Winter wheat under spotlight at CAT’s Rosalie Field Station open day

John Poulton addresses CAT members at the Rosalie field station near Newmarket.

John Poulton addresses CAT members at the Rosalie field station near Newmarket. - Credit: Archant

Enabling modern high performing winter wheat varieties to reach their genetic potential was one of the themes running through trials on display at this year’s Cambridge Arable Technologies (CAT) open day at the Rosalie Field Station near Newmarket.

Twelve different rates – from zero to 400kg of nitrogen per hectare applied at three growth stages - are being used on hybrid wheat (Hybery) and a conventional variety (JB Diego) to examined nitrogen response.

The input programme used by UK record holder Tim Lamyman is likewise being compared with a ‘normal’ fertiliser regime. In this case the high input schedule includes a total of 300 kgN/ha plus additional micronutrients and trace elements in a ‘little and often’ regime.

With 64 winter wheat varieties on show, members were offered a wide choice, with varieties Skyfall from Group 1 and KWS-Trinity among those receiving particular attention.

In Group 4, Revelation is known to offer high yield and quality, as does Reflection, although on the day the latter failed to live up to its image, at least in the untreated plots.

Other topical work at the field station includes a demonstration trial of cover crops consisting of straight varieties and mixtures at different seed rates.

Breeders Saaten Union and Elsoms have extensive experience of cover crop development and UK technical director Richard Jennaway stressed the importance of identifying objectives before deciding on which crops to grow. This may be for improved soil structure, increased organic matter or for biomass and the suitability of several crops have been identified for each application.