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Get rooting and establishment right this season

Second wheat yields have been disappointing this season as a result of dry conditions in the autumn and spring, followed by a short period of intense heat stress during early summer.

Second wheat yields have been disappointing this season as a result of dry conditions in the autumn and spring, followed by a short period of intense heat stress during early summer.  The current wet conditions now favour the development of the take-all fungus this autumn, so care is needed.

As growing conditions are becoming increasingly uncertain it’s even more imperative to look at getting everything in place for a successful establishment this season, especially when growing second cereals.

Agrii’s David Leaper explains that “This year’s yields have demonstrated the importance of rooting and establishment when growing a good second wheat.” It’s easily overlooked, with soil borne diseases causing major problems in this area, but getting it right makes second wheats a valuable rotational option.

“The conditions we have experienced so far means that take-all is likely to be a serious risk to establishing roots. With trends showing that more growers are drilling into October or even later, it’s vital that growers don’t overlook take-all management, as later drilling doesn’t totally eliminate the risk.

“At the same time, spring drought or intense summer heat, even for just a few days, means root systems compromised by take-all can be especially damaging to crop performance.

“Therefore, the emphasis has to be on ensuring the best establishment and root development possible. This requires a comprehensive agronomic approach, which includes variety choice, seed treatments, seedbed management and early spring nitrogen application.

“One of the most important considerations when planting a second wheat is variety. This has been demonstrated through recent research, which shows that when using a robust variety, the yield response is much greater than that of a known poor second wheat choice.

“Getting your seedbed preparation spot on will pay dividends. Any inputs or cultural control methods that benefit rooting will complement the effects of Latitude (silthiofam), which is now the only chemical seed treatment active against the take-all fungus.

“Our latest trial results have shown that Latitude (silthiofam), when used with Group 1 varieties, offers a return on investment of £111/ha. This makes the profitability of second wheats far closer to that of first cereal crops, and shows that a seed treatment is a worthy inclusion this season.”

Certis’ Technical Manager, Adrian Sisson, explains that by creating a zone of protection around the establishing roots, a specialist seed treatment reduces the effects of take-all and allows the roots to develop to their full potential during the early risk stage.

“Whether second wheats are drilled early or late, Latitude can be considered an insurance policy, which delivers a yield benefit. This is only enhanced by attention to detail to an integrated agronomic approach,” Mr. Sisson adds.

“Of particular relevance this year, growers should not forget that wheat following spring barley also needs to be treated as a second cereal.”