The Fife field that recorded a spectacular 7.13 tonnes to the acre yield last year looks like it has the potential to repeat the performance under official trial conditions.
Craig Norrie, farm manager at Banchory Farm near Kirkcaldy, says the ideal weather of the last few weeks means the field of Zulu wheat has come on a long way.
“We had sunshine and then rain at the right time as it had reached the stage of needing a drink,” he said.
In the last month the wheat has received another 50 units of urea at 46% which means that to date it has had a total of 150 units, then this week the field was sprayed with a growth regulator, Cleancrop Alatrin together with sulphur, manganese and the fungicides Boogie Xpro and Pentangle.
Like most arable areas of Scotland the diseases that pose a risk to the crop are the yield robbers, Septoria and Yellow Rust so the crop will be sprayed again when the flag leaf comes out within the next couple of weeks.
Mr Norrie said that being in the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) scheme this year had produced some useful results.
In sampling carried out on the previous year’s crop the nitrogen to sulphur ratio indicated that it had suffered from a sulphur deficiency, so more sulphur is being applied this year.
Mr Norrie added: “Usually we would put the fertiliser on in three runs but we’re now upping it to four runs to see if we can improve on yields. We won’t be applying any extra, just splitting the last two applications.
“We’re learning from YEN and finding out how we can improve, so that’s really interesting for us.”
Meanwhile, after selling the last of the 2017 wheat crop in the last few weeks, all the weighbridge tickets are now in and the average across the whole farm is 5.3t/acre.
“You can’t argue with those figures so we’re very happy with that,” he said.
“Because of those results we’re now considering increasing our wheat acreage, so from the 550 acres of arable, we’re looking at going up to 30% wheat from this autumn.”
Seed specialist Douglas Bonn from Nickersons is monitoring the YEN project and has been inspecting the field on a weekly basis.
He said: “There’s a lot of attention to detail and timing and that’s what makes the difference.”