Self sampling at harvest will help you market grain in the year ahead

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Harvest is the stage of the farming calendar that poses the most risk for arable businesses. From keeping everyone safe on a busy farm to getting your crops into the store in the right condition; attention to detail is key. There's no doubt that the ease in which a grain sampler can turn up on farm during harvest, take a sample from your heap using...
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Give storage the same attention as yield in harvest conversations

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With combines already rolling in some areas, conversations across offices, farms, agricultural shows and pubs are ramping up about the yield potential of this year's crop. Harvest conversations between farmers, traders and others always interest me; watching the usual attempts to outdo each other is always an interesting sport. But as someone with ...
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Working more efficiently in the field

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I spend a lot of time with farmers and agronomists talking about how they can be more efficient with their time. One of the ways they can achieve this is through capturing observations in the field, using digital tools such as the MyRecs app within MyFarm or the iSOYL Scout app. Recording black-grass and locating the actual affected area using GPS,...
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Maximizing grassland production

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Much of the grass in Herefordshire, where I am based, suffered during the difficult weather conditions of 2018 and consequently producers should focus on optimising nutrition to restore both quality and yield potential to former levels, with K and S being essential in this process. This season NKS fertilisers containing potash and sulphur alongside...
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Nitrogen – can you manage risk and flex your profitability?

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New season 2019 It is likely we will see a higher starting value for ammonium nitrate fertiliser in the UK this year. Recent announcements on the continent have indicated a rise of at least £20 - £25/tonne is likely. In addition, the granular urea market remains very firm and the pound has weakened; both of which lead industry commentators to predi...
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OSR - The final nutrition decision

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It has been somewhat of a harrowing year for the OSR crop, with wide spread establishment issues followed by flea beetle larval damage leading to a number of crops unfortunately being ripped up.The remaining crops have gone on to endure some late frosts during flowering but, thanks to recent rainfall and warm weather, the good crops are now coming ...
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Surprise Easter weather increases risk of losses on liquid fertiliser

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The rise in temperatures forecast this weekend beckons the prospect of one of the warmest Easters on record. While many people's thoughts will turn to firing up the barbecue or joining a queue of traffic heading for the nearest beach, arable farmers will earmark the time to get out and on with spring land work. Generally dry conditions have allowed...
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Managing lodging risk in cereals this spring

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Lodging is described by Berry, 1998 as "The permanent displacement of plant stems from the vertical" which "occurs on average once every four years in UK wheat crops, when it reduces the yield and bread-making quality of grain." Fischer and Stapper, 1987 also report that "Lodging can reduce yields from 7 – 35%, with the greatest yield reductions oc...
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Variable crops will require a considered PGR approach this season

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​ Yet again a season has seemingly come at us with a fresh set of challenges. Personally, I don't think I've ever seen a 'normal' year and averages cover a lot of variability. However, we do have a challenge with this season's oilseed rape (OSR) crops and working out what to do. Autumn and winter have been both unseasonably dry and unseasonably war...
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The impact of flea beetle larvae

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​ As if the adult population of cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) wasn't problematic enough last autumn when large areas of oilseed rape were written off, crops are now struggling again as they come out of winter. CSFB larvae are present in high numbers on both heavily grazed crops and even those which appeared to grow away from the pest last year. I...
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Frontrunner - 25th January 2019

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WHEAT Firm pound pushes old crop prices lower Brexit uncertainty continues to fuel huge shifts in the value of the pound. This week the pound appreciated significantly against a host of other currencies reaching 1.16 against the Euro, a level which was last seen in May 2017. Domestic demand for old crop remains strong, but if the UK has an exportab...
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DISCOVERING ICEBERGS at Frontier’s NRoSO sprayer operator days

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Our ever-popular sprayer operator days will soon be upon us. As well as a great lunch and sufficient NRoSO points to ensure status on the register is secured, the events give farmers and sprayer operators valuable insight into current industry issues and the chance to discuss guidelines and best practice recommendations. Conversations are always to...
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Foliar feed timings seen to increase maize yields

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For some people maize is perhaps seen as a somewhat less worthy crop when it comes to allocating management time and resources. Getting it in, being conservative with inputs and taking whatever yield comes along at harvest is often the order of the day. I think if more growers knew what could be achieved by pushing maize harder, they might take a d...
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Beans to replace a failed WOSR crop?

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In numerous counties, the effects of the long, hot summer and the onslaught of cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) on oilseed rape crops are still being felt. Crops that were sown in early-August have established well on the whole and were large enough to withstand the gnawing mouthparts of the adult flea beetle. However, crops sown in mid to late Augu...
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The laws of physics or the rules of nature?

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When I was a lad at school the laws of physics, including Newton's third rule " for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, " seemed of little consequence to me. However, as I grew up I came to realise that the laws of physics are all around us every day and life is bound inextricably to them. To a certain extent nature applies its ow...
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Don’t overlook boron in your OSR crop this autumn

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Boron is a key nutrient for oilseed rape, with its main functions associated with aiding stem elongation and flowering. While these developments will happen later next spring, it is important to start addressing some of this need now before the crop enters winter.  The last thing we want is OSR coming out of the colder months with a deficiency...
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Soil: your farm's greatest asset

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This blog was first featured as an article in the October issue of Three Counties Farmer : Every conversation I have with people in the agricultural world seems to conclude with the opinion that "When it rains, it won't know when to stop." A common term used, especially in the autumn period when focus turns to potato harvest, autumn cereal drilling...
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The value of fresh phosphate fertiliser

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​ For the most part, many of us will admit that when it comes to fertiliser applications we can be guilty of concentrating solely on the application of nitrogen. The most common questions often revolve around the correct nitrogen rates and predicted yield responses but, in all honesty, it isn't all we should be thinking about. As an industry, when ...
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Hold your nerve – don’t drill fields with bad black-grass until mid-October

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The drilling of cereals is progressing at pace in many parts of the UK, with the majority of crops going into good seedbeds. However, there are some areas that could do with a decent night's rain and, more importantly, those who have fields with a black-grass problem should actually be prepared to wait. Managing black-grass It is now well accepted ...
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Think like a racing driver when selling your grain

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This blog was first featured as an article in the October issue of Three Counties Farmer : There are few jobs that could be classed as 24/7, 365 days a year but farming is one of them. For those who sell their combinable crops, the grain market is ever changing and the global markets also sit within this 'open all hours' bracket. We often draw para...
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