Solid Cordiale performance forces a variety re-think

September 2016

In a season of contrasting performance, several varieties have delivered yields that defy their standing on the AHDB Recommended List. One such performer is Group 2 stalwart, Cordiale.

For Kent grower Antony Redsell who farms at Thanet in the south of the country, Cordiale’s performance this season has forced him to think again about plans to drop it in favour of a more recent introduction.

“This has been Cordiale’s best year for us. Across 160ha it has yielded well above 10.5t/ha and the bulk of it came in with better Hagbergs and slightly higher protein scores than Skyfall despite the Group 1 variety being on some of our stronger land. We were contemplating dropping the variety and moving towards perceived cleaner, newer varieties, but its reliable performance has made us reconsider,” he says.

Variety selection favours milling wheats with KWS Trinity and Crusoe completing the portfolio. Of the four varieties, KWS Trinity delivered the best performance.

With four milling wheats to contend with, it would be easy to develop a standard fungicide programme and treat all varieties the same. But in a desire to avoid unnecessary spend while ensuring each variety is managed per its needs, Mr Redsell works with his agronomist James Rimmer of CCC Ltd to develop variety-specific programmes.

“Fungicide choice was adapted to suit each variety with the total spend ranging from £90 to £107/ha. Nitrogen rates were similar, varying between 300 - 340kg N/ha depending on site and variety,” says Mr Redsell.

Despite a slightly higher fungicide spend, Cordiale still holds appeal, he says. “With commodity values under pressure we look closely at our cropping choices. On paper, Cordiale is more expensive to grow than some of the alternatives, but spreadsheets don't always reflect reality. Despite the additional expense its performance, marketability and early maturity at harvest mean it more than justifies its place in the rotation,” says Mr Redsell.