Date: 11/2021
The winter wheat season seemed to go on a very long time. The cold and slow start to spring meant disease was generally delayed which meant that the usual workload was condensed into a shorter time before harvest. That said, harvest went well for us with only one combine breakdown! Then it was the usual September rush to get data analysed, breeding lines selected and seed packets prepared for all of the plot locations here in the UK and beyond our shores. The wheat team and I were relieved to be blessed with an easy drilling season. The rain and cold held off and the seedbed was perfect for the plot drills… we were finished within a week.

Half the battle in achieving good plot data is in establishment so I am confident that the season will get off to a good start. A week later and the wheat has started emerging with Champion being the first off the blocks.
Once we finished drilling at Wardington, we were able to move down to our secret Septoria location in the West! We already manage to breed resistant Septoria wheat but as disease pressure increases, there is a need to increase selection pressure at the early generations. Our site further West is low lying and surrounded by water courses resulting in Septoria which jumps up onto the flag leaf, even in treated plots. With the prospect of more work, the trial operator has had to update his fleet, investing in a Ford 4600 (see photo)!

For those yet to finish drilling, I wish you well.
Dr. Matt Kerton
UK Wheat Breeder & Station Manager