Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6Agrii Spring 2017 Contents Agronomy notes to help secure the spring wheat advantage Page 1 Regional update + Disaster in the Bartonfields OSR trial plots + Photo competition 2017 + Gloucestershire Root, Fruit and Grain Society Update + Fruiterers Conference + Nuffield International Triennial Conference and Field Tours + Update from Stow Longa + Maize Kicka + Newton Purcell event preview Pages 2 - 3 R&D update from AgriiFocus and our regional iFarms Page 4 Finding the balance between agriculture and wildlife Page 5 Worming ewes at lambing/ turnout Page 5 New Agrii Forage and Livestock Products Directory Page 5 Local iFarm map and dates for your diary Page 6 Regional contact details Page 6 www.agrii.co.uk @AgriiWest 01 M anaged correctly, spring wheat can earn better margins than spring barley on bad blackgrass land, explains Agrii head of agronomy, Colin Lloyd. “Spring wheat was the best gross margin performer in the second year of field-scale rotation studies at our Stow Longa Blackgrass Technology Centre in 2016. It significantly outperformed the spring barley grown alongside it as well as the best late-autumn drilled crop of winter wheat. And it delivered the most effective blackgrass control” explained Colin.However, the crop has to be managed correctly to ensure blackgrass control is maximised, milling premiums are secured and rust, BYDV, ergot and gout fly problems are avoided. “Across its 1 ha rotational block at Stow Longa last season our mid-March sown crop of Mulika averaged 7.83 t/ha to deliver a gross margin of £534/ha and a summer blackgrass population of 24 ears/m2 . This compared with 6.32 t/ha, £404/ha and 37 ears/m2 from spring barley sown on the same date.” “Yields of more than 9 t/ha and protein contents of over 14% in other recent trials across our research network underline the clear potential of Mulika which commands the lion’s share of today’s spring wheat market. But on the other hand, we’ve seen crops badly hit by gout fly giving little more than 2t/ha. Equally, cleaning out ergot typically adds £10-15/t to production costs. And the AHDB quality survey shows only 23% of Mulika samples from last harvest making the Group 1 specification.” “Like all spring crops”, says Colin, the short growing season means few, if any, opportunities to compensate for setbacks with spring wheat, putting the premium on the best possible start. And it’s important to drill with minimal soil movement. Waking-up blackgrass seed by moving too much soil at drilling at Stow Longa has reduced Mulika yields by almost 2t/ha.” “Timely glyphosate treatment is essential to eliminate any cover crop and weed growth ahead of drilling. Kill before you drill also has to be the watchword with slugs to avoid what can be devastating problems on heavy ground coming into the spring. Just like winter crops, effective rolling after drilling is invaluable here, as well as in achieving the best seed to soil contact.” “We reckon a Mulika sowing rate of 400-450 seeds/m2 is about right under most circumstances.” Colin explains. “On soils prone to manganese deficiency a quality Mn seed dressing will be well worthwhile. We saw responses of over 0.6 t/ha from iMan at 3ml/kg in 2016 trials in Lincolnshire. To provide an early rooting boost we also suggest TakeOff seed treatment and/or the low temperature-active PGR, Adjust at GS13-21.” With the amount of BYDV seen following the recent run of mild winters and the extent to which it can damage later-sown spring wheats, including a pyrethroid with the GS13-21 spray is also advisable, with extra foliar manganese and zinc where necessary. A standard two-spray fungicide programme is all you’re likely to need unless there’s a major disease challenge, with strobilurins included at both T1 and T2 to target rust and support grain quality. As far as nitrogen is concerned, Agrii trials work suggests 160-200 kg/ha is quite sufficient, with 40-70 kg/ha (depending on sowing date) applied in the seedbed and the bulk at GS12. Higher levels than this have given significant grain protein boosts in our trials but they don’t make sense unless you generally struggle to achieve the milling specification; in which case, an extra 40 kg N/ ha as Protol at GS73-75 can be valuable. Colin finishes by saying: “The key focus of your spring wheat investment simply must be on drilling it into the best possible conditions early enough and getting it away well enough from the start.” Securing the spring wheat advantage A standard two-spray fungicide programme is all you’re likely to need unless there’s a major disease challenge, with strobilurins included at both T1 and T2 to target rust and support grain quality. Colin Lloyd in his trial plots at the Agrii Stow Longa Technology Centre.