August 1, 2014
Research expansion delivers extra wheat variety intelligence
A comprehensive wheat variety planner that goes well beyond the current Recommended List to provide growers with extra national and local intelligence on a wide range of important varietal characteristics is one of the exciting decision support tools being developed as a direct result of Agrii’s R&D expansion, growers discovered at the AgriiFocus summer event.
“The Recommended List is valuable as far as it goes,” said Agrii head of technology and services, Clare Bend at the event seminar. “But for many growers it simply doesn’t go far enough for the best variety decision-making. Certainly not at a time when progress in genetics and seed is becoming increasingly more essential to productivity and profitability gains than developments in agro-chemistry.
“We’re now directing over 40% of our annual UK R&D effort into genetics and seed to provide a far greater depth of information on varieties and how best to grow them as well as identifying and bringing forward exciting new market-led growing opportunities.
“More accurate, informative and timely disease resistance ratings is a key output of the National Cereal Disease Survey we’ve established to monitor yellow and brown rust and Septoria development and changes in more than 30 varieties at over 14 sites across the country each season.
“Our pioneering work on black-grass management at Stow Longa is providing unique weed competitiveness ratings for every leading and up-and-coming variety too. And our extended Coordinated Growing Systems (COGS) trials pulling varieties apart under challenging conditions at sites across the country is allowing us to include more accurate information and advice on lodging resistance, sowing dates, second wheat suitability and stress tolerance, amongst other characteristics.”
Every bit as importantly, Clare Bend pointed out that the new variety decision-making tool is being developed on a regional basis so growers can be confident they have the best local intelligence on which to base their growing and management decisions.
The planner being made available to growers through Agrii agronomists will also go well beyond wheats on the Recommended List at any one time to include both varieties that continue to have value in some parts of the country despite no longer being listed nationally and those with special regional value for characteristics like Septoria resistance and straw yield that may never have made it to the RL. What is more, it is progressively being developed for other cereals and oilseed rape.
“Recognising how crucial the right information in the right form at the right time is to growers, we are supporting the development of our variety planner with major additional investments in data analysis, forecasting, presentation and delivery as part of our rapidly expanding portfolio of decision support services,” Clare Bend concluded.