Marshland St James farmer takes winter wheat prize for sixth year in a row
Farmer Robert Smart, from Marshland St James, came out top for the sixth year in a row in Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society's winter wheat competition.
He was presented with his prize on Tuesday at the society's meeting at Ryston Park Golf Club. Of the six entries, he won with a specific weight of 82.4 for a sample of Zyatt.
Second was Jim Smart, also from Marshland St James, with a sample of Skyfall with a specific weight of 79.2 and third was Roger Eyles, from Northwold, with a sample of Dunstan with a specific weight of 77.2.
Following the presentation, Bill Clark, technical director at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, gave a talk on the latest findings for disease control in winter wheat. Bill, a plant pathologist by training, has extensive experience in plant biology and applied plant science and has a special interest in knowledge transfer.
He said the NIAB is celebrating its 100th year of plant science. During that time there has been a increase in average wheat yields from two tonnes per hectare to ten. Although wheat yields are increasing approximately 0.5% per year, world population is increasing by over 2%.
Septoria is a major wheat disease that affects yields and work is ongoing through plant breeding and new fungicide developments to combat this, especially with the likely loss of active fungicide ingredients over the next few years and the possible stifling of technology.
The next meeting is on Tuesday, February 5, at Ryston Park Golf Club, when there will be a talk by Michael Sly, a farmer from Thorney, about educating the public on food.
The society's annual dinner is being held on Friday, March 15, at Downham Town Hall. For more information or to buy tickets, contact Nick Martin on 07809 270757 by the end of February.
New members are always welcome.