The international comparison of winter wheat cultivation methods, which has been an important part of the technical program at the DLG-Feldtage since 1988, will this year for the first time be presented online at a new event named “DLG-Feldtage Digital”. With their crops in the ground since October 2019 at the event venue in Erwitte/Lippstadt, Germany, each of the ten agronomists, who compete side by side, strive to achieve the highest direct cost-free performance on the site.
Following the postponement of the DLG-Feldtage exhibition by 12 months, the new aptly named “DLG Feldtage Digital“ event will take place online in 2020, with the ten teams from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland presenting their methodology to online visitors for each wheat cultivation plot. The variety of options that are possible in cultivation methods including crop variety, sowing method, fertilizer strategy and crop protection planning means that a wide range of growing strategies will be on display.
The plots are shown in several high quality photographs, from the emergence of the crop up until now, so visitors can follow the development of the crop. In addition, these previous measures on the plots are presented in an extract from the field file, which shows the type, amount, and of course the date of the application.
An international contest, the winter wheat comparisons identify a winner following harvesting, which establishes which plot has achieved the highest yield on the site. But unlike previous years, when the highest yield, the best quality and the best financial result were the sole evaluation criteria, this year special attention is paid to the chosen overall strategy for participation. After harvesting, it is then time to assess whether the individual targets have been achieved and to evaluate which measures have proved worthwhile.
“With the new online platform DLG-Feldtage digital we want to show visitors what they would have been able to see on the fields in Erwitte/Lippstadt. The online version is an opportunity to analyse each strategy in detail and to cross-compare the strategies with the detailed pictures taken over a longer period of time. It is a different experience, but online visitors of course still have the opportunity to get to know a wide variety of cultivation philosophies from different European growing regions, as well as Germany,” says Alexander von Chappuis, project manager of the international winter wheat crop comparison.
Following harvesting, the yield outcome and grain quality will be used to determine the selling price and crop value. The actual costs of crop establishment and management will then be deducted to calculate the direct cost-free performance of plot. When the results are published in the autumn, it will be possible for visitors to check how well the contest participants adapted their strategies to the conditions at the site in Lippstadt, and if they have achieved their goals.
Test field conditions
Prior to the contest, each participants were provided with the geographical, weather and soil conditions of the location in order to select an optimal strategy.
Located 100 meters above sea level at the Brockhof Estate in Erwitte/Lippstadt in North Rhine Westphalia, the area has an average annual rainfall volume of 773 l/m2 and an average annual temperature of 10.3 °C.
The soil type constitutes loess/black earth with a soil rating of 67 to 72 points. The soil character is sandy loam (SiC – C: 22%, Si: 70%, S: 8%) with a pH value of 6.9. The usable field capacity (uFC) is 250 mm. The soil contains the following nutrient contents:
P: 7.3 mg/100 g soil
K: 19.5 mg/100 g soil
Mg: 2.8 mg/100 g soil
Humus content: 1.8 – 1.9%
Crop rotation: barley (2019), potatoes (2018), wheat (2017)
Possible problems at the location: mice
“The strategies employed by each team are entirely different with one team going for large seeds and then adapting the use of fertilizers while others intend to work with low CO2 emissions, and then another team has chosen not to use fungicides and insecticides. It will be a highly interesting event and certainly one that you can gain from watching online,” comments von Chappuis.
The participants in the international comparison of winter wheat cultivation methods are:
Variety (target yield): Heerup (10 t/ha)
Strategy: to ensure the best possible start for the plants by using large seeds; only carry out fertilization and crop protection measures that are essential.
North Rhine Westphalia (NRW) Chamber of Agriculture
Bad Sassendorf, Germany
Variety (target yield): Informer (8 t/ha)
Strategy: Sustainable yield safeguarding with regional, integrated approaches based on regional long-term test results
Faculty of Agriculture, Mendel University
Brno, Czech Republic
Variety (target yield): Asory (10 t/ha)
Strategy: to show that a high gross profit can be achieved and that the negative environmental effects of the crop protection agents that are used can be reduced at the same time by optimizing winter wheat cultivation and crop management.
Hochschule Anhalt (FH) Department of Agriculture, Ecotrophology and Landscape Development
Variety (target yield): Emerick (9 t/ha)
Strategy: to produce a quality wheat with optimum baking quality using 20% less N fertilization, as intended for red areas.
Strickhof Consulting Service
Variety (target yields): Poncione (8,5 t/ha)
Strategy: to cultivate high-quality wheat entirely without using fungicides and insecticides.
Variety (target yield): Informer (11 t/ha)
Strategy: to achieve a high yield with high efficiency from N, P and K inputs. They want to use the most modern fungicides and they intend to work with low CO2 emissions.
Institute of Soil Culture and Crops
Variety (target yield): Informer (11 t/ha)
Strategy: to achieve a high yield and thereby bind the maximum amount of CO2 using adapted measures.
South Westphalia University of Applied Sciences, Department of Agriculture
Variety (target yield): Campesino (10 t/ha)
Strategy: The highest possible yield with low input is to be achieved on the trial plot, with special attention to the choice of variety.
Variety (target yield): Riff (10 t/ha)
Strategy: Normal cultivation of fodder wheat for poultry production, i.e. generation of a high yield with the minimum possible effort.
Variety (target yield): Cubus (8 t/ha)
Strategy: Low costs for winter wheat production, safety for nature.
Through the DLG “digital” concept, the DLG, along with exhibitors and partners, will be providing, in various digital styles, current information about the many specialist topics of the exhibition as well as product innovations.
The vent “Forums live” will take place on June 16, 2020
Online visitors can take part in live presentations online on the following topics:
- Pulse width modulation in crop protection. What does technology bring in practice?
- Mixing, laying, grazing, turning – with which tillage is the right basis for inventory management laid?
- More diversity in the field – more success for the farmer? Both are possible with legumes!
- Science fiction becomes reality: Robots in mechanical weeding.
The presentations are in a mix of German and English language.
The next winter wheat comparison contest will take place in 2021 at the DLG Feldtage exhibition, which was due to take place this year but was postponed by 12 months. The winter wheat comparison in 2021 will be open to visitors for three days on June 8 – 10, 2021.