Acrop of Crusoe from New Barn Farm in Funtingdon, Chichester may be a newBritish milling wheat record, yielding 14.3t/ha.
Nick Baird harvested 14.13t/ha from a 36.6ha fieldand 14.08t/ha from a second 24.2ha field, with protein levels at 13.5% and13.75% respectively.
Although there is no official yield record formilling wheats in the UK, the last highest recorded yield was in 2013 setby Mark Means with his crop of Cordiale averaging 13.41t/ha.
Harvested on 3rd August, Mr Bairdsyields have subsequently been verified over a weighbridge by the localco-operative grain store Chichester Grain, once the moisture was corrected to15% moisture.
This is the first year that we have grown Crusoeand as you can imagine we are delighted with the results, we shall certainly begrowing it again. At a time when prices are low, it is reassuring to know thatwe can grow a wheat that not only yields but delivers the quality premium thatmakes the difference to the bottom line, he says.
Independent consultant Peter Cowlrick of CCC Ltdand AICC member, who walks the crops on New Barn Farm believes that that the farms overall 111haof Crusoe, drilled on 24 September into chalk, loamy soils has done sowell due to very good establishment last autumn and a good growing season,coupled with the sound varietal and agronomic characteristics of Crusoe,particularly for Septoria.
There is a large scale pig unit at New Barn Farm,and manure from this is applied according to regulations, across therotation. We tested the soils in February, and found deep nitrogen levelsto be around 50kg and 100kg in the top metre or so of the soil.
We used a variable rate approach for fertilizer,using N-Sense canopy imaging ensuring optimal use efficiency. Based on this, afour split N programme of a total of 250kg N was used on the Crusoe, with thefirst application as a flat rate liquid N+S, followed by two variable liquidapplications and finally a solid application of 40kg of N at the flag leafstage. This was followed up by a foliar urea application at the milky grainstage.
This approach seems to have undoubtedly helpeddeliver the 13% protein despite exceptionally high yields.
Mr Cowlrick notes that whilst Cruose is well knownfor its robust ratings, it is important to support these disease resistanceswith an appropriate fungicide programme. Mr Bairds Crusoe received a fourspray programme, the focus of which was to protect against Septoria and rustsand further into the season, mycotoxins.
Crusoe is a short strawed variety which stands wellwhen treated with a PGR. Good straw strength is a positive attribute for aquality wheat variety, but again a good PGR programme is important to supportthis, adds Mr Cowlrick.
The variety is a slightly later to ripen than sayfor example Solstice, and this allows for a longer grain filling period whichundoubtedly contributes to the high yields.