After winning a Limagrain competition for 3.5t of wheat seed, one grower has had the opportunity to try soft Group 4 wheat LG Sundance this season.
With the crop looking full of promise, Lincolnshire-based David Robinson is now focussed on keeping it healthy and upright to realise its full potential come harvest.
Mr Robinson farms 165ha of predominantly Grade 1 silts in partnership with his father and mother at Brothertoft, just west of Boston, and with milling quality difficult to achieve on such fertile soils, feed wheats make his variety line up.
There has been a recent shift away from more disease-susceptible types such as KWS Santiago, JB Diego and Reflection in favour of varieties with better resistances to key diseases such as Septoria and yellow rust.
Mr Robinson says he was already looking at LG Sundance with interest, as it has the highest Septoria resistance score of 7.4 on the AHDB Recommended List, combined with a yellow rust score of 9, and would fit well alongside his other choices, Graham and Evolution.
But a lucky visit to the Limagrain stand at Cereals 2017 saw him enter and win a prize draw for some LG Sundance seed, allowing him to try it out sooner than anticipated. The seed was drilled across two fields totalling 23ha last autumn in mid-October.
“It went in behind potatoes and combining peas and established well. It is looking really good this spring and if anything is a little too thick for our best land,” explains Mr Robinson.
So far, the crop has had a 240litres/ha application of Omex liquid fertiliser product Nitroflo 26+S, delivering about 80kg of nitrogen, and a second split later in the spring will be carefully tailored to crop requirement to avoid increasing lodging risk.
Split PGR programme
Mr Robinson is also planning a robust split plant growth regulator (PGR) programme to encourage rooting, strengthen stem cell walls and shorten stems, to ensure a standing crop at harvest.
Limagrain’s arable technical manager Ron Granger says this is a crucial part of LG Sundance’s crop protection programme, as the variety produces a heavy crop canopy born from large broad leaves and large ears.
“It isn’t just LG Sundance either. I would always advocate a split PGR programme on any variety to reduce lodging risk at harvest and the season of 2017 was a real eye opener regarding lodging pressure and variety interaction.”
“Earlier applied PGRs will encourage rooting and that will be particularly important this spring, as the mild, wet conditions will have resulted in shallow-rooted crops,” explains Mr Granger.
This advice is backed up by Limagrain trials, where LG Sundance was tested under different PGR programmes, including untreated, a single PGR and a split two-spray PGR programme on seed rates of 300 seeds/m2and 400 seed/m2.
Results are summarised in Graph 1 and show that the variety responds well to a split PGR programme targeted at GS30 and GS31, based on chlormequat and trinexypac-ethyl.
Mr Granger adds that this season where early applications may have been delayed due to the adverse weather, may require a late or third PGR application to achieve the required growth regulation on crops.
“Where you are on a fertile site and have high yield potential, another dose of an ethephon-based product at GS37 can help minimise lodging risk,” he says.
With Mr Robinson’s crop of LG Sundance around GS30, both the PGR and disease control programmes are set to kick off as conditions improve and fungicides will be chosen on relative risk.
The variety has strong resistance to Septoria and yellow rust, but is slightly weaker on the stem-based disease eyespot, so he will be including products with good activity on the disease, particularly at T1.
“We will be giving the crop all it needs in terms of nutrition and fungicides, based on its strengths and weaknesses,” adds Mr Robinson.
Mr Granger advises that any fungicide programme should include a good T3 ear spray, especially as LG Sundance is a later maturing variety. This is something that some feed wheat growers opt to leave out in low disease pressure situations.
“It is important to maintain a healthy green leaf area for as long as possible and prevent premature ripening and a reduction in specific weight,” he explains.
Limagrain will be running a similar competition at this year’s Cereals Event, please visit stand 504 to enter a prize draw to win 20ha of seed for the exciting high yielding wheat, LG Skyscraper.