Over 125 growers attended our local 3D Thinking meetings to hear the latest findings and advice from our Discovery, Development and Demonstration programmes. With breakfast events held in Herefordshire and Worcestershire and an evening meeting in Gloucestershire, there was a large attendance from across the West Midlands and Wales. The meetings gave an overview of current issues faced by growers and ideas on how to maintain resilience with agronomy and therefore take advantage of the UK grain market.
Andrew Hartley, Frontier National Trials Manager, gave an overview of the 2016-17 season by discussing the results of Frontier's 12,000 plots which are spread across ten different sites in England and Scotland.
The increasing pressure upon chemistry, seen in recent years from regulation and declining efficacy, has highlighted the importance of using an integrated approach towards disease control. Starting the season with strong varieties that have broad disease profiles will give a solid foundation on which to then build in cultural and chemical control, resulting in the best protection against disease.
Work carried out in collaboration with CHAP (Crop Health and Protection) further identifies future technologies as a way to improve on-farm efficiency and disease management. For example, the use of spore traps helps monitor in-field concentrations to determine the optimum conditions for treating crops with fungicides and other treatments. These results reveal the importance of local trials in demonstrating varietal performance under the weather and soil conditions relevant to growers in the surrounding area.
Edward Downing, National Crop Nutrition Technical Manager, discussed the methods for managing the nutrient and organic matter status of your soil and how this can increase biological health and resilience. Regular sampling identifies deficiencies or issues arising from pH within the soil, so it is vital that the correct product is chosen to support crop health, vigour and yield.
In fact, a recent cultural shift has been seen within the industry, with soil health becoming a main issue of debate both at political and grass-root levels. Across all three meetings, Edward presented practical solutions to growers to ensure the basic needs of the soil are met, from which a journey towards optimising the health of the land can begin.
Finally, our Head Oilseed Trader, Philip Kimber, highlighted the challenges following a record world wheat harvest in the 2016-17 season, which proceeded four years of record production. The low volatility and relatively low price seen in the UK grain market can be associated with the larger global production. Producers such as Russia have been able to dominate in the global export trade of wheat, given their record wheat crop.
Global interactions also shape the vegetable oil and meal markets, of which rapeseed contributes approximately 62 million tonnes of rapeseed or canola. This is in comparison to soybean's estimated global production of 350 million tonnes. Consequently, as products compete into similar applications and uses, rapeseed will tend to follow the larger soybean market for market direction.
Countries such as Brazil and Argentina produce soya over a vast area which is why the area can be susceptible to the effects of severe weather patterns during a growing season. While current soybean stocks remain pretty healthy, it's still important that production stays ample to meet the growing demand, particularly China. Anything that disrupts the flow of soya to the market will add to the volatility of the market, creating opportunities for UK rapeseed growers to benefit from any price rises.
Local conditions can cause subtle changes to trade flows which need to be understood to gain maximum benefit when growing for particular markets. It's all the more important in wheat when the volatility and opportunities in the global markets are less obvious and subdued.
Visit a trial site demonstration
The 3D local meetings have been a fantastic start to the year. For your chance to see some of our 3DThinking work firsthand, please book a place at your local trial site Open Day. Here in the west, our focus will be on the Ledbury site with events on the 26th and 27th of June 2018.
If you would like to book your place please contact your local Frontier advisor or call 01989 780807.