As many of you know, Organic Arable have been working with our members and The ORC to conduct on-farm variety trials over the past six years, focussing first on winter wheat, then spring oats and latterly, spring beans. This Autumn sees us expanding the trials to winter oats and winter beans, as well as continuing the work on winter wheat varieties.
We're evaluating nine varieties and a blend this season across 11 farms. We use Extase as the control, grown on every farm. We hope this season we can confirm the exceptional performance of Mayflower as a weed suppressive variety, and prove a blend of Extase and Mayflower can be an effective and resilient option in the face of extreme climatic conditions, as well as proving more efficient at resource capture than the monocrops.
In addition to the modern cultivar evaluation, the trials overlap with another initiative investigating the use of population wheats (heterogenous material) as milling options.
This is the first season we will trial winter oats to assess viable alternatives to Mascani. We are testing four varieties across six farms. This work is taking place in collaboration with White's, funded by the research levy applied to each tonne of grain sold.
As part of the LiveSeeding project we will take a first look at three winter bean varieties and one spring bean variety planted in the winter. We are hoping to discover a variety that can provide more consistency under organic conditions and help improve organce bean agronomy. The trials are taking place across five farms, with one farm choosing to intercrop with wheat.
We will of course keep you updated across the season with observations and data collected from the fields.
In the Spring we will be running oat, bean and wheat trials so if you'd be interested and willing to host, please get in touch.