Maximising grain fill in wheat and oats
25 May 2023, UK: With ear emergence rapidly approaching in wheat and oats, Agrovista technical experts outline the proven role of a novel biostimulant to boost specific weights and yields.
As the main fuel generated by photosynthesis, sucrose is key to the development of cereal grains.
Relocating carbohydrates, particularly sucrose, into grain during the key filling period can have a positive effect on crop yield, whilst improving the response to environmental stresses such as drought.
Mark Hemmant, Agrovista’s central support technical manager, says it is possible to influence this movement of sucrose using a unique foliar treatment called 3 Alo T6P.
“Nature uses a small molecule, trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P), as a signalling molecule to balance carbohydrate concentration, especially sucrose, in the plant,” he explains.
“It is one of the critical mechanisms to link carbon assimilation and growth in higher plants. An application on the ear creates a pulse of T6P, which results in more sucrose being drawn into the grain to make starch – thereby increasing yield and grain size.”
Manufacturer trials have shown an average 8% increase in wheat yield from 3 Alo T6P applied at the T3 stage in over 69 trials (see graph), and an 87% return on investment.
The product is also an excellent tool for those producing their own seed or for seed producers in general, Mark adds.
“It produces a more nutrient-dense grain – in grain analysis last year it ranged from all nutrients being elevated between 4-43%, depending upon element analysed.
“In terms of yield impact, it not only increases the yield in the mother crop but also in the daughter crop, giving an extra 0.25t/ha in work done by the manufacturer in conjunction with F1 seeds.”
Agrovista agronomist Martin Foster, who looks after crops across Scotland’s central belt, often uses 3 Alo T6P as a head spray to achieve better bushel weights.
“All oat crops are getting T6P as a last spray when ears are out to boost grain quality,” he says.
“I’ll also be using it on some wheats that look like they’ll benefit. One customer of mine who grows a lot of wheat looks for additional protein in his feed varieties, aiming for 10-10.5%. He used to put nitrogen feeds in the ear spray to achieve this, but now uses 3 Alo T6P and is achieving the same levels, if not better.
“I will also use it on some standard feed wheats to keep bushel weights as high as possible. The product is now catching on because of the results we’ve had.”
Leicestershire-based Agrovista agronomist Daniel Knight targets the product in situations where grain fill might be compromised, taking into account any limiting factors and how these might affect crop performance.
“As well as alleviating stress, 3 Alo T6P diverts sugars from leaves and stems into the grains, producing bolder, nutrient-rich grain,” he says.
“It is ideal for seed crops, or where low bushels may be a problem, and I’ll also use it on milling oats and breadmaking wheats if the crop looks like it might struggle to make the required quality.”
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