Since then he has moved onto the group 4 wheat Evolution and yields have been consistently impressive. Last year his Evolution yielded 12.44t/ha, however yields from this harvest have broken the farm record with a massive 15.47t/ha.
“Since 2011, crops have performed well but we have not seen the high yields like those from the Invicta due to seasonal challenges such as reduced light and high disease pressure,” says Mr Hoyles.
“We have been really pleased with the results this season, we have grown just under 100ha of Evolution this year, and the average across this has been 14.57t/ha- and three of these fields averaged over 15t/ha.”
He believes that the gain in yields this year has probably come about as a result of more nitrogen, but mainly getting the right weather at the right time as well as very high levels of sunlight in April, May and June compared to last, based on the farm solar panel electricity production figures.
Mr Hoyles believes that ultimately the yields have been achieved as a result of a close attention to detail right from prior cultivations, controlled traffic to reduce overall compaction, optimizing tyre pressures, and overall good crop agronomy and management and as he points out –“we are fortunate with our soil type!”
All of the harvested four fields growing Evolution were drilled between 19th September and 4th October, following mustard, sugar beet or potatoes. Three of the fields were on our poorer soils and these were drilled at 170kg/ha, the one field of better soil had a lower rate at 125kg/ha.
“Our strategy was to really push the fields to their maximum 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 poorer fields 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 a range of opinions on how many nitrogen splits are best, and whether to go on early or save some for a late application.
“You don’t want to let Evolution go hungry in early spring. Little and often does seem to work, if you can manage the fieldwork. Evolution is a taller strawed variety, and as long as the PGR inputs are correct, then on good sites you can raise the rate and push it for yield, says Ron Granger, arable technical manager.
“It’s late-maturing, but I’m not a big believer in saving N until late in the season. It might be too dry and may only come available when the crop’s actually ready to senesces –with the possible results of a lower specific weight.”
“The variety’s bred to maintain its green canopy, so as long as N isn’t limiting throughout the spring, it’ll build this canopy, that’ll then be used to build yield.”
Trace element levels should also be monitored to ensure none are limiting, topping up with foliar applications as required, he advises.
The fungicide strategy at Monmouth Farm generally takes two forms, depending on previous cropping and when wheat was sown. September-sown wheat after vining peas or mustard, for example, produces thicker, forward crops in the spring than later drilling after potatoes or sugar beet, so more robust rates tend to be used at the main timings, Mr Hoyles says.
“Evolution has high disease resistance scores, so there is some scope to question the need for a robust programme. However, conditions can change quickly and because our yields tend to be fairly high, and often getting sea mists, we are slightly more cautious. Spending a few extra pounds on fungicides is worth the investment if you’re 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 weather meant 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 the Evolution.
“T2 saw 1.25l/ha Adexar (fluxopyroxad + epoxiconazole) +1.25l Bravo go on, and T3 was 0.3l/ha Prosaro and 0.4l/ha Folicur.”
With Evolution being quite a tall variety (height without PGR is 88cm on the HGCA Recommended List) Mr Hoyles used a robust plant growth regulator spray to minimise any lodging risk.