The team from the Royal Agricultural University have won the 2018 Cereals Challenge by growing the best crop of virtual winter wheat. Newcastle University took second place, closely followed by Harper Adams University.

The winning team was made up of Tania Coxon, James Waddington, Charlotte Pritchard and Oliver Carrick.

In February, teams from Nottingham University, Newcastle University, Harper Adams University, Writtle University College, Hartpury College and the Royal Agricultural University were presented with this year’s challenge which was to grow the best plot of winter wheat on land that has a resistant black-grass challenge and is following a crop of oilseed rape leaving Clearfield volunteers to manage.

The RAU team chose to grow Evolution on the basis of the variety’s good tillering capacity and black-grass competitiveness. The crop was drilled in early November to allow for an application of glyphosate for weed control prior to drilling.

As the season progressed the team amended their fungicide and nutritional plans to reflect the difficult spring conditions, which they believe made the difference.

The judges Dick Neale of Hutchinsons and Keith Norman of Velcourt agreed, believing the winning formula to be the team’s consistently good and robust approach to managing the crop throughout what has been a very challenging season.

Charlotte Pritchard, part of the RAU team who is studying for a FDSc in Agriculture and Farm Management, believes that taking part in the Cereals Challenge has given her first-hand experience of what it would be like to work as an agronomist.

She said: “It was certainly well worth the commitment and hard work throughout the season, and I would encourage anyone considering a career in agronomy or crop production to take part.