“We are not seeing anything like the levels of yellow rust that we had last year, however in some of the more susceptible varieties there are signs that it is just starting to creep in.”
Whilst some of the more resistant varieties in the ground this year offer a reduced risk and a degree of flexibility in timing of the spray, it is still important to keep a close eye on all crops and protect accordingly, as we know that the Warrior race can build rapidly, is his advice.
Norfolk farmer Thomas Love, has put almost half of the wheat at Walcott Farms near Norwich down to Evolution this season. Mr Love believes Evolution’s strong yellow rust resistance (rated 9 on the HGCA Recommended List) and high yields (106% of control) make it stand out from other varieties and can even give scope for cost savings.
Some 80ha (200 acres) is in the ground as a first wheat after potatoes or peas this year, alongside fellow Group 4s Leeds and Conqueror.
“Crops look well so far,” he says. “We didn’t start drilling until 24 September so they are not as far forward as some other wheats, but that’s not a bad thing given the relatively mild winter. We’ve seen a bit of septoria but not a vast amount, and Evolution has stayed free from yellow rust so far.”
Agronomy is set to be broadly similar to last season; high yellow rust pressure last spring meant a pre-T0 spray of 0.6litres/ha Capalo (epoxiconazole, fenpropimorph + metrafenone) was applied to the Conqueror, while it was not needed on Evolution.
“This spring has been colder and drier, resulting in lower disease pressure, so everything will get broadly the same approach. But we will assess the situation later to see what are options are when we get to the T3 spray.”
Mr Love believes it is false economy to skimp on early spray inputs just to save money, as this can easily let disease get established which is then harder to control. With lower grain prices across the board this season, maximising yield and getting the most from inputs is key, he says.
Last year’s Evolution averaged around 12t/ha (5t/acre), although yields have been up to more than 14t/ha (5.66t/acre) on some of the best medium loam land in the past.
“I think Evolution is the beginning of a significant change for new wheat varieties coming through and have got big hopes for it if it retains its disease ratings and stays as clean as it is.”
Land is typically ploughed before drilling at a rate of 135-170kg/ha depending on date and conditions. Around 195kg N/ha is applied in three splits of liquid nitrogen at the beginning of March, mid-April and early-May. A robust fungicide programme is typically used (see below for last season’s).
Walcott Farms – Evolution fungicide strategy
- T0 (GS 30): 0.6litres/ha Capalo + 1 litre/ha Piper (chlorothalonil)
- T1 (GS 32): 1litre/ha Vertisan (penthiopyrad) + 0.75litres/ha Rubric (epoxiconazole) + 1litre/ha chlorothalonil
- T2 (GS 39): 1.8litres/ha Ceriax (epoxiconazole, fluxapyroxad + pyraclostrobin)
- T3 (GS 60): 0.8litres/ha Prosaro (prothioconazole + tebuconazole)
- T4: 0.75litres/ha Deacon (tebuconazole)