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Minimise the impact of CSFB by getting oilseed rape off to the best start

Despite recent challenges, oilseed rape (OSR) remains a profitable break crop which can also aid grassweed control in your rotation. Of course, success is dependent on good establishment, which in turn relies on strong attention to detail.

Although recent weather patterns may have presented some difficulties for other combinable crops during the harvest period, there is a silver lining in that the increased soil moisture will aid seedbed preparation and drilling. 

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Considerations for the establishment of spring crops

Good establishment of spring crops is critical for optimising yield and getting them off to the best start also provides well-known cultural grassweed control benefits. Spring may seem a long way off but with some growers opting to drill spring wheat and barley in late autumn or early winter, considering everything from seed rates, weed control, soil management, nutrition, pests and disease will stand crops in good stead for the season.

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Grassweed control into winter

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Following my blog about early grassweed control in August, at this time of year we're now moving towards the final application which is aimed at 'finishing off' the job by using propyzamide.

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How to manage early drilled wheat crops this season


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If you've drilled your wheat crop early this year, you may be wondering how to mitigate the challenges that tend to become apparent at this time of the season. Grassweeds, barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) and the crop's general nutrition are important to keep on top of when managing your crop.

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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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Clubroot – mitigating a growing problem

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Oilseed rape crops have been through a tough time due to the threat posed by cabbage stem flea beetle. In addition, the crop has also faced some very challenging establishment periods. In response growers have adapted how they establish oilseed rape and many have now resorted to drilling the crop throughout a bigger window than what has been done in the past. There's now also a greater emphasis on drilling crops when the conditions are right, rather than just going by calendar date.

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Optimising beet yield if delaying lifting to increase sugars

Right now, beet crops are looking good. We're seeing high plant stand and root weight and, on the whole, virus yellows appear to be even lower than predicted after the cold spring.

However, while a reduction in the number of usual sunshine hours didn't impact oilseed rape yields this season - possibly because the frosts helped with canopy management – it's reported that the sugar percentage in beet needs time to increase to ensure haulage of good, adjusted tonnage. 

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When it rains it pours: Managing your wild bird seed and game crops

​Unpredictable weather seems to be the order of the day at the moment. After what was a very dry and cold April, May has brought about warmer temperatures and a considerable amount of rainfall. At Kings, much of our time had been spent advising growers not to drill wild bird seed and game cover crops too early but given the drastic change in weather, we're now finding that many simply cannot get onto plots because it is too wet.

Now that we are entering the peak planting window from mid-May through to mid-June, I've compiled some timely points of advice to help you make the most of the next four weeks. 

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How we supported this year's gold medal YEN winner, Tim Lamyman

This week we were delighted to hear that one of our customers, Tim Lamyman, has scooped both a silver and gold medal in this year's Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) competition. Congratulations, Tim!

The 2019/20 cropping season was one that none of us will forget in a hurry, with one of the wettest autumns and winters in recent history. This was followed in quick succession by a drought and low levels of incoming solar radiation during the key grain filling period. 

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Companion crops: supporting OSR establishment

While the place of oilseed rape as a commercial break crop has been unchallenged for many years, increased pressure from cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) in many regions – coupled with other variables such as soil type, previous cropping considerations, moisture availability and variety choice – has meant that the successful establishment of the crop requires some important planning.

Fortunately though, for those considering oilseed rape in next year's rotation, there could be quite an innovative 'tool' available within the establishment 'workshop'.

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Pre-harvest grain store management

The ability to store grain can be a fundamental aspect of a crop marketing strategy, providing growers with the opportunity to sell for later movement.

Of course, this can only be successful when effective grain storage facilities and management plans are in place, as these are pivotal for safeguarding premiums and grain quality to lessen the risk of rejections and claims.

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The value of a sound crop protection program

​Over the past decade, we have seen many new fungicide actives tested and have also lost many others from the store as they are revoked.​

As growers start to look closely at fungicide programs for their winter wheat crops, it is interesting to look into the yield trends generated in Frontier's 3D Thinking trials to see where the contribution to overall yield will come from during the growing season.

The 3D Thinking program has always studied fungicides, their effect on yield and how to maximise the value gained from them.

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Ramularia leaf spot in barley – life after chlorothalonil

Ramularia causes leaf spot symptoms in barley. While it has typically been more of an issue in the north of the UK, it is now being reported with increasing frequency further south. The disease has historically been a bigger issue in spring barley but the economic losses in winter barley are now an increasing problem too.

The disease has a complicated life cycle and is seed, air and trash-borne. The fungus, Ramularia collo-cygni, causes ramularia and grows from infected seed. It then moves systemically within new plant growth. Airborne spores produced on trash and crop debris can also infect plants.

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Variable crops will require a considered PGR approach this season

​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 warm...

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The impact of flea beetle larvae

​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. It...

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The laws of physics or the rules of nature?

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 own ...

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Hold your nerve – don’t drill fields with bad black-grass until mid-October

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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Weathering the weather

Cultivation and drilling strategy for 2018/19 Weather, a subject always of interest to farmers, seems more topical than ever. Today's 'drought summit' sees NFU president, Minette Batters meeting Whitehall officials amid fears that the heatwave could have a serious affect on food production. The implications of drought are wide ranging for agricultu...

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How to best protect your investment at T3 in winter wheat

In spite of turbulent weather this spring most crops are looking reasonably clean. The focus now turns to protecting the investment made to date and ensuring crops fulfil their full potential, both in-terms of yield and quality. The true fusarium risk this season is still to evolve and will very much depend on the weather conditions in the next cou...

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#FrontierSouth - Start summer at a Malshanger 3DThinking open day

As part of my role as a farm trader, I take a proactive interest in crop development throughout the season to make sure I am providing the best possible advice to my growers. This can vary from anything to do with varietal choice right through to suitable marketing strategies based on what I am seeing in the field.   3DThinking This week, I vi...

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