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North East wheat trials underline the importance of good disease resistance


The importance of growing wheat varieties with a high level of inherent disease resistance, using top-quality seed coated with a proven seed treatment to provide effective disease protection have been highlighted by on-farm trials in the North East of England encompassing a range of popular wheat varieties.

Conducted on Leslie Brown & Partners Westholme Farm, Winston near Darlington in County Durham, the trial plots were drilled at 250 seeds per square metre using the farms own equipment, on the same day, in the same field and under the same conditions as the farms commercial crop. Throughout the season the plots were managed by the owner, Leslie Brown, and harvested at the beginning of September.

The results proved very interesting, says Sean Lovegreen, Regional Sales Manager (North) for Nickerson Direct, the UKs only specialist sales force supplying seed directly from breeder to farmer. Even in a season when disease pressures were relatively low it was evident that there were significant yield and financial benefits to be gained from growing varieties with good inherent disease resistance, while the use of a proven seed treatment further increased the level of crop security and returns.

The five top-performing varieties in the trial, Edmunds, Alchemy, Invicta, Stigg and Cassius, yielded 108.2%, 107.3%, 107.1%, 106.8% and 105.9% of control respectively. All were treated with a single-purpose Kinto seed treatment. It was notable that inherently disease-susceptible varieties such as Oakley (102.1%) and Robigus (101.3%) underperformed at this site and were more dependent on the addition of a broad spectrum seed treatment (Epona) to achieve that performance, while the results from Grafton and Humber were disappointing.

A separate trial compared the performance of Solstice winter wheat grown using conventional seed against branded Nickerson Original seed, which was treated with Nickerson Seed Film Coating and a Growth Promoting Agent. The conventional seed produced 9.8 t/ha, while the crop grown from Nickerson Original generated 10.4 t/ha, a 0.6 t/ha yield benefit worth approximately 90/ha.

This trial will be of particular interest to growers in the North East because very few assessments of wheat performance are conducted in this region, emphasises Sean Lovegreen. Technology is an increasingly important factor in producing high-performing crops. Nickerson Original cereal seed is produced from stocks which are selected for their high germination and vigour. These are then enhanced with a Seed Film Coating which was developed by Nickerson to carry seed treatments onto the seed accurately, enhancing germination and vigour. By improving seed flow, drilling accuracy is also improved, creating a manageable plant population with even establishment. The incorporation of the Seed Film Coating along with the addition of our Growth Promoting Agent, which is a blend of major essential nutrients, increases root biomass by up to 40%. This then enables the plant to absorb soil nutrients more effectively and so assists rapid germination and good establishment, which contribute to higher yield.

Part of Group Limagrain, the largest seed company in the European Union, Nickerson Direct is uniquely positioned to offer farmers the full advantages of its huge resources and investments in research and development. The company has an unrivalled team of seed specialists throughout the UK who are trained in all aspects of agriculture/seed production and supply farmers with the best seed available, supported by informed, expert advice. Nickerson Direct has full control of seed quality, an in-house contracts department, plus a dedicated seed production facility which operates to exacting standards.

Farmers can find out more about Nickerson Directs extensive product range and its on-farm advisory service from Nickerson Direct on 01472 371471, by email: or at

  • Nickerson Direct is part of Nickerson, the international name for the arable crops business of Limagrain Verneuil Holding, a subsidiary of Group Limagrain, the largest plant breeding and seed development company in the E.U.

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