Reap cost benefit of take-all treatment as second wheat area tipped to rise

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With new crop wheat trading at a healthy £160 to £170 per tonne second wheats are looking an attractive prospect for 2021/22 cropping plans.

An important question to address before ordering second wheat seed is whether to include take-all seed treatment Latitude (silthiofam) and an online tool can help by illustrating the likely cost benefit according to a grower’s specific situation.

Agrovista’s technical seed specialist Stuart Cree believes a precarious global feed stock situation, an increase in domestic wheat demand and the re-opening of bioethanol plants in the north of England will keep the wheat market bullish for the foreseeable future.

The area of second wheat will inevitably go up as a result, bringing additional challenges for the grower, such as higher grassweed pressure, increased nutrient requirement, and a wider range of disease threats, including soil-borne take-all.

Investment in Latitude (silthiofam) – the only available seed treatment with activity against the disease – is sometimes seen as an expense too far.

But Mr Cree thinks there is a compelling case this season, with growers looking to drill wheat earlier to avoid wet weather in the late autumn, increasing risk of take-all infection and potential yield losses.

“Increasing weather extremes, particularly droughts, means it’s also a good idea to protect roots, allowing plants to access moisture and scavenge for nutrients more effectively.

“Latitude reduces take-all infection of roots, safeguards against yield losses of 0.5-0.75t/ha, and with prices where they are, that equates to about a two- to three-fold return on investment,” explains Mr Cree.

Certis seed treatment expert Tim Eaton says the company’s Latitude cost benefit calculator aids decision-making. It simply requires users to enter their expected grain value, seed rate and treatment cost.

“Based on hundreds of trials over many years the tool gives a very reliable indication of cost benefit. It’s available now for growers considering 2021/22 cropping in advance of this year’s harvest,” he adds.

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About Author

Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is an avid follower of Stoke City.