Cold and dry spring tests wheat world record bid Tim Lamyman in the crop of Marston at the end of May. Its dark green colour highlights the potential to capture the maximum amount of solar radiation.
“My world record wheat crop in 2015 achieved 770–850 heads/m2 which was the most I’d ever seen, so it was always going to be special,” he says.
Farmers Guide has been tracking the progress of a crop of the Group 4 winter wheat DSV Marston, being grown by Tim Lamyman at Worlaby Farms on the Lincolnshire Wolds as part of his attempt to regain the world wheat yield record. Here, he discusses inputs made to the crop during key timings this season. Tim Lamyman broke the UK wheat yield record in 2015 with a 16.5t/ha crop and hopes to do even better this year with DSV Marston winter wheat. Throughout the season, the variety has hinted at its potential to deliver something special in terms of yield, he reports. “The question is whether the cold, dry spring has dented its ability to achieve a world wheat yield record. Harvest will provide the acid test, but I remain optimistic and have no doubt it will deliver a fantastic yield. “It never ceases to amaze me just what a difference a few days can make. At the beginning of March high rainfall was a major challenge, delaying spring drilling and preventing the application of agchem and fertilisers. “But we stayed on top of the situation and going into March the Marston was in fantastic condition. It was the most forward of the winter wheats and free from disease.”
At the beginning of March high rainfall was a major challenge, preventing the application of agchem and fertilisers.
The goal from then on was to sustain the biomass potential which had been created by bolstering the root structure through adequate nutrition, Mr Lamyman explains. “This aspect is vital because the nutrition that the crop draws from the soil is unlikely to be sufficient to support a record-breaking yield. “I also wanted to ensure that the crop developed shorter, largerdiameter, stronger stems that could support more heads; the key being to achieve stronger nodes and a shorter inter-node length. “Until the third week of April just 20 per cent of our average seasonal rainfall had fallen and from 1st March to 17th May I recorded just 14mm, leaving crops drought stressed. “Then, over the next three days the heavens opened and 75mm fell, 50mm on day one,” he adds. Two months of drought followed by heavy rain and 10 nights of frosts ‘tipped’ the wheat badly but because the weather was dull, and the maximum daytime temperature never exceeded 10°C, the crop took three weeks to come back, he says. “This combination caused all early drilled wheats to drop tillers, so the biomass is slightly less than I would like but it still looks incredible and undoubtedly has the potential to achieve a very high yield. “Wheat has a remarkable ability to compensate, up to a point, but in my experience if it has less than 600 heads/m2 it will struggle to achieve a record yield under UK conditions.
Following the cold, dry spring the tiller count for Marston was 450–500/m2, which is more than last season, so it certainly has significant potential, he points out. The crop has not suffered massive nutrient shortages at any stage in its development, he comments. “By using NHK Delta and 1-4-ALL products from nutrition company Bionature UK, I have managed to retain enough tillers to maintain the potential for a very high yield. “I like to see each plant producing the same number of heads so the crop emerges evenly, develops evenly and matures evenly.” Leaf testing has been carried out every three or four weeks from GS32 to GS39 with any nutrient needs identified and addressed.
Spray programme At T0, a PGR tank-mix of 50ml/ ha of Moddus (trinexapac) + 1-litre/ha of chlormequat, was added to 0.75-litres/ha Cherokee (chlorothalonil + cyproconazole + propiconazole) + 0.5-litres/ha of Bravo 500 (chlorothalonil) to keep the crop clear of septoria, he explains. “At the same time, 2.5-litres/ha of NHK Delta went on to help meet the crop’s potassium requirement, together with 1-litre/ha of 1-4-ALL to help keep the process of biomass development going.” At T1 50ml/ha of Moddus + 1-litre/ha of chlormequat, 2.5-litres/ ha of NHK Delta and 1-litre/ha of 1-4-ALL were applied along with 0.5 l/ha of Rainbow Wave (a liquid boron and molybdenum application). New SDHI Ascra Xpro (bixafen + fluopyram + prothioconazole) was added at 1.2-litres/ha to maximise the crop’s chances of producing a high yield, he adds. “I decided against another application of Bravo at that stage as septoria didn’t seem to be a problem and my concern was that
it might lock up the fungicide in the Ascra Xpro.” The combination of PGRs at T1 followed by sharp frosts put the crop under significant stress, continues Mr Lamyman. “Although the impact was not severe compared with what crops in other parts of the country experienced, it undoubtedly reduced Marston’s tillering potential. “On 19th May, just after the first significant rainfall of spring, I applied a T1.5 nutrition spray, to correct any potential boron and molybdenum deficiency, which worked well.”
Harvest will provide the acid test, but Mr Lamyman remains optimistic and has no doubt Marston will deliver a fantastic yield.
Nitrogen In terms of nitrogen, the crop has received a total of 360kg N/ha, in four splits. During the first week of March, 52kg N/ha of CF Double Top (27N (30SO3)) was applied, with the same again in the first week of April. “Levels of atmospheric sulphur are extremely low in this area and Double Top is particularly beneficial because it combines ammonium sulphate with ammonium nitrate and supplies the crop’s sulphur requirement.” During the first week of May, 160kg N/ha was applied in the form of CF Nitram (34.5% N), the balance of the 360kg N/ha going on as Nitram during the last week of May. Despite some dull days at the beginning of May, solar radiation levels have been way above those recorded in 2016 and will favour high yields, he points out. “The combination of high biomass, sunlight, water and green leaf area is what creates high yields and for every additional week that the crop remains green the yield potential increases by 1–1.5t/ha.” *We will return to Worlaby Farms to document the harvest result and report on how Mr Lamyman’s crop of Marston ultimately performed. ■
www.farmersguide.co.uk July 2017
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