Early spring management of Evolution pays dividends

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Many will be growing the high yielding Group 4 feed wheat Evolution for the first time this year as a result of its excellent yields combined with robust disease resistance and agronomics as demonstrated in 2014.

Breeders Limagrain UK are keen to remind growers that Evolution gets away more quickly in the spring than varieties such as KWS Kielder and KWS Santiago, so it is important to be vigilant with crop walking and responsive to PGR requirements.

“The aim is to shorten the first internode, then keep the second node close to the first, increasing straw stiffness, and as long as you get the PGR on correctly you can then apply nitrogen rates applicable for high yield potential for your own farm situation.”

“We would recommend in most situations that a split PGR treatment should be used, with two-thirds rate of a CCC based product applied at the glume primordia stage or first node moving of the base, followed by a one-third rate application at first node detectable, usually at GS 31.”

“In situations of high yield potential CCC based products can be mixed with additional PGR products with different chemical activity to strengthen stems and synchronise tiller development, for example Canopy + CCC in a tank mix is a strong option.”

Limagrain has done collaborate work with BASF looking at seed rates, PGR and fungicide interactions with Evolution. The data shows very positive results from Canopy (prohexadione-calcium and mepiquat chloride) which at an early timing acts to strengthen and balance out tillers, there is also a positive effect on root spread and depth, thereby improving nutrient uptake and plant anchorage as the crops gets going in the spring says Louis Wells, agronomy manager with BASF.

From this particular trial it’s clear that whilst untreated Evolution will still deliver on yield at over 9t/ha, it is a tall plant and lodging percentage is about 60- 70%. However, a medium PGR and fungicide programme boosts yields to over 12t/ha – reducing height by 10.4cm from untreated and lodging percentage from over 11% to below 8%, says Mr Wells. “Increasing the PGR and maintaining the moderate fungicide inputs, shows yields still up at 12%, but with a further height reduction of 3.47cm bringing plant height down to 81.73cm and reducing lodging risk to less than 10%.”

“In addition, one of the key benefits of Canopy is its ability to work in cooler temperatures and it is not reliant on sunlight. Active from the spray tank, and at temperatures as low as 5°C, Canopy works well in catchy spring conditions to give a solid, consistent response; it’s worth considering this when early applications are being made on earlier drilled crops”.

Feeding the crop
With regards to nitrogen applications for Evolution, there are a range of opinions on how many nitrogen splits are best, and whether to go on early or save some for a late application. “You don’t want to let Evolution go hungry in early spring. Little and often does seem to work, if you can manage the fieldwork, and this a variety with a high yield potential, so on good sites you can raise the rate and push it for yield says Mr Granger.

“It’s late-maturing, but I’m not a big believer in saving N until late in the season. It might be too dry and may only come available when the crop’s actually ready to senesces -with the possible results of a lower specific weight.”

“The variety’s bred to maintain its green canopy, so as long as N isn’t limiting throughout the spring, it’ll build this canopy, that’ll then be used to build yield.”

Trace element levels should also be monitored to ensure none are limiting, topping up with foliar applications as required, he advises

Evolution does get seedling yellow rust early in the season, he reports. “What we’ve found is that adult plant resistance then kicks in and keeps it clean, and independent trials have confirmed this.”

This brings flexibility to the fungicide programme. “You may not need a T0 spray, but if low levels of disease are present we would advise that a ‘clean up fungicide’ is applied, especially if this ties up with the early PGR application.

Importantly, don’t skimp on the SDHIs and triazoles at the main T1 and T2 timings – used in combination with multisite chemistry such as chlorothalonil, as these will help build yield. It’s worth applying a solid T3 spray, to ensure you maintain that green canopy right on through the summer.”

The variety doesn’t have Orange Wheat Blossom Midge resistance so growing crops will need to be monitored for the pest.

“We have done extensive trials on Evolution to evaluate the variety further and plan to release detailed husbandry guidelines later this spring. But as long as you take care with PGR in the early spring and work at building and maintaining the green canopy, Evolution should deliver for you,” he concludes.
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