Delayed applications for arable crops – what next?

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While a distant memory, the warm, dry weather of October and November allowed most winter crops to be drilled in fairly good conditions and establish well. It also encouraged mineralisation, producing good levels of nitrogen to aid early growth. In fact, in the run up to Christmas it very much looked like soil nitrogen levels would be higher than n...
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Variable rate nitrogen - A different perspective

Rory-Geldard
At our recent workshops, I addressed variable rate nitrogen and some of the often 'overlooked' added benefits associated with it.  We have always talked about yield being the key benefit of variable rate nitrogen, with typical responses being somewhere between 3 –8%. In a survey I carried out in June last year, I spoke to over 100 growers and ...
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Variable rate plant growth regulators (PGRs)

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SOYL have been conducting trials using variable rate plant growth regulators (PGRs) on both winter oilseed rape and winter wheat. The premise for variable applications on both crops is the same – that there will be a yield benefit from applying a full rate of PGR on crops that are at risk from lodging because of over-large canopies. However, if the...
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Precision soil management

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Over the past decade the national average wheat yield has remained relatively static at around 8.5 t/ha. However, set this against the biophysical potential of wheat at 19t/ha and the UK's highest recorded wheat yield of 16.52 t/ha back in 2015, and there is clearly a realistic opportunity to improve yields on farm.  But, how can this be achie...
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#FrontierSouth - First Nitrogen Dilemma

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At the time of writing this, the sun's out here in Kent, there's a cloudless sky and the thermometer is touching double digits. Get the spreaders out, it's Saturday afternoon and a rest weekend in the Six Nations. Hold your horses I urge you, as a glance at the faultless weather forecast proves not so conducive for the coming weeks. A band of heavy...
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#FrontierWest - Key points of discussion from our local 3DThinking meetings

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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 gav...
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#FrontierWest - Weathering the rain

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Recently, there have been huge variations in weather between the counties and over very short distances. A generalisation that it has been either wet or dry wouldn't necessarily be true for all. With that in mind, I want to take a look at the weather and the influence this has had on soils and cropping over winter. In Herefordshire and the three co...
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Oilseed rape trials update

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As I'm sure you are aware, we are losing actives in oilseed rape all too regularly. Orius P (tebuconazole + prochloraz) has been revoked as of May 2019 in oilseed rape (although re-registered in wheat, rye and triticale) and Refinzar (picoxystrobin + penthiopyrad) and Oranis (picoxystrobin) must be used by March 2019 to name a few. However, there i...
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#FrontierWest - Ledbury update

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It's been a busy start to the year carrying out training and visiting growers in Herefordshire. I am a trainee agronomist at Frontier in the west and also involved with the team that look after the #3DThinking Ledbury site. The trials that take place there offer valuable insight into the differences between several crop varieties and are a vital ai...
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SOYL to conduct UK's largest variable rate nitrogen trial

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Please click here to visit the SOYL website For those of you who have visited one of our Winter Workshops you will have heard about our launch of the largest ever variable rate nitrogen trial . Here at SOYL we have recognised that an area of huge potential in precision farming is the ability to carry out on-farm trials. While it not only aids ongoi...
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Exploring your options for cover crop desiccation

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At this point in the New Year (and if you haven't already) it's time to plan how you're going to break down your cover crop. While it's true that frosts can do some of the work, most winters (including this one) won't kill cover crops outright. How yours is destroyed can be as important as what was actually grown to allow for the best entry into yo...
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Moving to liquid potato seed treatment

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​ The Frontier Potato Seedcare team and I had a busy few days at Potato 2017 last month, meeting lots of growers and advisors. While we enjoyed a great range of interesting discussions with those who attended, there was one topic which proved particularly popular – the move to liquid seed treatment. Attendees were keen to discuss the possibility of...
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Get a precise focus on your EFAs

Changes are ahead for Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs). However, by taking a more precise approach to tailor the farm areas allocated to EFAs and choosing longer term crop options, they still represent a fantastic opportunity to improve biodiversity and the farm's bottom line. EFAs have hit the headlines due to the imminent removal of the use of Plant...
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#FrontierEast - Gearing up for Christmas - Swaffham, Norfolk

December marks the start of the festive period and as the song goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." However, for a young aspiring agronomist December is not all about winding down, but gearing up! The winter months give an ideal opportunity for meetings, discussion groups, farm planning, cropping reports, assessing harvest results and ...
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No-spray buffer zones - not all herbicides are created equal

No-spray buffer zones have become more common on Plant Protection Product (PPP) labels as greater environmental standards are applied by the regulators. No-spray buffers make products more difficult to use, but are good in that otherwise the affected products would not be available in the UK. Products containing clomazone, a herbicide used by many ...
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Variable rate drilling to reach field potential

With harvest winding up and drilling beginning it seems timely to share how I use a number of precision tools to create the 'Rolls Royce' of drilling plans - using variable rate seed to give each field the capacity to reach its full potential. For a long time farmers have 'manually' adjusted seed rates in poorer performing areas of the field on an ...
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P and K management for high-yielding crops

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Recently, I drew up a number of medium term nutrient strategies for clients. This inspired me to put down some of my thoughts around this topic in writing. Across the SOYL client base growers who maintain a robust and thorough approach to phosphate (P) and potassium (K) applications are those who consistently achieve high yields. I sometimes h...
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Avadex - part of a pre-em herbicide stack to fight black-grass

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When it comes to managing 'difficult' grass weeds in cereal crops there is no silver bullet. What's required is a long-term plan that encompasses a range of measures which can be adapted to accommodate local conditions and seasonal variations. Herbicide programmes remain an essential element of black-grass control. With the decline in activity of p...
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Thoughts on the new RB209

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I run the Applications Team at SOYL and we provide P, K, Mg, Lime, Nitrogen and Seed recommendations for over 1 million UK arable hectares. The agronomy models that we use are based on SOYL's 24 years of crop nutrition experience alongside the industry nutrition guide - the RB209. We have been waiting for the updated version of the new RB209 since ...
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Sugar beet choices for 2018

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It's that time of year when growers are turning to the BBRO Recommended List (RL) to make selections for the season ahead. It's natural to be drawn to the varieties that have delivered impressive yields. That's important but there are other important considerations to heed – such as how early you will be drilling and how prone the variety is to bol...
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