Hybrid wheat strip trials on farms across the UK have demonstrated the ability of the latest varieties to provide ‘insurance’ against very dry conditions that proved challenging for conventional wheat, according to distributor Cropco.
While growers observed that the drought had highlighted variability in soil quality, with different areas of the same field often showing sharp divisions in yield, hybrid wheat is said to have provided consistently good performance.
Farms in Devon, Dorset, Norfolk, Suffolk and Oxfordshire grew strips of hybrid wheat varieties including Hybiza, Hyguardo, Hyteck, Hylux, Hyking and Hyclick. All performed well, in most cases out-yielding conventional varieties grown on the same land, according to the company.
Despite the drought in the East, yields topped 11.21t/ha on sandy loam and averaged over 8.9t/ha on indifferent soil, according to Cropco. Similar performance was recorded by farmers growing a single variety of hybrid wheat in East Yorkshire and the Cotswolds, it added.
John Poulton of Cropco said: “Hybrid wheat is renowned for its fast establishment and vigorous early growth, creating a larger root mass. It was therefore well established on light land and able to make best use of whatever moisture was available through the drought. As in previous strip trials it has given consistent performance in a very tough season.
“Growers have also found hybrid wheat suitable for late drilling which can be especially useful in blackgrass control strategies, while the very early maturing variety Hybiza makes it a natural alternative to winter barley. Growers can benefit from its high yield potential and the increased value of a wheat crop.”