Will Baker’s RGT Skyfall is poised to take off after weeks of cold wet weather.
All 265ha grown on the thin sandy land at Thoresby Home Farm, near Perlethorpe in Nottinghamshire, received around 50kg/ha of nitrogen in mid March.
Earlier-sown crops are now standing up and Will expects them to rush into stem extension as warmer weather returns. Later-sown fields have also come through the winter well and now have two to three tillers.
“Everything has got hold of that early N, and day length rather than temperature is starting to govern wheat growth. The plants are going to fly over the next couple of weeks.”
He will apply a further 80kg/ha of nitrogen plus some muriate of potash as soon as the land will travel again. He will apply the balance a couple of weeks after that to end up at the 200kg/ha target.
Later stands also showed some manganese deficiency, so these were rolled in mid March to firm the roots.
The Skyfall remains pretty clean, says Will. “We are seeing a bit more Septoria in the more forward crops so will go through with a PGR plus chlorothalonil in a few days as a T0.
“On crops that don’t get a T0 we will spend a bit more at T1 protecting the first of the true yield-building leaves.”
Will made the most of RGT Skyfall’s sowing date flexibility last autumn. He started drilling the variety in mid September, and although most was in by mid November, a further 20ha was sown later after roots.
“We didn’t put any autumn fertiliser on – the crop looked pretty lush, especially on the light land after potatoes.”
Some later crops are a little bit thinner than planned, says Will, despite increasing the seed rate to 325/sq m.
“That was still not quite enough in some areas. Seed is expensive, but it pays to put plenty on once you get into late autumn. Germination can quickly drop off to 60-70%, rather the 85% you expect from earlier sowing.”
Overall, the Skyfall crops look well, especially given the slow spring. “We’ve been growing the variety for fourth seasons and it has always done well on our light sandy soil.
“I don’t know why, it just seems well suited to it. Currently, there’s every reason to think that this year’s crop will hit our 9t/ha target on this soil.”