Variety choice key in trial results

31 August 2001

Variety choice key in trial results

By Tom Allen-Stevens

THE PERFORMANCE of even the most promising new wheat variety has proved disappointing in the Velcourt Arable Event demonstration on FWi.

The results have been posted on to the site this week, and technical director Keith Norman admits he was expecting much higher yields.

Everyone who saw these trials was impressed with how good they were looking. I would have expected at least another 2t/ha.

The Recommended List candidates especially have yielded poorly. One strange result is that untreated plots of Xi19 and Storm outperformed the managed plots.

Mr Norman believes low disease pressure and variable soil quality is largely to blame, but advises growers against believing new varieties will deliver miracles.

If you know youre farming in a marginal situation, youre not going to turn it round by bringing in a brand new variety.

The differences [between varieties] become less when they are unable to show their true colours.

That said, the establishment demonstration underlines the importance of choosing the variety carefully to match the situation, Mr Norman maintains.

Varieties need to be farmed as varieties, rather than as a crop type. Choice of variety is key.

The plots were established on two drilling dates, eight weeks apart , with varieties chosen to match the date. Some plots were min-tilled while others were ploughed.

Although the results are variable, they show the plots performed equally as well as each other, showing how the later varieties had compensated, says Mr Norman.

You can make up a lot of lost ground at a later drilling date by choosing one right for the situation Charger, for example, performs well in this slot.

The various wheat and barley plots near Royston in Hertfordshire make up the Arable Event demonstration of cereal technology usually seen at Cereals.

Following the cancellation of the event, the demonstration was brought to FWi, with progress updates and pictures posted regularly throughout the season.


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