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05 AgriiFocus Research Update Syed Shah RD Manager West W e managed to drill all of our winter oilseed rape trials at AgriiFocus on 3rd September 2015. This year we are evaluating the performance of 40 varieties in terms of their susceptibility to various diseases particularly phoma and light leaf spot and lodging resistance as well as grain yield and quality such as oil content. All varieties have established well and have received slug pellets Desire 4.0 kg ha-1 . So far there has been very little or no slug or flea beetle damage. However as we know that the flea beetle is a serious cause of concern in winter oilseed rape we are currently investigating the effect of a range of non-neonicotinoid based seed treatments to manage the flea beetle activity and its effect on crop establishment. Rapid emergence and early crop growth can help winter oilseed rape to grow away from the early flea beetle damage. The use of seed treatments such as Take-off as well as seed-bed nitrogen N and phosphate P can improve crop establishment. These treatments tend to reduce the risk of crop failure in a variety of stresses such as drought water logging or pests aphids or flea beetles. Also foliar nutrition such as Nutriphite PGA and Quark can help the crop to establish well and may result in higher yield. In one of the trials at AgriiFocus in 2014-2015 we investigated the effect of foliar nutrition on crop establishment and found that it had a very positive effect on crop canopy measured in terms of leaf size compared with untreated plots. The treated plots had bigger leaves and higher plants per m-2 than the untreated plots which also resulted in higher yield Fig 1. The winter wheat trials data for harvest 2015 has been analysed. We had some interesting differences amongst varieties in terms of their susceptibility to yellow rust and septoria and their responses to different fungicide treatments compared with last year 2014 harvest. All winter varieties produced significantly higher yields than last year which was partly due to low level of disease in the growing season of 2015. However it was interesting to note that all varieties responded positively to fungicide treatments. In the high disease pressure year harvest 2014 the varieties Crusoe and Dickens produced 3.4 and 3.1 t ha-1 respectively higher yields than their corresponding untreated plots in response to a robust fungicide programme. The same varieties produced 2.0 Crusoe and 2.6 t ha-1 Dickens higher yields compared with the untreated plots in 2015 harvest when disease pressure was low Fig 2. This outcome indicates that a robust fungicide programme gave a significant yield response and justified its cost 140 ha-1 even in the low disease pressure season of 2015. This outcome was probably due to the fact that fungicides have a significant effect on crop physiology nutrient uptake and crop defences against different diseases. However in the uncertain grain market and with poor grain prices we should try selecting a variety or varieties with a reasonable level of resistance against the key diseases septoria yellow rust brown rust and powdery mildew. This can help to minimise the cost of inputs especially fungicides to enhance farm profitability. I would like to invite you to come to one of our upcoming AgriiFocus events in which our varieties fungicide and nutrition trials work will be discussed. Please see the information box on this page for more details of our next meeting. Journal Agrii West Autumn 2015 AgriiFocus Research and events update Fig 2. Effect of interaction of year x variety on grain yield of winter wheat at AgriiFocus Drilling date and harvest year Fig 1. Effect of foliar nutrition on grain yield of winter oilseed rape A new one day AgriiFocus Results Conference for Agrii customers in the West will be held on 2nd February 2016 near Swindon. Key AgriiFocus trials results for last season will be presented and interpreted by Agrii specialists including Dr Syed Shah Trials Manager for the West and Colin Lloyd Head of Agronomy. Smaller tiered lecture theatres will be used to ensure key messages are presented and discussed to full advantage. Invites will be sent out in the New Year in the meantime why not put the time and date in your diary The Conference will be on 2nd February 2016 bacon rolls at 9.15am for a 10am start. NEW AgriiFocus Results Conference 2nd February 2016