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A utumn 2015 has proven to be a season where growers have changed a fair percentage of the varieties they harvested. Initial indications are that we will have a 10 swing from feed wheat varieties into milling varieties. We have also seen a swing from conventional winter barley varieties into hybrid varieties by at least 5 and an estimated swing from hybrid winter rape varieties into conventional varieties. The first fact is the one that is likely to have some effect on the milling premiums as the majority of the swing is into Group 1 milling types. The trend to an increased area of springalternative wheats is likely to continue. Last year two varieties dominated the market. Belepi a soft wheat and Mulika a Group 1 milling wheat with Mulika being by far the largest. So will the increased area of winter milling types move people away from Mulika Whilst premiums may be lower ex harvest 16 growing Mulika should still provide growers with a good range of marketing options plus the possibility of a small premium. How does it compare on grass weed suppression to Belepi From Agrii trials all spring wheat types show good competitiveness against grass weeds and whilst Belepi has made a name for itself in that area it has not shown itself to be significantly different from Mulika. There are one or two spring wheat varieties that have shown some early promise in terms of reducing grass weed populations and more work has been commissioned this year. It is also likely that the spring barley area will increase and this year will see the major impact of two new varieties. Both RGT Planet and KWS Irina are expected to take significant market shares from the major English malting variety Propino. Both offer increased yield and providing early tests from this harvest give the maltsters the confidence they need in the end product we should see a high demand for the seed. As always there is a lot of choice in the feed barley market. This years trials have highlighted the excellent agronomics of Hacker. HGCA 2015 trials see it in the top 3 for stem stiffness resistance to Brackling and specific weight. And equal 4th for maturity. When this is combined with its proven high straw yield and a high grain yield it shows why it is a good choice for the livestock farmer. A griiFocus Technology Centre trials over the past three years are clearly showing the potential of micro-nutrition for the most cost- effective winter wheat production even in the absence of obvious deficiencies. In the high disease low yielding season of 2012 highly significant feed wheat yield improvements of more than 1 tha over controls were recorded from the best micro-nutrient programme. The micro-nutrient-treated plots stayed green fully 16 days longer than the controls. More detailed work under the much lower disease pressure of 2013 showed no significant response to separate foliar applications of zinc copper or boron between T0 and T3. However a programme involving all three trace elements applied at exactly the same levels but in sequence boosted average feed wheat yields by more than 0.4 tha. Again this was clearly linked to much better green leaf retention during grain fill. With disease levels again high statistically significant yield increases were seen from zinc copper and boron applications as well as a programme of all three micro-nutrients in 2014. Significant increases in earsm2 and grain weightear lifted the average yield across the micro-nutrient treatments by 0.44t to 11.68 tha. To get the most from wheat that each season allows we need to build and maintain sufficient tillers ensure the best possible grain set and preserve the most efficient crop canopy to support grain fill observed regional trials manager Dr Syed Shah. Our experience suggests carefully balanced micro-nutrition with basal applications of manganese magnesium and phosphite as well as extra zinc copper and boron where needed has a role to play in all these objectives. Across all our trials zinc performed consistently better than either copper or boron in boosting grain yield. It also had a positive effect on grain protein content which suggests it may have particular value for milling wheat. While Dr Shah is adamant that no-one should see micro-nutrients as quick and easy fixes for performance problems he has no doubt they can be important parts of the solution for many alongside improved NPK and S nutrition soil management and rotations. He points out that nutrition is the key building block of yield unlike crop protection which only safeguards it with relatively small adjustments in fertiliser levels or timing making major differences to crop performance. Instead of any kitchen sink approach to applications though he stresses that micro-nutrient use must be driven by an understanding of the specific nutrient roles and interactions in the soil and plants. Foliar feeds arent expensive to buy or apply agreed Dr Shah. But these days no-one can afford any waste. So foliar feeding needs to be based on sound science. In promoting naturally healthier plants our studies suggest better micro-nutrition may also be providing valuable support to fungicide treatment for the most effective crop protection he added. This is something were actively exploring in more depth at AgriiFocus. Wheat micro-nutritionVariety choiceBP2015 03 Valuing Wheat Micro-nutrition Syed Shah RD Manager West A year of change Barry Barker Seed Manager Visit Agrii at British Potato 2015 W ere busy preparing our stand for British Potato 2015 in Harrogate on 12th and 13th November. Come and visit us on stand H14 for some light refreshments and find out more about our hot potato RD topics and our integrated soil to store potato agronomy and technical services. You can also enter a prize draw to win a bottle of potato vodka The event is free and you can register in advance at www.bp2015. info which should save you time on the day.