Winter wheat varieties previously exhibiting good disease resistance were put to the test this season and some will be found wanting, as illustrated in trial plots at the annual Cambridge Arable Technologies’ (CAT) open day at Rosalie Field Station near Newmarket.
New strains of brown rust have been particularly active this year and the comparatively mild winter resulted in brown rust becoming a problem right across East Anglia, rather than just in the South East and South Essex, as reported by AHDB and others. Dr Richard Jennaway, Director of the Field Station, also suggests brown rust seems to be becoming more active at lower temperatures:
“There has been an increase in brown rust for the last four or five years but this year the mild winter meant there were higher levels in the spring and the inoculum that survived seems to be showing signs of developing into disease at temperatures of 20oC/21oC rather than at the higher twenties as we would expect.
“In our trial plots it has been kept fairly well under control using conventional farm spray regimes but in the untreated plots it exploded quickly and some varieties, such as Crusoe, were affected very badly. We might have seen even more if so much of the leaf had not been decimated by yellow rust, leaving very little viable leaf tissue for brown rust and septoria tritici to affect.”
The field station has 72 varieties of winter wheat in trial, including a range of candidate varieties. Of the traditional farm stalwarts KWS Santiago and JB Diego, the latter looked under particular pressure and CAT members showed special interest in potential replacements Revelation, Evolution and Graham. The early maturing Belgrade likewise attracted attention, performing well as a second wheat with its early harvest potential providing suitable entry for OSR.
New hybrid wheats HyKing and Hyclick were on display alongside high yielding Hyguardo and the very early maturing Hybiza. Hybrid wheat is also being trialled at different input levels to help optimise management under different conditions.
With increasing interest in spring crops, members focussed on spring barley with Concerto on show as the primary malting variety, adjacent to candidate Acorn. Developed to maintain the head on a popular brand of beer, varieties with names beginning “Ch”, including Chanson and Chantal, have been locked into contracts with the genetic patent holder. Some are now being released to other brewers and so trial plots were revealed to CAT members for the first time. On suitable sites these offer a premium for contracted growers.
In its second year, CAT’s high yield trial is based on an advanced ‘little and often’ nutrient regime developed by record holder Tim Lamyman. The programme includes a total of 300 kgN/ha plus additional micronutrients and trace elements. Results will be available to CAT members shortly after harvest.
To join CAT complete the form on theorganisation’s website or e-mail [email protected]