Wheat growers try variety blends to cut costs in the West
Six winter wheat growers are trying out blends of varieties this season to see if they can reduce fungicide inputs in the more septoria-susceptible west of the country. A mixture of three or more varieties show the greatest potential to reduce disease and combat the risk of the wet weather disease septoria in the more rainy West, says the AHDB.
These statements were part of an article published recently.
Blends are nothing new, wheat or barley. Oil Seed rape is another matter altogether. To make a blend work you need to decide where you are going to sell it - first. It’s going to be feed, are you OK with that?
Then we can consider a number of other factors but let’s not overcomplicate things at this stage.
From the experience of growers over the last 20 years it is clear blends do work. Several growers have tried them locally, identified the advantages and stuck with them. What a blend cannot do is be the “highest yielding” crop on the farm but they do allow consistency of production in what currently are, may be considered, unpredictable times.
Creating a blend of your own requires you to know about each varieties characteristics.
Traits are often expressed early on and visible in comparison trials
Checking individual responses to inputs
Varieties compared side by side
Abilities to withstand disease as well as stress and a plants ability to retain green leaf area
Things to watch out for. Yellow Rust
A variety not to include in your blend.