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Shropshire Innovation Centre Update – October 2020

Innovation Centres

A much better start to the cropping year so far, drilling has commenced when planned and the seed has gone into nice seedbeds with a nice drop of rain to get them going.

Winter wheat

One of the main focuses for the Shropshire innovation centre this year will be around wet weather diseases in cereals. We have lots of work planned to look at cultural and chemical control options for Zymoseptoria tritici. This includes drill date, variety and seed rate work. We also have some more novel trials looking at intercropping winter wheat with legumes, how infected crop debris can impact disease levels in subsequent cereal crops and the impact of various variety blends on disease.

The majority of the plots were drilled on the 21st September into a perfect seedbed and the surrounding commercial crop was drilled on the 26th September - ready for replicated disease control trials in the spring. Looking at the field on the 1st October the seeds had germinated well and were just about breaking the soil surface.

Winter wheat plots Shropshire Innovation Centre

Winter barley

We also have work looking at disease control in winter barley, so in the field next door to the winter wheat, we have plot drilled several trials and the surrounding commercial crop on the 21st September. We will have work looking at net blotch, Rhynchosporium and Ramularia depending on presence of disease later in the year. Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) will also be a focus of this site with a number of different varieties; including BYDV tolerant varieties, drill date and virus inoculation. There are a number of plots looking at seedcare options in winter barley and how these impact establishment, rooting and final yield. There is also a later drill timing planned to see the benefits of seed treatments when delayed drilled into often compromised conditions.

The winter barley is following spring barley and one issue we have seen, especially from drilling early is the number of spring barley volunteers that have emerged from shed seed. This could cause issues in winter barley crops which could impact disease levels and PGR programmes later in the year. We have tried to spray off this flush of volunteers before the drilled barley has emerged.

We will be monitoring aphid numbers weekly with yellow water traps to assess aphid risk throughout the autumn.

Winter oilseed rape

Although we don’t have any specific trial looking at oilseed rape (OSR) this year, we have a number of OSR varieties drilled up at the site, these were drilled 3 weeks after the commercial crop in the field next door and this later drill date has had a big impact on establishment of the crop. We are monitoring cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) and to date we have caught very few and pressure has been very low allowing early drilled crops to grow away. Looking at the later drilled varieties on the 1st October I did notice increasing levels of shot holing on the cotyledons so looks like the populations are increasing

As yet disease levels are low with only a few lesions of phoma leaf spot being found on older OSR leaves.

OSR drilled at Shropshire IC

Arable event

Again we have the Arable Event on the same site as the Shropshire innovation centre and we have drilled up an extensive variety screen of winter wheat, winter barley and also oats, tritcale and hybrid rye. This was drilled on the 1st October and these plots will be demonstrated  on the main open day (depending on restrictions!) as well as getting updates throughout the year from the varieties.

Shropshire ryegrass and arable drilling

Stafford ryegrass site

Around 15 minutes away we have a small trial site focussing on controlling ryegrass and brome grass in cereals. This site was drilled on the 15th September, with trials looking at suppression of the grass weeds with varying seed rates and the best varieties to grow to smother out the weeds. We are trialling lots of different pre-emergence mixtures to see which is the best options for early ryegrass control.

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