New trials data shows that using Latitude seed treatment in second wheat can offset the yield impact of reducing expensive nitrogen inputs and potentially save growers £184/ha.
In 2018, the European Commission warned Germany about its excessive nitrate pollution from agricultural sources in its waters, leading to a strengthening of rules around fertiliser use.
In response, much research work has been undertaken to help growers reduce nitrogen inputs to protect the environment, with as little impact on yield as possible.
One such trials series was carried out by Certis Europe, which set up split field experiments over four seasons between 2018 and 2021 in nitrogen-hungry crops of second wheat.
The trials compared a standard nitrogen input approach with no Latitude seed treatment, against a Latitude-treated crop where 40kg/ha less N than standard was applied.
Certis UK’s seed treatment portfolio manager Tim Eaton said that although there was some variation between seasons, the average yield lift from using Latitude over untreated – despite less N being applied fertiliser – was 0.38t/ha over the four years.
Reducing take-all infection
“The reason you are seeing that yield benefit is because Latitude is reducing take-all infection of roots, so they can function much better and optimal nitrogen uptake is maintained.
“In a normal season, this wouldn’t be discussion point, but with nitrogen prices where they are, growers will be thinking about reducing N inputs and Latitude can help with that in second and third cereals,” he added.
Mr Eaton said using the Certis Cost Benefit Calculator on the company’s website, the potential rewards for using Latitude at current wheat prices, combined with fertiliser cost saving on 40kg/ha, strengthens the case for its use.
Feed wheat is currently trading at £320/t* for November, so a yield lift of 0.38t/ha from using Latitude (costing £31/ha) would return about £91/ha.
Ammonium nitrate (34.5% N) currently costs £700-£800/t* (£2-£2.30/kg N), so applying 40kg/ha less would save £80-£92/ha.
“That leaves the grower with a potential net benefit of more than £180/ha. Although many second or third wheat growers will already be using Latitude, it will certainly help reassure them of its cost effectiveness when preparing nutrition plans this winter,” Mr Eaton said.