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Although a mid-August wheat harvest means it won’t be going in as early as he’d like, another solid season’s performance makes early driller, DK Exstar Dan Kiddy’s preferred OSR variety this autumn.

Averaging 3.5 t/ha across the 13 .5 ha he grew at Wm Kerr Farms in Suffolk, this is a slight improvement on last season’s 3.4 t/ha and noticeably better than both his long-time farm favourite, DK Exalte and a trial crop of a newly-Recommended TuYV-resistant hybrid.

“We thought TuYV resistance would be a valuable next step in building our OSR resilience,” Mr Kiddy says. “But despite looking great all season, the 5ha we grew came off at a disappointing 3.01 t/ha – barely more than our DK Exalte which also had a relatively poor year. So, the trait very clearly isn’t everything.

“Although serious frosts at flowering didn’t help, I think the lack of summer sun was the main reason this season’s crops failed to reach the 4t/ha we like to see. Once again, all the seed was very small and light.

“Alongside the DK Exstar, we’ll be growing the promising RL candidate, DK Extremus which impressed us in the strip trial we also ran in one of our fields this season. And we’ll be strip- trialling the new DK hybrid with TuTV TuYV resistance just coming through National List 2 trials L2 that seems to have been performing so well in breeding trials.”

Following Dan Kiddy’s simple, tried and trusted, one-pass establishment recipe, the 2022 crops will be going straight into wheat stubble in 60 cm rows using a modified Simba Flatliner fitted with thin legs and low disturbance points and an Opico seeder. All will be double rolled at a maximum 6 kph the same day they’re drilled, then given 160 kg/hga of DAP immediately afterwards.

“We keep CSFB at bay by drilling dependable, fast-developing genetics with the least surface disturbance only when we have enough moisture followed by prompt and effective double rolling and starter fertilisation,” he explains. “We deliberately avoid spraying to support predator populations, and concentrate on producing the most resilient thick-stemmed, well- branched canopies.

“As we’ve seen almost no flea beetle in our harvested crops this time round and have plenty of moisture in the ground we’re not too worried about having to drill 10 days later than we’d like. Fingers firmly crossed!”

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