The soils at Monmouth House Farm, Lutton have areputation for producing high yields; back in 2011 David Hoyles grew a recordbreaking crop of Invicta wheat yielding 14.3t/ha.
Since then he has moved onto the group 4 wheat Evolutionand yields have been consistently impressive. Last year his Evolution yielded12.44t/ha, however yields from this harvest have broken the farm record with amassive 15.47t/ha.
Since 2011, crops have performed well but we have notseen the high yields like those from the Invicta due to seasonal challengessuch as reduced light and high disease pressure, says Mr Hoyles.
We have been really pleased with the results thisseason, we have grown just under 100ha of Evolution this year, and the averageacross this has been 14.57t/ha- and three of these fields averaged over15t/ha.
He believes that the gain in yields this year has probablycome about as a result of more nitrogen, but mainly getting the right weatherat the right time as well as very high levels of sunlight in April, May andJune compared to last, based on the farm solar panel electricity productionfigures.
Mr Hoyles believes that ultimately the yields have beenachieved as a result of a close attention to detail right from priorcultivations, controlled traffic to reduce overall compaction, optimizing tyrepressures, and overall good crop agronomy and management and as he points out weare fortunate with our soil type!
All of the harvested four fields growing Evolution weredrilled between 19th September and 4th October, followingmustard, sugar beet or potatoes. Threeof the fields were on our poorer soils and these were drilled at 170kg/ha, theone field of better soil had a lower rate at 125kg/ha.
Our strategy was to really push the fields to theirmaximum potential; this meant the high potential soils got a bit more nitrogen.Over the season, the better 11.29 ha field had 280kg/N whereas the poorerfields had slightly less at 205kg/N after sugar beet and 180kg/N after potatoes.
According to breeders Limagrain UK, with regards to nitrogen applications for Evolution, there are arange of opinions on how many nitrogen splits are best, and whether to go onearly or save some for a late application.
You dont want tolet Evolution go hungry in early spring. Little and often does seem to work, ifyou can manage the fieldwork. Evolution is a taller strawed variety, and aslong as the PGR inputs are correct, then on good sites you can raise the rateand push it for yield, says Ron Granger, arable technical manager.
Its late-maturing, but Im not a big believer in savingN until late in the season. It might be too dry and may only come availablewhen the crops actually ready to senesces with the possible results of alower specific weight.
The varietys bred to maintain its green canopy, so aslong as N isnt limiting throughout the spring, itll build this canopy,thatll then be used to build yield.
Trace element levels should also be monitored to ensurenone are limiting, topping up with foliar applications as required, he advises.
The fungicide strategy at Monmouth Farm generally takestwo forms, depending on previous cropping and when wheat was sown.September-sown wheat after vining peas or mustard, for example, producesthicker, forward crops in the spring than later drilling after potatoes orsugar beet, so more robust rates tend to be used at the main timings, Mr Hoylessays.
Evolution has high disease resistance scores, so thereis some scope to question the need for a robust programme. However, conditions can change quickly and because ouryields tend to be fairly high, and often getting sea mists, we are slightlymore cautious. Spending a few extra pounds on fungicides is worth theinvestment if youre getting the yield at the end of it.
Our T0 spray was generally based around 1l/ha Cherokee(chlorothalonil, propiconazole + cyproconazole. Relatively warm and unsettled weathermeant that a slightly more robust T1 spray went on of 1l/ha Vertisan (penthiopyrad),0.75 l/ha Prosaro (prothioconazole,) and 1.0 litre/ha Bravo was applied on theEvolution.
T2 saw 1.25l/ha Adexar (fluxopyroxad +epoxiconazole) +1.25l Bravo go on, andT3 was 0.3l/ha Prosaro and 0.4l/ha Folicur.
With Evolution being quite a tall variety (height withoutPGR is 88cm on the HGCA Recommended List) Mr Hoyles used a robust plant growthregulator spray to minimise any lodging risk.