Important updates and advice regarding coronavirus (Covid-19)

Have you got worms?

With winter fast approaching, it's time to reach into the back of your truck, grab your spade and start digging to look for those all-important earthworms. The Lumbricus terrestris (as the common earthworm is scientifically known) comes in all different shapes and sizes and although small, offers significant benefits to agriculture simply due to it...
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Potato sprout suppression: CIPC fogging in 2017 and future development

Given recent regulatory changes how can potato store managers adapt working practices to ensure CIPC fogging remains an effective tool even at new lower dosage levels? The CIPC Stewardship Group has widely advertised summer 2017 changes to CIPC potato sprout suppressant labels that, amongst other requirements, brought in reduced individual and maxi...
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Can we support your event? An open invitation to the industry

There's a saying that there's no such thing as a free lunch and while that might be true, there is such a thing as a free presentation on the very latest in precision farming techniques and tips. It is the time of year when I and other senior members of the SOYL team spend a lot of time presenting to growers around the country. We have always enjoy...
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So how have your crops yielded this year?

There have been some fantastic crop yields reported this year. Early harvested sugar beet crops are yielding particularly well, with 100t/ha already talked about and plenty of growth to come from crops still in the ground. Forage maize crops are also performing very well, as did the hybrid rye crops foraged earlier this year. The cereal harvest was...
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It's that time of year again - SOYL Winter Workshops

We've just announced the details of our SOYL Winter Workshops which kick off at the end of November and run right through towards the end of February. To some, hosting so many workshops across England and Scotland might seem like quite an undertaking but we are always encouraged by the positive feedback we receive from both regular and new attendee...
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Controlling black-grass with a cultural method - is that possible?

Controlling black-grass in a rotation is a regular topic of conversation for many farmers – looking at how to best maintain, control and, more importantly, get on top of black-grass. After decades of research across the industry and experts recommending key steps on how to master the spread of this prolific weed, the simple answer is that sadly the...
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Getting a grip on brome this season

The wet weather we've endured this summer has been depressing but it does have some advantages related to controlling troublesome brome grassweeds. Brome plants have been able to establish well in moist seed beds in the last few weeks allowing us to take a stale seed bed approach to controlling them. Meanwhile, cereal crop drilling has been delayed...
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Grey partridges need you

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After a long and protracted harvest for many we are now seeing fields cleared leaving land and farm managers who have an interest in farmland wildlife with a hugely rewarding and valuable task to undertake... counting grey partridges! The grey partridge is a key farmland bird indicator species and helps to show that your hard work in terms of habit...
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Phoma - timing and plant size is everything

At this time of year young rape crops can be at risk of phoma damage and small plants with low resistance scores are most at risk. Catching the disease early is the most important aspect of control and what a difference a year makes! Cast your mind back 12 months and OSR crops could largely be split into two categories, particularly in southern 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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Compatibility with John Deere Greenstar equipment

The John Deere Greenstar family of products has always been one of the most popular used by SOYL clients to carry out variable rate applications. There have been four models of Greenstar, all of which are capable of making variable rate applications with SOYL application maps. In this blog we look at current compatibility and delve into a bit of hi...
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Accepting EFA changes... and embracing them!

The latest Ecological Focus Area (EFA) changes announced for 2018 have caused much speculation among my colleagues and growers too. In particular, people have been very animated about the loss of crop protection products within EFAs, with some seeing it as reducing the value of EFA options on farm. Meanwhile, DEFRA termed this as a complete BAN whi...
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From 'must have' iPhones... to 'must have' wheats

Listening to the news this week about the launch of the iPhone 10 (or iPhone X as it's going to be known) and the eye watering price at which this new device has been listed, made me think about the annual new wheat variety launch we see in the UK. I have no doubt that iPhone X will already have a sell out order book as people rush to have the late...
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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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Water use on farm and new Red Tractor standards

New standards for Red Tractor will be launched on the 1st October 2017. The standards bring a few key changes to the way growers record and manage water use for irrigation. The changes aren't particularly significant and are being introduced to further improve the way we manage use of water on our land. They do, however, have the potential to catch...
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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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Conditions looking good for early sown OSR... and weeds

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With soils generally moist and temperatures typically around 14-16oC, conditions are looking good for early sown OSR. However, inevitably this means conditions are also good for weed growth and we're already seeing flushes of black-grass emerging in young crops as seen in this emerging rape crop near Colchester earlier this week. Timing is everythi...
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Hedgerows and woodland - Get ahead, get a plan

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The annual period during which landowners are prevented from cutting hedges under cross-compliance recently came to an end. With this important annual restriction in place to protect wildlife from 1 st March until 31 st August, it's tempting to set about hedge cutting in earnest come September. However, there are very good reasons to be selective w...
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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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