DK Exalte stood up to one of the most severe hail storms in recent memory at Abbey Farm, Hoo in mid-Suffolk 10 days ahead of harvest relatively untouched while a leading RL hybrid without pod shatter resistance in the same field was bleached white through seed loss.
The visual contrast between the 7ha of Exalte and the 3ha of the other variety with a virtually identical maturity in the same field couldn’t have been greater (picture); a yield difference of nearly 2t/ha at combining underlining the economic value of DEKALB pod shatter resistance.
What’s more, a 26ha of DK Exalte and 6ha of the same non-shatter resistant hybrid in next door fields showed exactly the same effect.
“The precise dividing line of damage across the field left me baffled at first,” admitted Wm. Kerr Farms’ manager, Dan Kiddy. “Until I checked with the drilling notes and found the line exactly marked the boundary between the two varieties, that was.
“This really underlined the value of pod shatter resistance to us. We’ve always considered it a useful trait to have as an insurance and don’t bother with any pod stickers. But it’s been a very welcome bonus in a season where every extra performance edge has been especially valuable.
“We drilled less than half our OSR acreage to DK Exalte last autumn but it’s all round agronomic strength means it will be three quarters of our plantings this autumn. Having cleared our barley promptly, we’re looking to get our entire crop drilled by August 10. If the autumn is kind we may need to go in with an early PGR. However, I’d far rather have to do this than suffer the flea beetle devastation we had across a large area of September-drilled crops last season.”