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Wash out for wheat rooting

Agronomy Issues
waterlogged wheat roots

Wheat crops have faced challenging conditions for rooting this season, following wet weather after establishment in the autumn, compounded by widespread waterlogging and flooding this spring.

Heavy rain as Storm Christoph (below) wreaked havoc across the UK in January and left many already wet fields once again severely waterlogged.

Storm Christoph warnings

Growers are advised early season T0 applications of Moddus in the growth regulator programme could enhance rooting and improve plants’ ability to scavenge for nutrients and moisture through late spring and into summer, advocates Syngenta Technical Manager, Georgina Wood.

Field conditions in 2020, where wet overwinter conditions were followed by an exceptionally dry and hot spring, impacted on rooting of what winter cereals were in the ground. “It has been an increasing trend over recent years, for prolonged wet periods, followed by protracted hot, dry conditions.

Georgina Wood

“Utilising agronomic tools earlier in the season, including nutrition, biostimulants and PGR timing, is key to promote rooting and crop resilience to counter severe stress effects,” she advised. Improved rooting makes more efficient use of available nutrients and moisture.

Split-field trials in crop moisture stress conditions, in a dry spring with low water availability, produced a 1.7 t/ha yield benefit from the addition of an early T0 Moddus application, compared to a single application combined with chlomequat at the T1 timing.    

“Extra emphasis should be put on the initial T0 application on lighter soils and fields susceptible to moisture limitation,” she urged. Later drilled crops benefit especially for rooting, whilst large GAI crops gain from enhanced canopy and lodging management, particularly for varieties with known anchorage weakness, she advised.

InSpire screen shot

The Syngenta InSpire on-line spring PGR decision tool for winter wheat can help growers and agronomists identify varieties that have low anchorage strength and would benefit most from the focus on Moddus at T0. However, varieties such as SY Insitor, added to the tool this year, has naturally stronger anchorage  that should be a priority for a timely  T1 application, at GS31-32.

 “The full programmed approach delivered the best height reduction for taller varieties, initiating a greater response than seen with naturally shorter varieties,” reported Miss Wood.

“That can really help to manage lodging, as well as late season leaning and brackling, to protect yields and ensure an easier harvest.”    

Click here to try out the Inspire tool for your crops