Advanced Winter Varieties

The new crops are still growing in the fields, but many farmers are already concerned about winter crops, trying to choose the best types of crops and breeds.

Says Wilhelm Drevs, Ph.D. in Agronomy, EkoNiva consultant

Naturally, much attention is paid to winter wheat. EkoNiva offers Lars Winter Wheat for your consideration.

Winter-resistant intensive Lars Wheat is a European breed produced by Saaten Union Company (Germany). It was entered in the Russian State Register in 2004 and has already become widely spread. It is the most winter-hardy variety of wheat offered by Western European seed growers.

It would not be quite correct to refer to Lars simply as a high-yielding wheat variety. By Russian standards, it is also a high-technology variety. The yield increase, as compared to Russian wheat varieties, will be received only if the producers provide the required density control strictly, which demands for strict compliance with the prescribed agro-engineering measures. What do we mean by Density Control?

First of all, we must proceed from the end result to receive a good harvest we need a density of 550-600 productive spikes per m2. The achievement of this target number needs deliberate efforts from the part of the agronomist, who should ensure the carrying-out of the full scope of measures, including calculation of the seeding rate, extra-nutrition of the plants with nitrogen fertilizers and use of crop protecting agents, which are all carried out for the sake of the ultimate result production of the target amount of spikes for harvesting.

Winter wheat seeding rate is calculated according to the breed type and the sowing period. Lars Wheat is a compensatory breed, which means that it has an increased tillering capacity under favourable conditions. That is why, if Lars Wheat is sowed early enough (5-15 September in the Chernozemye Region) its tillering index is equal to 2. In this case, the seeding rate amounts to 270-330 seeds per square metre (2.7 3.3 mln/hectare).

If sowing is put off till 25-30 September, the seeding rate increases to 400 fertile seeds per 1 hectare.

Such sparse crops facilitate the control of the density formation in spring. If the number of plants after the melting of the seasonal snow cover does not exceed 250-300 per m2 and if they are not sufficiently tillered, it is necessary to stimulate tillering with the earliest possible ammonium nitrate fertilizing. The nitrogen fertilizer dose should amount to 70 kg per hectare (200 kg of ammonium nitrate).

If the tillage complies with the required standard, first fertilizers can be introduced much later, but before the shooting stage.

Fertilizers should be introduced evenly over the whole vegetation period, to avoid a considerable reduction in productivity and in the number of spikelets in a spike.

Crop protecting agents provide reliable protection from weeds (the absence of weeds reduces competition for water and nutrients), diseases (protection of leaves and spikes from mold) and pests.

Growth regulator () reduces the risk of the winter wheat lodging and increases the share of reproductive parts (spikes) in the overall harvest structure.

This purposeful control of the Lars Wheat density permits to receive a considerable yield increase, as compared to Russian wheat breeds. Thus, in 2006, the yield from the EkoNiva farm holding in Kursk Region (Zashchitnoe) exceeded the average yield value by 1,600 kg per hectare.

However, if a farm holding buys the new Lars Wheat and sticks to the traditional seed rate and crop production technology, it is unlikely to receive any yield increase. When you purchase the new breed you must also acquire the new European crop production technique.

Winter rape is another important winter crop.

EkoNiva offers 2 line varieties of rape, Lirajet and Libea, provided by the DSV Company (Germany). Its no secret that cultivation of winter rape in Russia is connected with the risk of frost injury. Rapeseed producers have to find a way to reduce the risk and increase frost-resistance of the plants.

In solving this issue they should take into consideration the following important factors of plant density control:

  1. Lirajet and Libea seeding rate should vary between 60-80 fertile seeds per m2. Depending on the thousand-kernel weight, it will amount to 2.5-3.6 kg per hectare.
  2. In the majority of Russian regions winter rape is sown quite early from 5 to 15 August. It is very important that the plants should have grown 6-8 well developed leaves and an 8-10 mm diameter of the root collar before frosts.
  3. It is necessary to provide due treatment of the plants with the Folicure mold inhibitor in autumn (when the rape plants have grown 4-5 leaves). Folicure protects the plants against mold. However, its main functions include inhibition of the plants upward growth, enhancement of its root system development and in hardening the plants, which enables them to survive over the cold season.
  4. In spring, it is necessary to provide timely introduction of nitrogen fertilizers. Unlike wheat, rape consumes nutrients for spike formation from the very start of the vegetation period. 100 kg of rapeseed demands not 3 but 6 kg of nitrogen. That is why the total amount of ammonium nitrate per hectare may increase to 400 kg or more.
  5. Rape attracts a great variety of pests. Special attention should be paid to flea-beetles at the sprouting stage (the seeds are treated with the Cruiser insecticide) and the rape-blossom weevil at the budding and blossoming stage. When you purchase winter rape seeds you receive full technological support (covering the whole period from sowing to harvesting) from EkoNiva Company consultants.