Selecting wheat varieties for autumn 2015

Each year, the question arises for the farmer, which variety of wheat wheat he should select for autumn sowing. Important criteria influencing the decision for a variety are the planned utilisation and crop rotation structure and the scheduled time of sowing.

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Fast growing variets should preferably be used for later sowing dates, varieties with restrained development of the young plant are ideal for early sowing. The amount of seeds for early sowing must be reduced accordingly. If a good wheat site is to generate a wheat stock of approximately 600 to 650 ears per square metre m², a sowing density of not more than 200 to 220 grains per square meter is to be selected for early sowing when the time of sowing ensures reliable tillering of 1:3 to 4. If sowing is planned after critical previous crops such as maize, it is essential to use varieties which exhibit a low susceptibility for ear fusarium.

Sowing takes place earlier

Over the past years, sowing has tended to take place earlier in autumn, induced by favourable weather conditions, but also due to operational circumstances. In case of winter weather setting in late or in the absence of a "real" winter, stocks are overgrowing as could for example be witnessed during the past spring. Stock management or the fertilising strategy for such stocks prove very difficult and the fungus contamination in spring is very high. Stocks that have developed far in autumn are exposed to a greater winter kill risk, something which is still fresh in our memories from the winter 2011/12.

Tips for early sowing

Varieties for early sowing from the middle of September, such as Julius, Tobak, Rumor, Elixer and Patras should be specifically provided with the root protection dressing Latitude to prevent take-all. Wheat hybrids such as Hyberry are also well suited for early sowing, particularly on marginal sites. Here, the high capacity of the hybrid varieties is particularly validated and the costs for seeds keep within reasonable limits with three units per hectare (150 grains per square metre).

A great number of wheat varieites is tolerant as far as sowing time is concerned and does not react in an extreme manner to early or late sowing dates, provided the amount of seeds is adapted. Varieties fitting this category are among others Desamo, Kredo, Linus, Pionier, Kerubino, Matrix, Joker, Johnny and JB Asano.

Tips for late sowing

For late sowing, we for instance recommend RGT Reform, Anapolis, Akteur, Henrik, Tabasco, Boregar or Meister. These varieties are fast growing during their juvenile stage, are keenly tillering and do well under tough sowing conditions. The tillering stage of these varieties is somewhat longer, which makes it possible to still achieve adequate stock densities even under difficult conditions.

For farmers sowing on light soils that are suitable for wheat it is important to grow varieties that ripen as early as possible, as for these varieties the grain filling stage takes place approx. three weeks earlier and yield generation thus does not fall into a period when water is scarce. The same applies to the dry region in the eastern Börde regions. Suitable varieties for these sites are compensation types with emphasis on the single ear, with higher single ear capacities (lower stock density) and a genetic disposition towards a high thousand grain weight such as JB Asano, Joker, Arezzo (awned), Johnny and Rumor.

Risk of infection in critical crop rotation structures

In critical crop rotation structures, following silage or corn maize, the high risk of a fusarium infection must be kept in mind. At this position, only varieties with low susceptibility should be used. Although this does not offer a guaranteed comprehensive protection against infestation by fusarium fungi, in conjunction with a reliable fungicide measure it will keep the risk within reasonable limits. The variety Anapolis deserves particular mention for this crop rotation structure. For the production of quality wheat, the varieties Toras, RGT Reform and Patras are very well suited. Matrix, as a variety with wide site and sowing time suitability, is also a good option subsequent to maize.

Newly approved varieties

Currently, no outstanding yields can be identified among the range of newly approved varieties. Yields range just above the level of the variety Tobak with partly improved fusaria resistance. In the B-quality segment, the short, resistant variety Alexander is worth mentioning, with very good brown rust resistance, very high yield, but with an average to high susceptibility for fusaria. In the C-quality segment, there is the variety Manitou, with good leaf health, resistance, cold hardiness and high yield.

The selection of varieties for coming autumn will thus preferably be made from the range of well-proven varieties. Following the experience with severe winter kill damage in 2011/12 and almost continuous vegetation 2014/15, extremely early sowing dates should be avoided. However, if early sowing is planned for operational reasons, attention must be paid to adequate dressing equipment and an adaptation of the sowing density.

For further information, please contact Eberhard Möller, Tel. 0171 . 9902051,, Hans Hußmann, Tel. 0171 . 5586591, and Thomas Schulze Pröbsting, Tel. 0172 . 6799053,