July 31, 2008

Sherborne Tops Winter Wheat Feed Choice Chart

W ith the Westcountry's climate being mild and moist, diseases on both grassland and arable crops are always going to be a problem, but the winter wheat variety Sherborne has proved to be a real winner in 2007 and 2008.

Farmers throughout the region have reported exceptionally clean and healthy-looking crops - and although it is only two years since the variety was first introduced onto the market, Sherborne has already started to gain a reputation as the variety to grow where there is any danger at all of foliar diseases.

With forage maize becoming increasingly popular with both dairy and beef farmers throughout the region, the risk of fusarium ear blight is never far away and has proved to be the major source of mycotoxins in grain. Research has confirmed that where maize is in the rotation, the possibility of fusarium ear blight is greatly enhanced and through EU legislation, farmers are now under greater pressure than ever to keep their grain free from mycotoxins - or run the risk of rejection by both millers and merchants.

Sherborne is a Group 4 Feed Wheat and also scores highly against other familiar diseases such as yellow and brown rust and septoria - in fact, with the whole disease resistancy profile being so good, seed will be available for the organic market for this year's sowings.

Grain yields are high, and at 108 per cent of control, proved to be the highest-yielding variety in the 2005 NIAB Western Region Trials on untreated plots.

Andrew Bolton, arable manager for Cornwall Farmers Ltd, became involved with Sherborne last year when he was able to see at first hand how the variety performed in such a difficult year and under such trying conditions.

"Although we recommended Sherborne primarily for its resistance to such diseases as septoria and fusarium, we have been impressed with both its ear size and grain fill thus far and, at the moment, we are optimistic and confident over yields," he said. "We also have a range of drilling dates, with wheat being planted during October and early November following maize, and even into December and January following late-break crops such as cauliflower - all of which have received good reports so far from our farmer customers.

"It has been an extremely stressful year for all arable crops and most certainly a difficult year with cereal diseases', but with still a few more weeks to go before harvest, Sherborne is looking exceptionally healthy."

(c) 2008 Western Morning News, The Plymouth (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.