Skyfall has put in a good performance on fertile silts at PC Tinsley’s Hurn Hall Farm, near Holbeach in Lincolnshire, despite a wet and dull end to the season which tested fungicide programmes to the full.
Martin Cook, co-director at PC Tinsley, grew 19ha of the variety for seed, which ended up averaging 10t/ha.
“One field hit 11.1 t/ha, producing 80kg/hl grain at 15% moisture,” he says. “It was drilled on 7 October after potatoes. It looked well all year and yielded well.”
The second field drilled three days later after cauliflowers yielded 9.9 t/ha at 15% moisture content, with another good specific weight score of 78 kg/hl. The third, less fertile field was drilled later, on 4 November, after potatoes and produced 9.0t/ha at 78 kg/hl.
“We used Revystar at T2 on all our wheats at 1 litre/ha as there was very little disease at time of spraying. By the end of June, we had a lot of Septoria on top three leaves. We certainly missed Bravo as a multisite at T1 and T2 – we had 54mm rain over a 48 hour period around the 20 June.”
Overall, Martin is pleased with Skyfall’s performance given the year, and already has plans to grow more this season.
“It is still a very reliable performer and wanted by growers. Skyfall consistently produces excellent specific weight and yields well most years in most drilling slots.”
Dull weather during harvest has frustrated many growers in the east, including Kent grower Richard Budd who has been pushing on through crops and firing up the drier.
“Wheats are still quite green in the straw, but we have been trying to take them off while there is still some quality there,” says Richard, who farms 1100ha of mainly grade 3 arable land from his base at Stevens farm, Hawkhurst.
“As soon as we’ve been able to go, we’ve gone. This harvest is certainly making the combines grunt in this part of the world.”
Skyfall accounted for 100ha of his 450ha of winter wheats, all aimed at human consumption markets. The farm has consistently achieved 10.5-13t/ha of full spec breadmaking wheat over the past four years, but wet weather late in the season and lack of sunlight during grain fill has taken the shine off this year’s results.
“Overall Skyfall is averaging 7.5 to 8t/ha. It’s not stellar, but a lot of people are saying wheat yields are 10-15% off this year, and I think that’s what’s happened here.
“We kept crops relatively clean with a robust fungicide programme, so I suspect it is just a function of the year.”
Quality looks to have held up, with no sign of sprouting, and Richard is hopeful his Skyfall will hit the 13/78/2280 spec he has come to expect from the variety. “Given where wheat prices are, I’m reasonably happy,” he says.
Skyfall will definitely feature in Richard’s wheat portfolio this coming season. “It still offers the potential to make good money and has done well for us for years.
“I suspect this season is a blip, and it is not one to be making wholesale changes with varieties. Skyfall will certainly have a place here for the foreseeable future.”