A YORKSHIRE grower whose second wheat yields topped 11t/ha believes it was down to his no-till approach.

Richard Hinchliffe of Rawcliffe Bridge Farm, near Goole, says Evolution yielded almost as much as a second wheat as it did as a first.

He puts it down to healthier soils as a result of adopting a no-till regime on the farm in 2012.

"There was only a difference in a tonne between our first and second wheat yields from Evolution," he said.

"Both were higher than average for the season in this area, and if we had had more sunlight later in the summer, we could easily have been looking at yields such as those in 2015.

"The only downside was our second wheats had a lower bushel weight of 72-74 kg/hl, whereas with the first wheats it was 76 kg/hl."

Looking for ways to boost farm productivity, Mr Hinchliffe began experimenting with no-till in 2012 – now the whole farm is under that system.

He said: "We gave up ploughing about 16 years ago, and went to a min-till system which seemed to work well. However we thought we could go even further and decided to try one field under a no-till system with a new John Deere direct drill we had just bought.

"We started to see the benefits straight away as the 'tester' field soon turned out to be our best field."

Other benefits included improved water penetration and worm numbers, and better rooting.

"Moisture retention is much improved now and we are certainly seeing a much slower release of nitrogen in the soil, which I think gives us the equivalent of an extra week’s grain fill.We still subsoil where needed, mostly on the heavier magnesium clays," he said.

With very little black-grass, wheats can go in early and last year Evolution was grown as a first and second wheat and drilled from mid-Sept to early October, with the cleanest fields being drilled first.

Mr Hinchliffe said: "We use a higher seed rate for the second wheats; up from 350 seeds/m² to 400 seeds/m². My theory is that it is better to have a plant to manage than no plant at all and the high rate helps to counteract against slugs, which is one downside of the no-till approach."

Septoria tritici and yellow rust are the main disease targets for the fungicide programme, with broad leaved weeds such as cleavers targeted in the spring.

Most of the wheats grown are hard Group 4’s, with the exception of a small area of Belepi, Viscount and LG Motown.

This autumn Evolution will be the biggest variety grown on the farm, both as a second and first wheat. Costello will also be grown for the third year running. However Viscount, long time farm stalwart has started to drop away in yields, so Mr Hinchliffe will be trialling LG Motown as a replacement.