Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

Opportunities to make soil sampling pay

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With a bullish global fertiliser market pushing prices up as we approach the new season, the importance of soil sampling to help optimise inputs is arguably greater than ever before. When you combine this with the recent Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) release stating growers can be financially rewarded for monitoring and improving soil health, it's not surprising to learn that sampling is becoming a greater priority.

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Getting direction from your maps

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​As we head into another harvest, it's important to get your bearings and plan your route ahead for the next and following cropping years. The concept of 'mapping your future' isn't new to everyone, but it has grown in significance following recent announcements about the Environment Land Management (ELM) scheme and the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI). In fact, specific 'standards' or 'land management actions' have been highlighted as a key part of the SFI and monitoring activity and results is central to the scheme.

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Develop your soil management plan pre-harvest

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​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

Fertiliser spread

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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Are you making the most of biomass imagery?

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Unlike some of the advances in precision farming, biomass imagery doesn't require specialist or expensive equipment. In fact all that's really needed is a computer and a desire to discover some information that could be of value to your farm business.

Surprisingly, however, there are a number of farmers who are not fully utilising biomass imagery and its benefits – but why the reluctance?

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Cutting your fuel costs with variable rate

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I'm sure farmers across the UK breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday, as it was confirmed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the tax break on red diesel would remain in place for the agricultural industry.

Over the past week, farmers have been steeling themselves for a potential 50% rise in fuel costs following reports that the tax relief was going to be scrapped altogether as part of the 2020 Budget. While the news is a positive outcome for the industry the Chancellor has, however, announced that other sectors will be stripped of the tax exemption in two years' time. 

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How did you start 2020?

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At this point of the year, I find that New Year's resolutions tend to have gone one of three ways. They are either still going strong (well done if that's you), have merely been forgotten about, or have fallen at the wayside because although you tried, one small blip meant you had to shelve it for next year so you can try again.

While I'm often in the group who start with the best of intentions but don't quite see them through, there is one 'resolution' that I simply haven't been able to ignore: adapting to change.

This year, food production is under pressure from many different angles and regardless of your view on the validity of change, we can be certain that UK agriculture will need to adjust in order to survive and thrive

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'Precision conservation'

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'Precision conservation' is a relatively new phrase within our collective businesses and, as such, it is right to ask the question: What does it actually refer to?

For most, 'precision' and 'conservation' are two words not immediately associated with one another. In an agricultural context, 'conservation' can have us thinking wistfully of tussocky field corners and snaking wildflower margins. Of course, when you really think about it, the location of these features is never by accident. Some planning is always involved and that's when the link between the two words becomes clearer.

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If you only attend one event this winter...

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Over the last 12 years, more than 10,000 customers have attended our annual series of winter events. While we've always covered the latest innovations in precision farming, this year I'm thrilled to say that we'll be sharing some of our most varied and forward-thinking content to date.

From November through to February, we're travelling the breadth of the UK to talk all things digital crop production as part of a series of half-day events. As with previous years, we'll be sharing the latest in precision technology including our research, industry developments and the latest updates to our own tools and applications. However, in a first we'll also be sharing the floor with colleagues from Frontier Agriculture and Kings Crops

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Using MyAccount - what if you're not a 'techie'?

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Digital innovation, new technology and the million reasons why I have been doing everything wrong for the last 30 years seem to be everywhere at the moment. The press is full of stories about technology that promises me robots and self-driving tractors, as well as predictions of when my crops will next be under attack by everything from septoria to...
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Next time you log into MySOYL...

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I was recently speaking to a SOYL customer on the phone as he logged back into MySOYL for the first time in a few months. As I talked him through the steps, he hesitated when he got to the main dashboard after logging in. "What do all these other buttons do?" he queried. ​ He was referring to some of the other applications available alongside MySOY...
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What is MyFarm?

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​ While some of our customers are already familiar with our farm management platform, MyFarm, a recent upgrade has led to some exciting developments to its applications and overall functionality. Free to all Frontier customers, the latest version has been designed as a result of farmer-feedback. The platform now provides a one-stop shop to manage e...
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Creating your own seed rate trials using MySOYL

Create your own seed rate
  Choosing the seed rate is a crucial decision that every grower has to make before drilling, but how can you ensure you're using the optimum rate for your field? As well as the usual calculation, SOYL's MySOYL application – available as part of Frontier's MyFarm farm management platform - can help you to conduct specific trials to gain a bett...
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Lime application plans in under a minute

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Whilst the combines have been rolling, I have been speaking to an increasing number of customers and advisers who are looking to prepare for 2020 harvest crops. A common topic often covered is liming policy and the challenges associated with planning and prioritising applications. We have previously posted about the benefits of correcting soil pH a...
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Get a better view of your farm

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Using satellites to get a different perspective of your farm really can open up a wealth of opportunities. Of course, we all know that satellite imagery isn't a new thing – people have been using it to take images of crops since 1995. However, the accuracy, resolution, frequency and our overall understanding of the technology has drastically improv...
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Meet the team at various events this year

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In my role, I often get asked which events we'll be attending and where customers can catch up with us over the coming months. Our local SOYL colleagues regularly attend and host events up and down the country, sharing expertise and helping customers to make the most of every hectare. Events are a key element of our agricultural calendar and someth...
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Working more efficiently in the field

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I spend a lot of time with farmers and agronomists talking about how they can be more efficient with their time. One of the ways they can achieve this is through capturing observations in the field, using digital tools such as the MyRecs app within MyFarm or the iSOYL Scout app. Recording black-grass and locating the actual affected area using GPS,...
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Open Farm Sunday – five developments that wowed the public

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Yesterday, scores of farms around the UK opened their doors for Open Farm Sunday , an annual event organised by LEAF (Linking the Environment and Food) and sponsored by our parent company Frontier Agriculture since 2008. The SOYL team across the UK supported a number of Open Farm Sunday events which our farmer customers were hosting. What thou...
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How can precision help guide nitrogen applications on milling wheat?

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Many people might assume that yield is the best indicator of whether they have got their nitrogen applications right. However, a better indicator is the protein level in the grain. Grain protein Grain protein with optimum nitrogen for yield in feed varieties is consistently about 11% (1.9%N). Bread making varieties optimise for yield at around 12% ...
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High res imagery; allowing innovation and intervention

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Remote sensing in agriculture is nothing new. However, with drones gaining more publicity over the last few years, some would argue it has felt somewhat revolutionary all over again. Rather than new sensors, what actually came along were new platforms and all too often it is only these that get the attention. We're all made aware when the latest se...
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