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Newmarket: OSR growers seek ways to cope with ban on neonicotinoids

06:00 28 June 2014

CAT Technical Director Richard Fenwick reports on the winter wheat trials

CAT Technical Director Richard Fenwick reports on the winter wheat trials

Archant

Farmers looking at ways of coping with a ban on seeds treated with neonicotinoids, a type of insecticide, were given advice on how to grow oilseed rape (OSR) next season at an agricultural event near Newmarket.

Dr Richard Jennaway, right, Technical Director of Saaten Union, at company's Rosalie field station where CAT trials take place, discussing new OSR varieties.Dr Richard Jennaway, right, Technical Director of Saaten Union, at company's Rosalie field station where CAT trials take place, discussing new OSR varieties.

Cambridge Arable Technologies (CAT) Open Day, which took place earlier this month, looked at strategies for coping with the removal of seed treatments for OSR as well as the most promising new wheat varieties and how to grow them in this area.

CAT, launched in 2005 to provide membership-based trials for East Anglian farmers, tests out crops at a site at Cowlinge, south of Newmarket.

Richard Jennaway, manager of the Rosalie field station at Cowlinge, said there were some interesting new OSR varieties but the main concern for growers is the ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments such as Cruiser.

“All of the OSR in the trials was treated with Cruiser and farmers are going to have to think very hard about crop establishment if they cannot use these products this autumn,” he said.

Dr Richard Jennaway, Technical Director of Saaten Union, at company's Rosalie field station where CAT trials take place, discussing new OSR varieties.Dr Richard Jennaway, Technical Director of Saaten Union, at company's Rosalie field station where CAT trials take place, discussing new OSR varieties.

“Oilseed rape is very vulnerable up to three to four weeks and the cabbage stem flea beetle is most active in September when the soil is warm. Therefore don’t drill too early and pay close attention to seedbed preparation. This does not mean going back to the plough but consider drilling depth carefully and aim to drill when rain is imminent.

“Growers will also need to spray three or four times during the autumn. Among the challenges are cabbage root fly, which we control at present but which could build up and become a greater problem. We will all need to be vigilant.”

Farmers at the annual event agreed fungicide treatment of wheat crops has paid off this season, as they inspected untreated trial plots of popular and upcoming varieties suffering from a range of common diseases.

In contrast, plots of the same varieties treated with a standard ‘on-farm’ spray regime were effectively ‘clean’, even when challenged with a virulent new race of brown rust that has taken hold in the untreated plots through mid June.

CAT technical director Richard Fenwick said: “KWS Trinity is looking attractive at this stage in the CAT trials but lacks the orange blossom midge resistance of Skyfall. This may not be a problem for many growers and it is possible to control this insect with sprays, but it is obviously best not to have to do so.”

In addition to its extensive variety trials programme, CAT is undertaking work designed to test the full potential of modern wheat. With a widespread suspicion among farmers that recommended nitrogen levels are not sufficient to maximize yields in the best modern varieties, including hybrids, CAT has developed a trials regime in which selected varieties receive between 0 and 400 kg N/ha, applied at three growth stages. CAT members will have access to the results after harvest.

Other crop nutrition work includes an examination of ‘little and often’ sulphur treatments and trials with recently introduced, commercial ‘nitrogen enhancing’ products. These products claim to boost soil fertility or to help the plant make better use of available nitrogen, such as by using organic ‘nitrogen fixing’ microbes.

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust vehicle. Photograph Simon Parker

An elderly woman was taken to hospital on Sunday after she collided with a car in Beccles which then did not stop.

Abellio Greater Anglia

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Voters at Whiting Street EU polling station, Bury St Edmunds.

Around 7% of people who voted for Brexit in Suffolk and north-east Essex now regret their decision, a poll by this newspaper has found.

Programme Name: Robot Wars - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: The House Robots Dead Metal, Sir Killalot, Matilda, Shunt - (C) Mentorn Media Scotland - Photographer: Alan Peebles

“For too long, the schedules have cried out for a show in which dedicated amateurs, toiling day and night, handcraft sophisticated automatons built on the delicate interplay of hand-wired servo motors with custom-built circuit boards and fingertip motion control, just to see them get smashed to pieces by a dustbin carrying a massive hammer.

Emma Young, assistant nurse at St Helena Hospice in Colchester.

The hospice star who moved staff and patients to tears with a beautiful Adele rendition which has gone viral has said she would relish the chance to release a Christmas song for the charity.

Flower left at Bramford Recreation Ground on Saturday to mark the third anniversary of toddler Ryan Ward's death.

Travellers have arrived at a playing field in Ipswich - almost three years to the day since a toddler was killed in a collision with a van at the same site.

A company in Gt. Blakenham has been making insoles for years but everything has suddenly taken off since Usain Bolt started using their products. Pictured is director Bente Smith-Rewse.

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