Return to the Classroom; Ulster Growers Trained in Latest Wheat Crop Management Techniques

Article excerpt

A PROGRAMME designed to help Northern Ireland's cereal growers keep costs down in an increasingly competitive world market moved to a new phase on Tuesday with a meeting at Greenmount College to look at the latest management techniques for winter wheat.

James McClelland, deputy chairman of the HGCA's R&D Advisory Committee for Cereals and a local grower, found the training extremely valuable.

He said: "By using the principles of canopy management, you can maximise crop yield, reduce lodging risk, while remaining cost effective.''

Emerson McDowell, Senior Crops Adviser, Greenmount College said: "By managing crop development to utilise available sunlight efficiently, growers have the opportunity to reduce inputs of seed, nitrogen and plant growth regulators.

"This will lead to increased profitability and environmental benefits.''

Led by ADAS senior consultant David Parish, the workshop included a review of the key points of research on nitrogen, seed rate and varieties and fungicides from Roger Sylvester Bradley, John Spink and Bill Clark, of ADAS, as well as practical field exercises designed to give an insight into the latest techniques.

This was the second workshop held in Northern Ireland as part of the Winter Wheat Sector Challenge. It built on previous training held in February.

Following this training the leading growers who took part in the programme will implement the principles of canopy management on their own farms supported by their local Greenmount Crops Adviser. Their crops will be used to demonstrate these techniques to neighbouring growers.

The project, run jointly with DARD, is based on long-term research funded by HGCA and DEFRA which shows that canopy management techniques can be put in place on farm successfully.

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