It’s not what you spend, it’s how you use it. That’s what differentiates a top wheat grower from an average one, according to ten years of data ProCam’s 4cast agronomy system.

The best winter wheat growers achieve gross margins around 25% higher than the average, notes ProCam’s agronomy manager Nick Myers.

“This is largely due to sound agronomy programmes, which concentrate on reducing costs/tonne and maximising yields, rather than cutting back on inputs.”

In most years, cereal growers up and down the country spend much the same on crop inputs overall, he explains. “But the better ones manage their crops more efficiently. Fungicides and application timing are still the most important factors affecting yields and margins.”

4cast figures show that the cost per tonne for the lower performing producers is usually around £50-£60, while for the top 25% it is closer to £30-£40.

“It’s all about managing crops properly rather than being too concerned with the total spend,” highlights Mr Myers. “Quite often, the more you spend, the greater the return.”

One key trend to emerge over the last ten years is the performance of first and second wheats, he adds. “The gap between them has closed considerably. There was a 1t/ha difference in 2002, now it’s just 0.4t/ha.”

To see the ProCam data from the past 10 years go to our wheat page.