Page 23

Yield t/ha

14 year average wheat yield as influenced by cultivation strategy

Heavy - MT

Medium - MT

Light - MT

Heavy - P

Medium - P

Light - P Source: ProCam 4cast data

Ploughing technique is also vital to success, he points out. Setting up the plough, correctly, and adjusting skimmers, can make all the difference. “The soil has to be fully inverted and the seeds completely buried. Ploughing can make a big difference to weed control, but it can also make the problem worse. So it has to be done correctly in order to work well.”

Delayed drilling As well as thinking carefully about cultivations and soil management, growers should consider delaying drilling as part of the strategy to combat the black-grass threat but this too can carry some risk, advises ProCam’s head of crop production Nick Myers. “Despite its higher risk, delayed drilling can be done successfully, providing the crops are going into good quality seedbeds and in the right order of field choice. “A flexible approach is required with some forethought to prepare seedbeds in advance when conditions are good.” Later drilling, around midOctober into well-prepared seedbeds can achieve better weed control at a lower cost, he says. “The key point is that soils are generally cooler and moister in October and November, providing better conditions for residual herbicides. “Cooler soils mean the herbicides will persist longer through the germination period of the grass weeds. Applied to moist soils means they are more likely to be picked up by the germinating weeds.

“Grass weed control is so reliant on a few residual herbicides that we need to give them every chance to work at their very best.” The ultimate delayed drilling is waiting until the spring, which has the greatest effect in terms of reducing black-grass, Mr Myers points out, but two spring crops in succession may be needed to get the best from this approach. “Again, there have been some great successes with this. Lower yields aren’t always a problem because a reduction in growing costs can help to offset the yield reduction. “In addition, our 4cast analysis shows that winter and spring wheat gross margins can be comparable, especially where the spring wheat attracts a milling premium. So there is often less financial penalty from adopting some spring crops than might be expected.” Spring sown crops tend to have less black-grass and that which does germinate in the spring tends to be less competitive with fewer tillers and lower numbers of seeds per head, he adds. “Spring barley is often more competitive against any grass weeds that do germinate, but using robust seed rates can increase spring wheat’s tolerance to grass weeds. “Winter barley, especially some of the hybrids, has a competitive advantage which contributes to a suppression of black-grass and there’s a further advantage of earlier harvest with barley, which helps with preparations for the following crop and provides more time for putting soil right where problems exist.” ■


Performance built on solid foundations... • Best available combination of rust, Septoria tritici and eyespot resistance • Very high treated and untreated yield • Very stiff straw • Good grain quality, likely to be suitable for multiple markets • Flexible for growers; early sown, first or second wheat variety

Key cultivation facts • The top 25 per cent of growers adopted minimum tillage at a rate • •

approximately 10 per cent higher than the average, year on year Around 80 per cent of second wheat crops grown on medium and lighter soils still use ploughing as the primary cultivation Direct drilling has not been as popular as conventional establishment techniques. In 2015, yields from winter wheat crops established by ‘direct drilling’ were around 1t/ha lower than those established by ploughing or minimum tillage techniques. @lgseedsuk Rothwell, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, LN7 6DT Tel: 01472 371471

1-31 ROP Aug.indd 23

22/07/2016 16:58

August 2016  

Farmers Guide Magazine August 2016 Issue

August 2016  

Farmers Guide Magazine August 2016 Issue