Mayflower makes the grade at Northants farm

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Bucking the recent negative trends of sliding Hagbergs and low specific weights for milling wheats, Northants based farmer Emma Bletsoe was delighted with her first-time crop of group 2 Mayflower.

Emma, who farms 490 ha of combinable crops on heavy clay soils, alongside son George and farm manager Stuart Prior at Denford Ash Farm, near Kettering, achieved average yields of 10.62t/ha on a 29.38ha crop of Mayflower with moisture levels of 13-15% She now plans to drill at least 60ha of the Elsoms variety later this autumn on the back of its positive performance.

Emma says: “After a stop-start harvest we were delighted with Mayflower’s overall results with one field, in particular, yielding an excellent 11.18t/ha. Stuart noted that it combined extremely well, producing a nice bold grain with early samples confirming a high Hagberg of 335-368 and an overall specific weight of 78kg/hl. It was George’s decision to go with Mayflower last year, based largely on a solid untreated yield figure of 93% on the Recommended List, together with an excellent overall disease resistance package that includes an 8.9 for Septoria tritici and gene resistance to both Soil Borne Wheat Mosaic Virus and PCH1 for Eyespot.

A first wheat following winter beans it was between October 5th and October 12th as part of an integrated pest and blackgrass management strategy, it established well showing good early vigour.

Indigro agronomist Damian MacAuley felt that, agronomically, the variety was easy to manage. Despite high disease pressure earlier in the spring, by late May, it stood well and was clean. It also received a slightly restricted nitrogen programme as a legacy of last year’s high fertiliser prices.

Elsoms Head of Technical, George Goodwin, is delighted Mayflower’s performance in a year which has proved agronomically very challenging for milling wheats.” There’s little doubt that this year’s challenges have had an impact on harvest. Many farmers have frustratingly navigated a stop-start harvest which has negatively affected both yield and quality. We’ve had all the right weather this year, just in the wrong order! The cool wet spring meant cereal crops were less resilient to take on the extended dry, hot period we experienced across May/June.

“It feels like insult to injury to have what is predicted as the wettest March and the wettest July on record in the same year – yet, at the same time, ideal for showcasing varieties like Mayflower’s resilience. Mayflower is a strong tillering variety with vigorous spring growth that has enabled it to emerge through a tricky season better than many other group 2 varieties.

“With its very high untreated yield there’s a good opportunity for growers to reduce fungicide inputs for greater cost efficiency, and, on marketing, beyond its bread making qualities, Mayflower is also suitable for export” he confirms.

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