27 June 1997


DO ROOKS reveal varietal preference when they attack winter wheats? That will be one of the questions raised in the arable crops area of the show.

Plots of Riband on the showground were decimated by rooks while other varieties came through comparatively unscathed. Was that due to chance? ADAS and independent crop consultants, on hand to offer advice on a wide range of arable topics, will be interested to hear from farmers whether their crops have suffered sustained rook attack.

Research showing that Riband is particularly susceptible to slug damage may offer a vital clue, says Andrew Fisher, a member of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants.

Slugs find Riband palatable because its seed has a higher sugar content that other varieties. Could that be the same reason that attracted rooks to the plots of Riband on the showground?

But it is malting barley that takes pride of place in the 80-plot demonstration area which is designed to attract both the public and arable farmers. Several quality malting barley varieties have been grown at different seed rates, nitrogen levels, and fungicide treatments.

Near the plots, a grain trader, a maltster and a brewer will map the passage of a quality malting barley from field to beer.

Also under discussion will be fungicide programmes for winter wheat and the performance of spring oilseed rape, linseed and spring malting barley varieties.n

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