12th September 2022

Creating healthy soils pay dividends

Grown on heavy clay soil after vining peas, his seed crop of LG Skyscraper has yielded 13.4t/ha, with a specific weight of 80kg/hl, and and a germination between 97- 98 %

David Cairns, Head of Agrochemical Division for Simpsons Malt and a McCreath Simpson & Prentice who is also a practising agronomist, works closely with Mr Smith.

“The crop was planted on September 20, just before the weather broke and established very well.”

“The previous crop of peas had been harvested at the end of August and the trash was incorporated, and then a stale seed bed created to flush weeds.”

“We do not have a black-grass problem in the area, but brome needs managing.”

“A lot of work has been done on improving soil structure and organic matter on the farm, and a really good stale seedbed was created using min-till.”

The strategy at Beal Farm is to generally follow a min-till strategy with rotational ploughing, approximately one year in six.

“The farm follows a wheat-based rotation with vining peas, which are planted approximately one year in six to one in seven but also includes winter oats, spring barley and increasing use of cover crops. The plan is now to try and grow more second wheats.”

Mr Cairns advocates a robust, prophylactic approach to crop protection, especially with fungicides.

“As we are in a coastal area, there is a threat from early yellow rust, which we addressed at T0 with cyprocanazole and Septoria tritici protectant chlorothalonil (CTL). We did not see any infection on the LG Skyscraper at all.

“T1 disease levels remained low however given yield potential and wanting to increase Septoria protection, we used an SDHI/Epoxiconazole based treatment, albeit at a reduced rate and again CTL whilst we still had it. This was timed well to protect leaf 3.

“When it came to T2,  because of dry weather crops seemed to shut down for a while and slow down growth, so gap was bit longer.

“Given the yield potential, we tried some of the new Revysol fungicide on the final leaf but given rust was still lingering in the area, we also included a Strobilurin.

“T3 was really just a treatment to cover Fusarium as weather had started to break a bit and we considered that the robust flag leaf fungicide will have covered foliar disease ,so it was a low dose of Prothioconazole and Tebuconazole.

The PGR (chlormequat) was also applied at T0, he adds.

“We were pushing for yield, so we applied an early N dressing. Although LG Skyscraper is a tall variety, it is very responsive to PGR.

“This was particularly clear on our own Simpsons Malt trials where it was side by side with an untreated crop.”

In the spring, the crop got going ahead of the other wheats on the farm, so David applied a high dose of N and S to keep the crop tillering and then further N/S to meet yield potential.

Plans are to increase the area grown with LG Skyscraper next year, as well as planting it as a second wheat in the same field as this year.

Mr Smith says: “Growing a profitable seed crop of LG Skyscraper has been really important to us, and the work fits in with our diversification projects which include a restaurant and camping site on the farm.”

Mr Cairns says: “As a company, it is our biggest selling variety because the farmers are happy with it as a first and second wheat.”


Farm Facts

Farm area: approximately 400Ha

Soil: Heavy clay

Environment: Coastal

Rotation: 1:6 or 1:7 for vining peas


Herbicide strategy:

Pre emergence based on Pendimethalin, DFF and Flufenacet


Fungicide strategy:

T0 Cyprocanazole + chlorothalonil

T1 SDHI/Epoxiconazole

T2: Revysol + strobilurin

T3: Prothioconazole + tebuconazole

Diversification projects known as The Barn at Beale

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