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What's all this talk about winter cover crops?

Some of you will be familiar with the use of winter cover crops and may drill them already, but for those of you still with bare land or contemplating them for the first time, there is still an opportunity to bring them into the rotation. With the recent hotter temperatures helping many areas to retain warm soils, conditions are favourable for drilling too, meaning cover could soon be bringing a host of benefits to your farm.

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The importance of grain store management

This year we've seen an elevated amount of storage challenges across the industry, a problem faced by both farmers and professional stores alike.

The extreme weather conditions last harvest meant that most crops went into stores without needing to be dried, with some farmers combining crops at night in a bid to avoid the intense heat and elevate moisture content.

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Pre-harvest crop management: desiccation methods

As harvest gets closer, attention is no doubt turning to pre-harvest management of crops. In particular, desiccation using glyphosate is one of the key considerations at this time. Some of you may have already completed desiccation on certain crops but for those who are yet to start, there are considerations to bear in mind.

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Maize – what to think about for 2023

I think we'd all agree last year was a challenging one, with the lowest amount of rainfall ever recorded since records began. When we look at the results from last season's maize harvest, it's important to understand the notable weather patterns we saw and the effects they had.

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Inspiring production: Growing cereals and oilseed crops for world record yields

Lincolnshire farmer, Tim Lamyman is synonymous with growing record combinable crop yields, so much so that he's now outdone his previous successes.

Following Tim's achievements in 2021, we were thrilled to learn of his recent accolades, having achieved a new world record for winter wheat with a staggering 17.96t/ha and specific weight of 83.6kg/hl with the DSV variety Champion.

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Field grain analysis results

As we've mentioned before, the only real way to measure the effect of nitrogen is at the end of the season when we have the opportunity to analyse grain on an individual-field basis. From this, the findings can highlight the specific adjustments needed for the following season.

Frontier and SOYL Precision's field grain analysis service gives interpretation over all the essential nutrients to make sure you as a grower get the most from your data. In this blog, I'll focus on the nitrogen analysis results from this year's sampling.

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The use of catch and cover crops

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Today, there's more emphasis on sustainable, environmentally friendly crop production systems. As a result, cover and catch crops are becoming a widely understood and embraced method for aiding soil health.

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Field grain analysis can help determine the success of your fertiliser programme

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With harvest just beginning, now seems a sensible time to draw breath and assess the season before harvest gets in full swing followed in short order by establishing next year's crops.

And what a season it's been. Yes, there have been weather events to talk about, especially the dry April and for some also the first half of May and most of June, but these pale in comparison to the economic impacts we've seen in the last 12 months.No more so than in my world of fertiliser, where an initial new season price for AN back in June 2021 - at 81p/kg N (£280/t) - was considered by some to be too expensive, only to then rise dramatically during the season to an eye watering £2.68/kg N (£925/t) at the peak.

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The value of pod sealants for oilseed rape

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The economics of growing oilseed rape have fundamentally changed over the last few years. Throughout this period, we have seen its value move from approximately £320/t in harvest 2020, to £440/t in 2021, to the heights of 2022 of £900/t. Currently, this has come back to £550/t for harvest. The crop has never been so valuable.

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Maize: Season review and post-harvest soil management with cover crops

Maize is a high-value crop with a number of uses and so it is not surprising to see that the planted area is increasing year on year. With harvest now complete, it's a good opportunity to think about the learnings from this season as well as any steps you can take to reduce overwinter soil erosion and nutrient loss following removal of the crop.

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Getting the best from your fallow

​With more growers now getting involved with Countryside Stewardship, a key option that many are selecting is the AB15 two-year legume fallow. This option is proving to be particularly popular as growers weigh up the pros and cons of various break crops, including oilseed rape.

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Preparing oilseed rape for harvest

Harvest is just around the corner for oilseed rape and there are some final but important tasks required now that the crop has reached this point in its life cycle. Across the country, many oilseed rape crops have been looking well but this means that careful consideration is required when planning desiccation and necessary steps should be taken to safeguard crop potential.

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Develop your soil management plan pre-harvest

​In the first blog of this soil management series, we're exploring why it's vital to start planning for soil management in autumn-drilled crops well in advance of planting; when the previous crop is still in the ground.

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P and K blog series: The important considerations for post-harvest applications

The stark variation across the country has continued into harvest this year, with some areas completed a couple of weeks ago while others are struggling to make real headway as a result of the wet weather. Where completed, the SOYL applications team has been busy processing fertiliser recommendations ready for post-harvest P and K applications - allowing new season orders to be booked. 

For many growers though, doing this raises the question: What considerations should be made when planning P and K management?

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Grassweed series: Stubble management for grassweed control

Last month we published the first in our series of blogs on grassweed management, looking specifically at black-grass, its characteristics and the strategies to take pre-harvest. You can read the blog here.

As with management before harvest, efforts to control grassweeds are crucial post-harvest too. Cultivation strategies during this time can have a significant impact on the overall grassweed burden for the following crop, but it is important to understand the biology of the individual species in order to use cultural options to the best effect. 

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Market report - 4th June 2020

Cooler, wetter weather in the UK has brought some welcome relief to crops which, as a result, has brought out a few sellers. However, the UK will still need to import substantial quantities of rapeseed into the UK next season.

For 2019, rapeseed markets were mainly supply driven but, since the Covid-19 crisis, we've seen the collapse in demand for mineral oils and rapeseed oil as a result of the lockdowns imposed on industries that would ordinarily need these products. Typically, in the EU, 60% of the demand for rapeseed oil goes into biofuels, with the rest into the food service industry.

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Grassweed series: Black-grass management pre-harvest

Black-grass is major problem on many UK farms and it is now widely accepted that fully integrated solutions to manage the weed are fundamental to achieving any kind of success. Ultimately, most approaches are aimed at limiting seed return in order to reduce the overall population pressure.

In this blog, I discuss a number of management options that should be considered pre-harvest to reduce seed return and which should form part of an overall, long term plan to eradicate the weed.

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Market report - 15th January 2019

As sterling continues to fall, ex farm rapeseed prices in the UK remain supported. Markets are also seeing strong demand from crushers for the winter period as vegetable oil markets continue to find good support.

This week will also see the 'phase one' agreement between the US and China as part of their ongoing trade deal negotiations. However, as Brazilian soybeans are currently cheaper than the US, it is unlikely that China will switch supply unless there is a significant increase in demand. 

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Spring crop switch? Seeking information now will increase options

We've experienced a quite extraordinary start to the cropping year and as I look at news reports showing land under water I can only imagine the extent of the challenges being faced by some farmers. By now, in England, most would have hoped to finish drilling never mind not even started in some cases.

Understandably and economically getting a winter cereal crop is still the goal right up to February, depending on the variety, for those who can. However, for some that ship has already sailed and a new 'Plan B' will be the reality. For many, even those not so dramatically affected, some change of cropped area is underway with a shift towards spring crops inevitable. 

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Market report - 14th August 2019

​Markets fall following USDA corn and wheat predictions Another USDA report has been and gone without providing any fodder for the bulls. Instead, the report shocked the market by increasing the US corn and wheat output and markets tumbled to lower limits by close of play on Monday. The biggest surprises were the acreage and yields for corn. The ac...

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