Mixed reaction to first hybrid wheats

18 October 2001

Mixed reaction to first hybrid wheats


THE first commercial year of hybrid wheats have met a mixed reaction from the growers trying them out, but most are giving them a second go.

Most growers were surprised by impressive vigour of the new Dupont varieties coming out of the winter, but were disappointed by average yields at harvest.

Richard Burnells 10ha of Hyno Esta in Somerset yielded just 6.8t/ha, for example, but the low-lying soil was frequently waterlogged, he says.

“Consort 400ft up gave us at least 1t/acre (2.5t/ha) more, probably because it drained better. But I am sufficiently encouraged to try a hybrid again.”

The crop was accidentally sown at half rate, suffered rabbit damage and was nearly re-drilled, “But we kept feeding it and it came right back,” he says.

“I was amazed at its vigour. It filled spaces you would never believe with 15-16 tillers in places.”

Staffordshire grower Ray Bowers found his hybrid plots, sown in January, fared much better than the field of Consort which surrounded them.

“Because of patches in the Consort Id say the hybrids probably gave 5-6cwt/acre (0.6-0.75t/ha) more.

“We may be getting some more marginal second wheat land and I might have a hybrid again there.”

But for Midlands farmer Brian Shaw a 1.25t/ha yield advantage from Hyno Esta over Consort and Claire in similar conditions is not convincing enough.

“The seed was 20/acre more expensive, so you need 5cwt/acre (0.65t/ha) extra just for a start. We also spent much more on growth regulators.

“I was going to grow it again, but there is so little in it I have cancelled my order.”


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