Top tips if you're starting to supplementary feed

As temperatures plummet across the UK this week – and for pretty much the first time this winter – it's timely to begin spreading supplementary seed in key areas across the farm for our farmland birds. Sown wild bird seed mixtures may continue to do their job at this time of year but as they are depleted, many birds are at risk of starvation later ...
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Get a precise focus on your EFAs

Changes are ahead for Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs). However, by taking a more precise approach to tailor the farm areas allocated to EFAs and choosing longer term crop options, they still represent a fantastic opportunity to improve biodiversity and the farm's bottom line. EFAs have hit the headlines due to the imminent removal of the use of Plant...
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#FrontierEast - Gearing up for Christmas - Swaffham, Norfolk

December marks the start of the festive period and as the song goes, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." However, for a young aspiring agronomist December is not all about winding down, but gearing up! The winter months give an ideal opportunity for meetings, discussion groups, farm planning, cropping reports, assessing harvest results and ...
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Why should I be digitally recording on-farm data?

Over the coming winter months I will be talking to hundreds of UK farmers about SOYL's Precision Farming application, MySOYL, and other associated in-field apps. Many will likely wonder what value there is in recording what they see on farm in an app and have this data synced to a central place. Our field-walking app, iSOYLscout, does exactly this ...
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Data analysis comes alive at this year's workshops

A few clients have asked me what to expect at this year's SOYL winter workshops. You can find a general overview in this article but as the team finalise their slide decks, I'm starting to see a very clear theme: Data. There's been a lot of talk about data in recent years and we're now starting to see very positive learnings by analysing complex pr...
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Why and how would you do your own late-November plant counts?

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During germination a proportion of viable seeds can fail to emerge due to pests, diseases and soil conditions, impacting the total viable plants in the spring. Conversely, too high a plant population can increase canopy size (GAI) and reduce the ability of individual plants to compete for light and resources, meaning there will be fewer grains on e...
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Have you considered correcting your pH with lime?

We experience many different scenarios during the farming year while providing support and files to over 100 lime contractors from across the UK. After what has been a very hectic few weeks dealing with lime contractors desperate to get onto clear land, I thought it would be worth writing a short blog on liming and things to consider when it comes ...
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Enhanced Metaldehyde Stewardship and Red Tractor

Since October 2017, adherence to the Enhanced Metaldehyde Stewardship has become a requirement of the Red Tractor scheme. The newly updated Combinable Crops and Sugar Beet and Fresh Produce standards will now be part of future crop audits and may have left you with several questions.   What does this mean for me? It will impact most growers an...
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Managing establishment

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The establishment of crops is measured by the percentage of seeds that result in a viable crop. For example, what would be considered the 'good' part of a field might establish at 90%, whereas a 'poor' part may only establish at 50%. SOYL customers have access to several tools designed to aid with managing crop establishment, as well as lots of inf...
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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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