Three passes not for all

29 October 1999

Three passes not for all

MANAGING winter wheat with as few as three field passes to apply inputs could save growers up to £80/ha (£32/acre).

But possible yield reductions of up to 0.7t/ha (0.28t/acre) need considering before taking the plunge.

"But I do not want growers to go away with the idea that three passes is the way forward for all crops," Nick Poole, research co-ordinator for Arable Research Centres, told the first HGCA Agronomy Roadshow at Ashford, Kent, on Tuesday.

First year results from the HGCA-funded study show possible savings of £70-£80/ha (£28-£32/acre) where lower cost establishment techniques were combined with just three application passes.

But not all direct drilled or minimum-tilled crops are candidates for minimum pass husbandry, yield effects outweighing cost savings in some cases.

Scope to reduce passes was likely to improve with the introduction of take-all seed treatments, said Mr Poole. "A seed treatment will boost second wheat yields and simplify the input regime, so fewer passes become possible."

&#8226 More details in next weeks issue.

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