Trails work at the STAR project in Suffolk (England) during 2010 demonstrated that, ahead of winter wheat, shallow cultivations are more likely to pass on mycotoxin infection (deoxynivalenol - DON) to the following crop than inversion-based cultivations such as the plough.
Although mycotoxin levels in general last year were very low in England, because of the very dry weather, there were still differences in the level of DON recorded following various types of cultivation, said NIAB TAG
agronomist Neil Watson.
“We think that when using shallow cultivations the trash remaining from the previous crop is not buried sufficiently and passes on infection to the next crop.
“We would suggest to anyone with a traditional problem of fusarium infection that a plough-based cultivation system should be used to minimise infection transfer from crop to crop.”
“The UK is one of the best countries in Europe at achieving grain quality each season and this year, because of the dry weather and lack of nitrogen uptake, we are expecting lower levels of ear disease in crops again,” he said.
In other work focused on ‘second wheat cultivations and T3 studies’, based at the Morley Research Centre in Norfolk, Watson noted trials had shown that, irrespective of fungicide product used at the T3 timing, the presence of DON could not be completely removed from the crop, although the right products and timing could significantly reduce levels.
The STAR project
is a fully replicated, long-term rotational study on a Beccles/Hanslope series clay soil being undertaken in Suffolk with the support of the Felix Thornley Cobbold Agricultural Trust
- The study is examining the interaction between four different rotations and four different cultivation methods
- The interaction of cultivation practice and rotational systems is resulting in clear differences in soil structure and in weed burden (with an increasing grass-weed burden becoming apparent in continuous wheat plots established with non-inversion systems)
- The long-term data from the STAR project is suggesting that while plough-based approaches tend to give the highest yields, the highest margin returns have been associated with a ‘managed’ approach
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