Will cover crops benefit farmers north of the border?

Good-landscape-crop-view
With the environmental and agronomic benefits they bring, it is not surprising that cover crops have become increasingly popular throughout the UK. However in Scotland, thanks to cooler climates and the later harvest of cereal crops, the use of over-winter cover crops poses a particular challenge. For example In Tayside, spring barley will typicall...
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#FrontierSouth - An insight into new wheat varieties

Spring-sown-wheat
The AHDB Recommended List saw the addition of four new wheat varieties available to market for crop 2019. With many of my growers in the south seeking more information on these additions, I thought it would be worthwhile taking a look at the pros and cons of each as well as investigating how they compare against current options.  1. RGT Gravit...
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#FrontierSouth - Moisture meters: not glamorous but very important

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Often overlooked, the humble grain moisture meter is a significant piece of equipment that can help to determine the key characteristics of your crop while harvesting, drying and ensuring the correct storage. Accurate readings are crucial for safeguarding the condition of your grain so it's important to ensure your meter is in full-working order. W...
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Spring pulse sowing

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Almost the entire country has fallen foul to the wet weather this spring. Apart from a very short break just before Easter, the severity of the recent rainfall has precluded almost any seedbed preparation and sowing of crops. In fact, it is now the middle of April and many growers are asking, " It is too late to sow spring beans ?" Whilst we genera...
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Protecting soil from erosion

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At the Oxford Farming Conference, Michael Gove spoke to growers about the increasing pressures on our agricultural industry. One of the most influential factors is the ever-growing global population, expanding at an alarming rate. With it comes higher consumer expectations and an increased demand for high-quality, wholesome foods, alongside greater...
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Review your application plans for grassland

Standing-Grass-Fieldcropped
​I doubt it comes as much of a surprise that, as with our arable crops , the severe weather of late has significantly delayed nitrogen applications to grassland too. While we did have a bit of a break from the constant rainfall, unfortunately the sun didn't get chance to offer much solace before the heavens opened again.  While the weather is ...
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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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Technological innovations

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Well, the winter workshop campaign has finished for another year and was hugely successful – it is always a pleasure to tour the country seeing our customers. At the workshops, I talked about what we have been developing at SOYL over the last year, as well as how and why farmers should be using these innovations within their businesses. Importance ...
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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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Crucial considerations for successful spring crop establishment following cover crops

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By now, most farmers have destroyed their cover crops and are waiting for the 'ideal' time to drill their spring crops. On heavy land however, that 'ideal' might never come and it's often a test of nerves to see when the land will be fit enough to stand the pressures of heavy machinery. While we seem to be experiencing further adverse weather condi...
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Precision farming and grassland

grass
Over the past few seasons, SOYL has been developing precision farming services for the grassland industry. Grass is the UK's largest crop and is grown in every county. A particular area that became a focus was that of pasture management and we discussed this during our winter workshops. A grassland and livestock famer needs to make constant decisio...
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Precision soil management

SOYL-Frontier-Agricultural-4212
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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Magnesium - the forgotten nutrient?

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At our winter workshops, we discussed the importance of magnesium. It is essential for plant development and occurs naturally in soils across the UK. The amount of magnesium found is predominately dictated by the local geology and, to a lesser degree, soil texture. Fields located over dolomitic limestone will have much higher indices of magnes...
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Does water quality really influence pesticide performance?

spraying
While everyone understands the chemical disposition of water as H 2 O, it actually contains an abundance of ions such as sodium, potassium, chloride, sulphate, calcium, iron, magnesium and carbonates. Those which are 'positively charged' are identified as cations and those which are 'negative' are known as anions. These ions are present in the wate...
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#FrontierWest - Discovering and managing yellow rust

yellow-rust-cover
Although the 'beast from the east' has now left us, it certainly made an impact in Herefordshire by bringing with it a blanket of snow and -5 temperatures, not least with the chaos it caused across the country. Because of this, it's not surprising that input discussions and fertiliser recommendations were put on hold. However, ahead of the storm we...
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SOYL Winter Workshop Roundup

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Just a couple of weeks ago, we drew our Winter Workshop series to a close in Hampshire. Our time on the road took us to a wide range of locations across the UK, including up to Dingwall in Northern Scotland, Stowmarket in the East, Worcester in the West and down to Winchester in the South. In fact, the breadth of our travels can be summarised as th...
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What is so special about iSOYL?

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We get a huge amount of interest in our iPad app, iSOYL. It is used by over 1,000 customers around the world who find it to be a simple and effective way to vary the rates of seed, fertiliser or any other input. A client once asked me, "How does an app do so much!?" Of course, I explained how iSOYL works, but the conversation got me thinking that m...
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Compatible iPads for iSOYL

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It is always the first question we get asked when it comes to customer iPads – is mine compatible when it comes to variable rate? It's easy to assume that "an iPad is an iPad, so it will just work" but unfortunately this is not always the case. Some iPads only have wifi capabilities as opposed to 4G data, while others may not have a GPS module insi...
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#3DThinking - Spring barley

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As you may already know, over the last couple of months we've been speaking to growers up and down the country as part of our series of #3DThinking seminars.  We've seen a great turnout and the seminars give us a really good opportunity to talk about our trials progress and the discoveries made so far. In particular, I've been sharing our find...
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