BASF Agricultural Solutions UK

What are the implications of crop lodging?

According to John Nix’s guide, the gross margin on a crop of feed wheat is £656/ha. Early lodging at ear emergence can result in up to 75% yield loss. In financial terms, this is a cost of almost £500/ha. We want to help you to reduce your lodging risk and maximise your profitability.

So how can I reduce my lodging risk?

Crop Variety

Varieties have different resistance to lodging scores as each variety demonstrates differences in terms of growth habit (height, tillering capacity, stem strength and speed of establishment). Varieties with a score of 7 or less on the Recommended Lists should be considered at risk of lodging. Be sure to check the Recommended Lists on the HGCA website.

Drilling Date

Earlier drilled crops can produce heavier ears which have a higher yield potential. These heavy ears put weight on the stem, meaning a crop with higher yield potential is more likely to lodge. It has been estimated that each tonne per hectare above 9 t/ha reduces the resistance to lodging score by 0.5 points. As a result, delaying drilling can be a useful cultural control to help reduce lodging risk.

Nitrogen Applications

The AHDB Nutrient Management Guide is a great place to start to understand your nitrogen (N)requirements [link:]. Residual nitrogen in the soil from previous crops can significantly affect lodging risk by creating thick, dense canopies that are more prone to stem lodging. Delayed and reduced applications of nitrogen can help to manage canopy size and reduce lodging risk.

Plant Population

A high seed rate can increase the risk of root lodging, where the plant’s rooting structure is insufficient to hold it upright against the leverage of the rest of the plant. Reducing the seed rate can help to reduce lodging risk, as well as disease risk.

Spring Rolling

Weather permitting, spring rolling can help to consolidate soils, creating a better structure for plant roots to anchor into. Spring rolling should occur before GS30 to avoid crop damage.

PGR applications

A good plant growth regulator, such as Canopy or Medax Max will reduce plant height, improve rooting and increase straw strength. All of these agronomic benefits help to reduce lodging risk. What’s more, with two active ingredients, BASF PGRs are fast acting and reliable at a range of growth stages and temperatures.