9 April 1999

HOW TO GUIDE YOUR FARM TO SUCCESS

FARMING faces an uncertain future.

But a special conference organised by farmers weekly, the NFU and nabim (National Association of British and Irish Millers) aims to provide the answers you need to help steer your business into the new Millennium.

On Weds, Apr 28, a powerful panel of top speakers will address all the key issues. There will be ample time for discussion throughout the day.

The venue for this important meeting is the ICI Centre at the East of England Showground, near Peterborough.

Tickets cost £11.75 each (inc VAT) and include lunch. Complete the coupon below to reserve your place. &#42

&#8226 09.30 Registration and coffee

&#8226 10.00 Chairmans introduction

Sir David Naish

&#8226 10.05 UK farming facing up to uncertainty

Simon Lunniss, head of crops department, NFU.

&#8226 10.20 Cost structure of French arable sector

Jean-Jacques Benezit, agricultural counsellor, French Embassy.

&#8226 10.40 Questions

&#8226 11.00 Coffee

&#8226 11.20 How arable sector can take advantage of Euro trading

Brian Montgomery, senior executive, agricultural office, National

Westminster Bank.

&#8226 11.45 How HGCA R&D can benefit your business

Paul Meakin, research manager, HGCA.

&#8226 12.15 Protein declaration changes

Alex Waugh, trade policy director, nabim.

&#8226 12.30 Panel discussion

&#8226 13.00 Hot buffet lunch

&#8226 14.00 Chairmans introduction to afternoon

Sir David Naish.

&#8226 14.05 Biotechnology: Ethical issues

Rev Dr Michael Reece, Homerton College, Cambridge.

&#8226 14.30 Biotechnology: Consumer issues

Julie Sheppard, public relations, Consumers Association

Questions

&#8226 15.05 Farm assurance: A retailers view

Nigel Garbutt, head of R&D, Safeway Stores.

Questions

&#8226 15.40 Panel discussion

&#8226 15.50 Chairmans closing remarks

Sir David Naish.

&#8226 16.00 Tea/coffee

Conference registration form

NFU/nabim/FW Conference, Apr 28, 1999

Name……………………………………………………………………………………………

Address……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Postcode……………………………

Phone …………………………………………Fax…………………………………………..

Additional delegate names…………………………………………………………………

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

I enclose a cheque for £11.75 a person, total £……..made payable to nabim.

Return with cheque to Kathy Simpson, nabim, 21 Arlington Street, London, SW1A 1RN

Placed granules trial helps beet get established

By Andrew Blake

BETTER sugar beet establishment in rows given a taste of a new placed granular fertiliser has encouraged a Cambs farmer to try the technique on a much wider scale this season.

Mike Raven grows 65ha (160 acres) of beet at Grange Farm, March. "Establishment is the main problem on our heavy soils, which tend to open up and dry out in the spring."

A 1.2ha (3 acre) trial last year showed the potential of placed starter granules recently launched by Wisbech-based Law Fertilisers.

Two rows of Mr Ravens 12-row Matco drill were set up to apply the granules through applicators formerly used for treating the crop with Temik (aldicarb). "We opened them up fully to apply 12lb/acre just above and to the side of the seed.

"I was a bit worried that the fertiliser might burn the plants off, but it did not and you could easily see the establishment in the two treated rows was better."

Flooding a week after sowing may have had something to do with the result, he admits. "Last year was unique by being so wet so soon after drilling." Nevertheless, he was so encouraged by the outcome that he is using starter granules on nearly a fifth of the crop this spring.

"We have done a 30-acre field, treating all the rows and have another field of the same soil type next door untreated for comparison."

Sugar beet growth in the first month after sowing is critical for good yields, says Mark Law, producer of the new granules. Placing at least some of the crops nutrients close to the young plants is also a more efficient way of using them, especially phosphorus, he maintains.

"Ploughing down triple superphosphate at £12/acre in October does not make much sense."

There are three versions of the new placement granules, all formed from reconstituted ground powders to ensure each contains all the intended nutrients. Using blends at such low rates cannot guarantee that, says Mr Law.

The basic product, aimed mainly at fen soils, contains manganese and copper. The loam version, which Mr Raven used last year, also contains nitrogen, phosphate and sodium. The deluxe option has added boron and potash. Each costs 20-30% more than the equivalent blend, says Mr Law. &#42

British Sugars view

"Certainly in the first 30 days an application of basal fertiliser is unlikely to have much effect on the growing crop," British Sugars Patrick Jarvis agrees.

Recent work with liquid starter fertiliser (Arable Focus, Feb 26) suggests placement can help on some soils, notably fen peats. "But responses have been variable and it is very early days yet."

Other BS work placing solid fertiliser at drilling remains inconclusive. "We have seen some positive results, but not enough to advocate it on the whole UK crop."

&#8226 Boost establishment.

&#8226 Better use of P & N.

&#8226 Blends unsuitable.

&#8226 Price premium 20-30%.