvements under far-red filtering materials.

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&#8226 HYDRO Agri will be highlighting the latest innovations in precise nitrogen applications at Cereals 99 on Wed 16 and Thur 17 Jun. The companys N Sensor allows real time sensing and variable nitrogen application according to crop demand. The result is increased yield, grain quality, gross margin and more efficient use of nitrogen, says Hydro.

&#8226 OILSEED rape growers can desiccate oilseed rape crops and control perennial weeds in one operation this year, after new recommendations approved for Zenecas glyphosate trimesium, Touchdown.

The use of pre-harvest Touchdown is recommended where the control of perennial weeds is required. Cost effective controlled desiccation over 14-21 days with reduced risk of pod shatter and seed loss is claimed.

Application rates of 3 litres/ha are recommended for desiccation, control of annual weeds and couch control. Touchdown also has approval for pre-harvest weed control in winter beans.

&#8226 CONSERVATION is getting a boost with the launch of the Allerton Supporters Group to promote the work of the Allerton Research and Educational Trusts Loddington Farm in Leicester.

Run in collaboration with the Game Conservancy Trust, the farm has pioneered the combination of good farming practice and conservation management for seven years. Alongside pheasants and hares it has successfully boosted numbers of song thrush, bullfinch and harvest mice.

&#8226 APHID control in outdoor lettuce using integrated pest management techniques is getting new funding from the Horticultural Development Council in a bid to provide supermarket customers with aphid-free produce while still rationalising and minimising insecticide usage.

&#8226 REVOCATION of approval for using the fungicide chlorothalonil in broad beans and leeks from Jul 31, as part of EC directive 98/92/EC on maximum residue levels, dont apply to the Novartis product Folio, says the company. The product continues to have approval for use in bulb and salad onions, leeks, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, calabrese, field beans and broad beans. &#42

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