Lessons to be learned with untested seed

21 September 2001

Lessons to be learned with untested seed

SOWING untreated farm-saved seed without getting it disease tested first can have dire consequences, as one Cambs farmer discovered this harvest.

Tim Scott used farm-saved Consort that had not been tested or treated to finish re-drilling 8ha (20 acres) of wheat which was ruined by slugs.

The rest of the field at Manor Farm, Comberton was sown with seed from the same batch of farm-saved Consort, but was treated with Beret Gold (fludioxonil).

The treated crop yielded an estimated 6.2t/ha (2.5t/acre). "Thats pretty good considering everything. But there was hardly anything where we didnt treat. The crop was very thin and the hares had a real set-to on it."

Mr Scott blames undetected disease for the poor area. "It was probably riddled with fusarium."

This year, for logistical reasons, he is reverting to bought-in seed, all treated with Beret Gold. "If I went back to farm-saving, and was feeling the pinch even more, I might consider testing for disease. But you can pay for the tests and still end up having to treat." &#42


&#8226 Virtually nil output.

&#8226 Germination test only.

&#8226 Fusarium hit crop hard.

&#8226 Better yield where treated.

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