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Stackyard News Sep 2012

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Amazone Field Trials Enter Fourth Year

In a difficult combining time, coordinating a trials programme is even more stressful than usual but NIAB’s Peter Burgis has seen it all before.

The wheat crop is gathered into NIAB's plot combine at Amazone's cultivation trials site

Amazone's cultivation trials site

‘It is just a case of being flexible and not getting into a panic’ says Peter as he works his way through their Trials Programme 2011/12 against all odds, and on Thursday 6th September, the plot combine duly turned up to harvest Amazone’s UK trials site at Tickhill, Doncaster.

With 12 plots to combine, the site is in its third year of establishment and looks at both intensity of drilling as well as intensity of cultivation from the plough right through to shallow min-till soil tillage. The trials are only possible with the exceptional cooperation of host farmer Peter Dook of Messrs P & C Dook and NAIB who provide the technical support of plant counting, combining and this year, for the first time, penetrometer readings to look at soil looseness.

With moistures below 15%, and yields doing very nicely in a year effected by poor sunshine hours and unprecedented levels of disease, the plots gave up their secrets. In the field was a crop of Oakley drilled as a first wheat following beans and, with a seed rate of 147 kg/ha, the target population of 294 seeds/ sq. m. was the aim.

The results are now currently being analysed but early indications would suggest that the shallow min-till plots, worked just to 8 cm, have yielded the best and when these results are compared their much lower cost of establishment then there is a double advantage gained. Simon Brown, Amazone’s trials coordinator in Britain goes on to explain ‘the idea of having to work soils deep in order to maximise yield has proven to be untrue. This is shown again and again when we look at the results that we have obtained by carrying out this type of trial around the world. This is the second time in three years that we have had wheat on this trials site and on both occasions the shallower min-till plots have done the best, both in yield and costs. And this applies not just to the cultivation but also the intensity of drilling with the Cayena tine seeder always performing well’.

This season, for 2012/13, the site will go into winter barley in early October and a fifth cultivation technique of three directly drilled plots will be added on to the end of the site as we look to drill with less and less disturbance to increase our experience of keeping on top of grass weed problems elsewhere in the country.

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