Soissons Winter Wheat
Soissons is a well established variety for the late sown market where extreme earliness is very valuable. It's ability to produce relatively high yields in these situations or on lower yielding or drought prone soils has meant that it's popularity has been maintained over many years.
Soissons is a cheap variety to grow based on it's excellent mildew resistance. There is a good bread making market for Soissons and it's ability to produce high hagbergs, very high specific weights and good proteins have made these bread making premiums easy to achieve.
Ideally Soissons should not be sown before the second week of October. Earlier sown crops, especially on exposed sites, can be susceptible to very late spring frosts when the crop is at an advanced growth stage. Soissons is therefore best sown toward the end of the main drilling programme or even later after root crops. The latest safe sowing date is the end of February.
Seed Numbers should be relatively high as Soissons can be a shy tillerer especially from extremely early (before second week of October) or very late (November onwards) sowings. Thousand grain weights are generally lower than other varieties so this policy is unlikely to lead to a greater weight of seed being sown.
Soissons can be successfully used as a first or second wheat. It is well suited to all soil types but yields particularly well on the lighter soils. Because of it's earlier maturity it is also one of the best choices for late sowing after root crops, but as it is a shy tillerer wheat bulbfly control is important.
Based on limited trials and farm experience there is evidence that Soissons is more tolerant to manganese deficiency than other current varieties.
Nitrogen should be applied at the conventional growth stages but with Soissons these will be earlier in the calendar year, perhaps by two to three weeks compared with other varieties. The first nitrogen application should be about 20% greater in quantity than with other varieties. It is extremely important that Soissons does not run out of nitrogen. In the normal situation of three split applications the time between applications should not exceed three weeks. Only the timing and not the total nitrogen applied for Soissons will differ from other varieties, so the second and third applications will be lower than normal to compensate for the higher initial application.
To increase grain protein for bread making we would advise 30kg N/ha of foliar urea at the milky ripe stage (growth stage 75).
Soissons has short and relatively stiff straw but growth regulators are likely to be used to ensure that there is no lodging – the effect of which would be to reduce grain quality and overall yield.
In their 2009 guide, NABIM – the association of UK millers – quote Soissons as “It continues to offer unique quality characteristics which are liked by millers in specialised bread grists. This unique quality offering, which cannot be found in other recommended wheats, means that it can command a price equivalent to Group 1 varieties”. It has excellent hagbergs and, in comparison with other HGCA Recommended varieties, protein and specific weights close to the best.
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