Nutrition trials deliver significant benefitsComments Off on Nutrition trials deliver significant benefits
Dr Syed Shah – R&D Manager
This year field and weather conditions have been much better than last year and we have managed to drill all our trials at the AgriiFocus site near Swindon. Currently we are looking at the effect of sowing date, seed rate, fungicide, different types of nitrogen and phosphate fertiliser and trace elements on yield and quality of winter oilseed rape, winter wheat and winter barley. All the trials at the AgriiFocus site have established well and have received their pre and post emergence herbicide, insecticide and fungicide treatments (where applicable).
The 2013 harvest data has been analysed and will be presented in the forthcoming farmer meetings. The trials results have shown that there were significant differences amongst winter wheat varieties under the challenging conditions in autumn 2012 and the varieties Dickens, Crusoe, Gallant, Sky-fall and Solace had better establishment and plant survival than the other varieties investigated in the trial. This tends to suggest that we should be focusing on identifying the varieties which can perform well in a wide range of weather conditions. This is one of the reasons we have increased the number of varieties in our variety trials in which we are comparing 103 varieties of winter oilseed rape, 89 varieties of winter wheat and 59 varieties of winter barley in terms of crop growth, development, establishment, susceptibility to diseases, lodging risk, yield and quality.
Crop nutrition plays a crucial role in crop establishment and plant survival, particularly during adverse weather conditions. The main objective of the early nutrition is to enhance crop establishment by improving root growth. A bigger and deeper root system allows the plant to access available nutrients in the soil. It can also reduce lodging risk and makes water accessible during drought conditions.
In one of the trials at AgriiFocus, we investigated the effects of different treatments on crop establishment of winter oilseed rape. Data analysis showed that NutriPhite PGA and Quark had a very positive effect on crop establishment and green area index (GAI) which was 30% higher than the untreated plots, measured in terms of normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI). However, the positive effects of the treatment were not translated into yield. This may have been due to increased demand for other nutrients which were probably yield limiting factors. Currently we are investigating the effects of a range of trace elements on yield of winter oilseed rape treated with Take-Off seed treatment. As shown in the Fig 1, the plots treated with Take-Off had more plants/sq m and higher GAI, measured in terms of NDVI. Although the Take-Off has created a yield potential, the challenge is to treat this crop appropriately to achieve higher yields.
Trace elements also had a significantly positive effect on grain yield of winter wheat over the last two years (Fig 2 and 3). These yield benefits were partly attributed to increased green leaf retention (Fig 1). It has been well documented that trace elements such as copper, zinc and boron have a significant effect on the photosynthetic efficiency and translocation of assimilates towards the ear, which in turn improves ear fertility, grains per ear and average grain weight. The improved translocation of assimilates may have resulted in the higher yield in our trials. We have many more interesting results to share with you and I would like to invite you to come to one of the AgriiFocus events in which these results will be presented.
Fig 2 Effect of trace elements on grain yield of winter wheat varieties at AgriiFocus 2012
Fig 3 : Effect of trace elements on grain yield of winter wheat varieties at AgriiFocus 2013
Fig 4: Effect of trace element on green tissue retention