Group 3 wheats are rarely promoted as potential record breakers, but a 14.3t/ha crop of Invicta, bred by Limagrain UK and harvested by David Hoyles of Monmouth House Farm, Lutton, is thought to have set a new yield record for a UK wheat. If accepted, it would surpass the 13.99t/ha set by Gordon Rennie of Midlothian in 1981.
The 8.25ha field was harvested on 10th August, and Mr Hoyles knew then that the yields were exciting: "As I started work on the field, I saw continuous flashes of red coming up on the yield mapper and at some stages I thought that the combine would stall as the crop was so thick!
When we put the crop over the weigh bridge, the 31ha of Invicta over three fields averaged out a weight of 12.84t/ha – in fact all of the first wheats this year have beaten the farms previous record set last year of 11.85t/ha – but it was this one particular field that was most surprising!"
"For this crop, everything just seemed to happen at the right time – the crop looked
good from the beginning; drilled on the 28th September into a Grade one silt – sowing conditions were perfect. Seed rate was 125kg/ha, treated with Redigo Deter seed treatment. The snow of December seemed to insulate the crop, protecting it from the hard frosts that followed. It was then top dressed with 30kg N /ha in February – just in time for the nitrogen to be washed in. However, the drought soon followed meaning that later nitrogen applications were not taken up as well as we would hope."
Mr Hoyle’s adds that the use of a new John Deere C670i combine has meant that the harvesting itself has been very efficient: "we are delighted with the results as very little crop has been wasted, infact we have only lost about 0.3-0.4 % of the crop off the back."
Peter Busfield, director at seed merchants Dunn’s who supplied the seed to Mr Hoyles, confirmed that Invicta was a variety that did well in fertile conditions "but this supersedes any of our expectations! It’s all about getting the right variety into the right conditions, and whilst Mr Hoyle’s puts down the results to a bit of luck and judgement there is no doubt that his excellent attention to detail in managing the fertiliser and agronomy of the crop, as well as efficient harvesting, played a vital role in the end result."
Ron Granger wheat breeder for Limagrain, confirms the theory that those crops that were well established last season were less affected by the drought. "It is very reassuring for us as breeders to see growers reaping the results of our extensive and detailed breeding programmes. Invicta, is after all the highest yielding nabim group 3, with excellent agronomic characteristics all round sound disease resistance – and Mr Hoyles is obviously reaping the benefits of these characteristics."