Skyfall keeps on delivering
Will Oliver resumed cutting RGT Skyfall at 20% moisture on Monday (7 August) at Swepstone Fields Farm, Newton Burgoland, Leicestershire. “We did some last week and it was dry, but we’ve got 400ha to combine and we got fed up of waiting. We’ve got a good drier – and we could wait, only to be cutting at 25% next week.”
So far, the 70ha cut of the 100ha total has averaged 8.5t/ha, which matches the farm’s five-year average and includes peak yields around 10t/ha as well as poorer places around the headlands. “Everything seems down this year,” says Will.
Having not applied any foliar nitrogen, he is reasonably pleased with the protein content of 11.5%, with good specific weights at 80kg/hl and a Hagberg of 350 seconds. “To be fair, I didn’t push it,” he says.
“I always grow Skyfall – it’s been a good variety, although the disease is breaking down a bit now. There’s some yellow rust in the stems, but it’s okay if you are aware of it and treat accordingly – we just got caught out with the weather,” he adds. “But I like the early harvest and big sowing window – we have a lot of maize in the rotation and can drill into January or February if we need to. It’s nice to have a milling premium if we get the quality, too.”
Will established the first chunk with a direct drill in mid-October, but had to use a plough and combi drill to get the later fields sown in late November. “We got caught out with the late autumn a bit. I do prefer direct drilling – it’s less risky, and ploughing costs more.”
The early sown crops had poultry manure under them, and only needed a small top-up of ammonium nitrate, whereas the later crops had 240kg/ha of AN plus sulphur. Some needed a T1 spray, and everything had Aderya at T2. “It got a bit of leaf scorch; we had some yellowing, but it came through,” he says.
Will now has 30ha of Skyfall to finish off before moving into 300ha of other wheats. “It’s all looking well, nothing is flat so far.”
Nik Wright is pleased to see a brighter forecast ahead at Lowfields Farm, Lincoln, where he has cut just over 14ha of RGT Skyfall. “It’s all second wheat and the yield is good, at 8.6-10.4t/ha. It came off dry last week and I had a go on Monday (7 August) at 19% – but it’s not milling spec so I waited for the weather rather than dry it.”
The most recent fields came off at 13% moisture and averaged 10t/ha. Despite not growing it for milling, the quality wasn’t bad, at 12% protein, 200 Hagberg and 78kg/hl.
Nik sows everything using minimum tillage, with one pass using a subdisc, and then worked down some fields with a cultipress and drilled with the Vaderstad. Sown in mid-October, the wheat faced some disease challenges, with rust in one particular field. “We just upped the fungicide rates – it had a T1 and T2 with a robust rate of Inatreq; with the weather we had it needs a belt-and-braces approach.”
The crop also had an ear wash, and Nick is pleased with the results. “It’s a lovely sample – nice and bold. It’s ticking the boxes for me. I still like the variety – the main reason I got into growing it is the drilling window – it’s so wide. The first year I didn’t sow it until February and it yielded 7.4t/ha,” he explains. “We have to drill later for blackgrass, and if the weather does close in on you, you don’t have to go and buy more seed.”
Nick still has 24ha of RGT Skyfall to cut, and having been drilled late on heavy land, it’s not yet fit. “It looks a cracking piece of wheat, with some good ears in it.”
Anyone whose wheat was ready before the rain has now lost its Hagberg, regardless of variety, but being later, Nick’s wheat still looks good. “It’s still got a nice colour to it, even after all this rain.”
- The nation’s favourite Group 1 wheat
- Widest sowing window
- Only Group 1 with OWBM resistance and Pch1 eyespot resistance
- Short, stiff straw
- Late-season security – strong on brown rust and fusarium
- Early ripening