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Weekly Wisdom 21 September 2016


Late Drilling

We recently read a report from KWS which we felt was particularly interesting.
KWS suggest that over the past decade there has been a trend towards later drilling of autumn sown wheats. The main reason for this has been to aid grassweed control through spraying off an early flush of weeds, with blackgrass being a particular concern.

According to the report, delayed sowing of winter wheat by three weeks from mid/late September to early/mid October reduced blackgrass infestations by 33% on average. In addition, heads and seeds per plant, were reduced by an average of 49%.

Another finding was the better blackgrass control achieved by pre-emergence when applied in later sown crops. Most benefits came from delaying sowing by around three weeks to early-mid October, with relatively smaller additional benefits from delaying sowing until late October/early November.

Many growers will choose to use glyphosate and the report suggests that this is indiscriminate, quick to act and inexpensive to apply. However, this does not mean it should be applied without care and consideration.

Thirty one weed species have been reported to have developed resistance to glyphosate worldwide. As a result, the Weed Resistance Action Group (WRAG) has produced guidelines to help agronomists and growers maintain efficacy.


This week we draw our attention to seed, focusing on the fact that there is still conventional seed available, with 20 winter wheat varieties still accessible to growers.

For the feed market we would suggest looking at Costello. Costello is a new variety to the Recommended List and has exceptional grain quality. Costello has proven to be a popular variety this year, offering 2% yield increase over JB Diego, the highest specific weight and protein potential of any feed variety on the Recommended List.

For growers looking for a group 1, Crusoe is still a popular choice. Crusoe has outstanding disease resistance against rust and septoria and produces high proteins along with the best Specific weight of any group 1.

KWS Lili is a new group 2 variety that offers a robust agronomic package. Lili has exceptional resistance to most diseases including septoria, mildew and yellow rust.


Moving onto group 3’s, Zulu is a popular soft wheat which is suitable for export and distilling.

Zulu has moderate resistance to lodging and OBM and responds well to growth regulators.

Availability of winter barley seed is now limited however we do still have KWS Glacier, KWS Infinity and Talisman available.

This season we have 2 winter oat varieties, Mascani and RGT Lineout. Mascani has the biggest share of the winter oat market due to its quality which is highly regarded by millers. When sown late, this variety doesn’t perform so well for millers. Lineout is an early maturing variety with yields around 5% more than Mascani. Limited data suggests that its lodging resistance is above average but is susceptible to mildew.

Should you be looking for winter beans, we have both Tundra and Wizard available. Tundra is a new variety that has yields 9% higher than Wizard according to the latest PGRO list. Tundra is an early ripening variety with both straw length and standing power similar to Wizard. Boasting a pale hilum colour, Tundra is highly suitable for export.

And finally, Wizard, as a winter bean, can help spread the workload and is more suited to heavy soils where establishment of spring beans can be a problem. Wizard has relatively short straw compared to other bean varieties and we advise growers to ensure seed beds are level to avoid problems at harvest. Wizard takes approximately 98% of the winter bean market as the variety is suited to both growers and end users for domestic and export use.


See our wheat varieties



The quality of UK milling wheat influences the amount of wheat imported. With good quality results this harvest it could be likely that the UK displaces some of its imports, which have remained high during past seasons.

The UK’s imported milling wheat is largely sourced from three countries, Canada, France and Germany. Total imports from these countries averaged around 1.0Mt in the past 10 years. Last season, 2015/16, of the 1.5Mt of total wheat imported these three countries accounted for over half of the tonnage, with 23% from Canada.

The wheat imported from Canada typically has very high protein qualities, which the UK is unable to produce in sufficient quantities. This could mean that the UK would be unable to displace a lot of these imports due to the good quality produced at home.

When focusing on imports from France and Germany, we could see fewer imports, in particular from France, due to the poor harvest this season, along with poor quality results. These issues mean that there could well be an opportunity to displace some imports from these countries this season, subject to price.