6 June 2001
ARC, Internet rescue arable events

By Tom Allen-Stevens

ARABLE Research Centres, the farmer-funded trials organisation based in the Cotswolds, is to open some of its crop sites to non-members.

In a normal season, ARC would provide over 100 field days per year, but restrict them to its 1100-strong membership, who pay up to 550 per year in subscription fees.

Foot-and-mouth has hit the events this year, but the organisation has now decided to hold a limited number open to all growers after movement restrictions were relaxed.

Elsewhere, a string of cancelled events has left growers hungry for trial-site demonstrations, and many are being switched to the Internet.

The Arable Event, a demonstration of the latest inputs technology put on by Velcourt at Cereals, can now be seen here on FWi.

“Wed put in so much effort, and theres such a lot to see,” said Velcourts technical director Keith Norman.

“It would have been a crying shame if the whole lot was chopped down and wasted.”

Mr Norman believes this so-called vir-trial reality has distinct advantages over the one-day snapshot growers usually receive from visiting trials.

“On the site you can see from start to finish how it has progressed. On a visit to an event youll only be scratching the surface of what the plots can tell you.”

NIAB, meanwhile, has tried hard to recreate the atmosphere of the cancelled Seed 2001 event on its new-look website.

Once you have registered and arrived at the virtual event, you have to park your virtual car before walking to the virtual marquee.

A NIAB doctor will answer frequently asked questions on a “first aid stand”.

NIABs Paul Nelson said: “You can glean all the impartial and commercial advice from the site from the comfort of your own armchair,”.

NIAB hopes to have an e-mail forum on the day of the cancelled event – 26 June.

Members of the Crops team, however, will be going further afield to get their technical fix: theyre crossing the channel to Frances arable event, Les Culturales.

Joining them will be agronomists from trip sponsors Aubourn Farming and six Crops readers and competition winners.

  • The ARC field days will be taking place on 12-14, 26 and 27 June, and 5 July, with more dates in the north to be confirmed. Interested growers should contact ARC on 01285 652184 or visit the website – www.arable.co.uk.
  • For a full report on Les Culturales and more on vir-trial reality, see the 23 June issue of Crops.
  • Velcourt Arable Event on FWi
  • Seed 2001 Online.

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