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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Will reduced availability of certified bean seed present a market opportunity?

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While we have all enjoyed the long, hot summer of 2018 it has many things to answer for including the failure of a large percentage of potential certified winter bean seed due to poor germination.   Seed shortage likely to fuel bean market As a result of this shortage of seed it is possible that fewer fields will be sown with beans this season...
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Catch crops: don’t get caught out

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Catch crops, sown in the summer, can be used very effectively as part of an Ecological Focus Area (EFA) greening requirement. These crops offer potential benefits to soil and rotation management beyond the financial rewards of EFA. However, it's important to comply with EFA criteria around management dates. Catch crops that were established by the ...
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What to do now as we approach the beet lifting season?

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Crop differences Planting of the 2018 beet crop was delayed by wet soils, with most crops going into the ground in April. Ironically, what happened next was then dependent on whether or not the seedbed had sufficient moisture for establishment. Some crops had good levels of moisture and warmth to set a good plant stand and grow away quickly to cove...
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The value of straw

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This blog was first featured as an article in the September issue of Three Counties Farmer With the frailties of an uncertain future post-Brexit combined with severe weather conditions across the UK, farmers are being brought even closer together to combat the difficulties we now face. The NFU called for arable farmers to bale all of their straw th...
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Don’t lose sight of tuber blight management in the run-up to harvest of stored maincrops

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2018 has thrown a range of challenges at potato growers and agronomists, such that blight control has increasingly taken a back seat as the season has progressed. It will be no surprise to anyone that data now shows that soil moisture has been widely yield-limiting due to the unusually high rates of evapotranspiration, even where irrigation was clo...
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What’s the impact of removing straw?

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While rain has now fallen in most regions, the recent hot weather has significantly impacted grass growth meaning, unfortunately, many dairy farmers will be heading into the winter with a shortage of silage. As has been well publicised over recent weeks, many farmers are baling their straw to help their colleagues with cattle. But what impact does ...
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