23 June 1995

Elmdon insights into husbandry

THOUGH sprayers dominate the main arena at Whittlesford, a short walk over the M11 bridge or coach ride to Elmdon can provide a useful insight into crop husbandry developments.

The event has two themes: Input management to optimise economic cereal yields and boost profits and how high-tech farming will affect future management practices.

Elmdon is the venue for field-scale trials on a heavy-land site, focussing on grass weed control and herbicide resistance in particular.

Blackgrass is the number one target, with East Anglian distributor Procam demonstrating its ideas on a cost-effective control programme. Not surprisingly Cibas new autumn contact-acting graminicide clodinafop (Topik) features strongly.

According to Pat Ryan, herbicide specialist at Ciba, clodinafop may help growers develop better strategies for managing the threat of herbicide resistance. He maintains that the key to such strategies is the speed at which resistance develops.

Rothamsted herbicide specialist Steve Moss acknowledges that clodinafop may be less affected by resistance than other products. But he warns against growers relying too heavily upon it. After a brief "honeymoon" period of improved control, they could still face resistance.

Details of Cibas new herbicide resistance risk assessment will be available at the event to help growers reconsider herbicide resistance management on their own farms.

Another feature at Elmdon is Sentry Farmings new long-term project to assess the future for rotations in an economic climate which is set to change over the coming years.

Large blocks of five different crops have been established to represent a typical wheat-dominated regime, explains the companys Colin Peters. He hopes the demonstration will provide a useful stimulus for discussions about the value of breaks in the rotation.

Superimposed on the Sentry plots is an evaluation of a novel plant growth regulator.

Elmdon also features variety demonstrations laid on by Cargill. A coach service regularly ferries visitors from the main Whittlesford site.

FLYING VISIT?

Ciba Agriculture reminds visitors that flying into Duxford aerodrome is an option when visiting Sprays & Sprayers.