A large estate in the North east of England, has turned to wheat variety LG Typhoon as part of its drive to build a more sustainable regenerative cropping system.
The in-house farming operation of County Durham-based Raby Estates began conversion to direct drilling in 2018 and is striving to reduce the use of artificial inputs where possible, without compromising on the quality and quantity of crops produced.
It is a challenge that the variety lived up to last season, according to farm manager Philip Vickers, who decided to trial the variety on the recommendation of Limagrain UK’s arable technical manager, Ron Granger.
“We’re trying to move away from growing high input varieties, so are primarily looking for those that offer a robust disease package, good standing power and suitability for our direct drilling system,” Mr Vickers says.
“Direct drilling in northern England is not something you want to be doing into November, so I also look for varieties that suit the early drilling slot. From what we’ve seen so far, LG Typhoon seems to fit our requirements well.”
Last season the farm grew around 32 ha (80 acres) of LG Typhoon, alongside several other varieties, but Mr Vickers has been so impressed with its agronomics, ease of management and yield performance, that he plans to increase this to 100 ha for 2023/24.
The LG Typhoon averaged an excellent 9.4-9.6 t/ha. A number of weather-related challenges throughout the season however, including exceptionally high Septoria pressure, did not make for an easy growing season.
The LG Typhoon was direct drilled in mid-September as a first wheat after oilseed rape, using the farm’s 6-metre Horsch Avatar, or 6-metre Väderstad Seed Hawk, drills. Seed rates were kept relatively high at around 300/m2, to counter the slightly lower establishment percentage experienced when direct drilling.
All crops received a base application of phosphate and potash fertiliser, plus a total of up to 170 kg N/ha in the spring, applied as three splits; the first as granular urea, followed by two liquid nitrogen applications.
“We have been reducing nitrogen use significantly in recent years, but in contrast to conventional thinking, some crop yields have gone up in that period,” Mr Vickers notes.
“Agronomy-wise, LG Typhoon was problem-free,” he continues. “It established quickly in the autumn, got away well in the spring, and was relatively early to harvest, tight behind Graham.”
But even though it established quickly, he says LG Typhoon did not get too large, unlike some other varieties, which continued tillering throughout a very mild autumn, during which temperatures hit 21°C in November. Those varieties then became much harder to manage with growth regulators and fungicides in the spring.
Robust disease profile
Strong Septoria resistance is a must-have for all winter wheat varieties grown on the farm, as the disease remains the number one yield-robber in high pressure seasons such as 2023, Mr Vickers says. “We generally look for varieties with a Recommended List score of at least six.”
With a Septoria rating of 7.3, backed up by a combination of genetics that are different to those in other RL varieties, giving LG Typhoon a distinct advantage over other varieties.
Although crops received the farm standard fungicide programme, based around Iodus (laminarin) at T0, bixafen/prothioconazole at T1, Univoq (fenpicoxamid + prothioconazole) at T2, and straight tebuconazole at T3, he was able to reduce rates by 10-15% on the LG Typhoon due to its robust disease profile.
“To ease management, we generally try to keep fungicide products similar across all varieties, but will look to vary the rate where appropriate.
“Despite doing so on the LG Typhoon, we still didn’t see any disease of significance at all last season, even though there was very high Septoria pressure which caused some other varieties to struggle.”
Accurate spray timing is also key to maintaining effective disease control, as is a robust trace element programme to bolster plant health and reduce the crop’s susceptibility to disease infection, he adds.
Perfect fit for regen systems
Mr Granger says LG Typhoon has certain attributes that make it ideally suited to strip tillage/direct drilling, regenerative crop establishment systems, that often feature wider rows.
LG Typhoon’s growth habit, for example, means plants sit prostrate with slower growth through the winter into spring, which is ideal for those direct drilling earlier in the autumn and who do not want a variety that races off too quickly.
It is a high tillering variety that has the capacity to utilise the space between the wider rows, often found with some direct drilling equipment.
Indeed, while Mr Vickers’s Horsch drill works on a standard row spacing, the Väderstad is at a slightly wider 180-200 mm spacing, and he also trialed a new 12-metre tine drill last season, which worked on a wider 250 mm row width.
“Unfortunately, we don’t yet have the yield data available, as the demo field was combined by a contractor, but the LG Typhoon did seem to really suit that wider row spacing. It’s something we may potentially look at in the future, although I’m not sure a 12-metre machine is suited to some of the smaller fields on our farm.”
Another attribute of LG Typhoon that makes it a good fit for regenerative systems, and for those looking for flexibility with crop protection inputs, is its strong standing power and disease resistance – reflected by its high untreated yield (92%), Mr Granger says.
Unlike some other feed varieties, it also offers Orange Wheat Blossom Midge (OWBM) resistance, in addition to a six-rating for eyespot and Fusarium.
“It’s a high yielding, consistent and resilient variety, that delivers across seasons and rotations.”
- In-house farming division of Raby Estates (Shropshire and County Durham)
- The Durham farm typically grows 500-600 ha of winter wheat, mainly hard Group 4 feed
- Cropping also includes winter barley, oilseed rape and beans
- Started conversion to direct drilling in 2018
- Looking to develop a more regenerative system, reducing reliance on artificial inputs
- Started growing LG Typhoon in 2022/23
- High yielding hard Group 4 feed wheat
- Consistent performance across different seasons and regions
- Excellent disease resistance, especially Septoria (7.3) and yellow rust (9) – high untreated yield (92%)
- OWBM resistance
- Growth habit suits early drilling and wider row regenerative systems
- Excellent performance as a second wheat