Agronomy messages come through

Increasingly unpredictable weather and spiralling input costs are becoming important problems UK arable growers are having to address.

Many farmers now face a break-even wheat price of £120/t, so efficient nitrogen and agchem use can make the difference between profit and loss, even with buoyant world prices.

“The advice on hand within the crop plots will give visitors a first-hand opportunity to quiz advisers and researchers about how the latest agronomic thinking could help tackle farm-specific issues,” says Jon Day, Cereals event presenter.


Rothamsted will discuss the RB209 revisions, how different recommended varieties respond to nitrogen and how efficiently they use it.

Researchers will also have a rain-making machine and soil compaction specialists on site to discuss the impact of heavy traffic and heavy rain on soil dynamics.

HGCA will demonstrate the detection of soil nitrogen supply through canopy sensors, the management of nitrogen inputs for re-commended varieties, and nitrogen requirements for biofuel wheat.

GrowHow UK is demonstrating the probable need for change in nitrogen timings in winter barley. Recent findings suggest that RB209 advice may be inappropriate, particularly for two-row barley, where the recommended timing of early stem extension may be too late to maximise yield.

Two-row barley has fewer potential grain sites, so the aim should be to keep as many tillers alive as possible to maximise yield, says the firm.

Potash Ltd will have a range of plots to demonstrate nutrient deficiency symptoms in a range of crops.


Visitors with crop pest or disease infestations can take samples to the Central Science Laboratory stand for identification. With the resurgence of diseases like Septoria nodorum and the increase in tan spot, the CSL team is heavily involved in identifying changes in disease patterns, virulence and incidence as weather patterns become increasingly unpredictable.

CSL’s Phil Jennings will debate the hot topic of mycotoxin risk from different fusarium species to help improve the under-standing of mycotoxins.


HGCA plots will demonstrate the latest information on fungicide performance and potential resistance for wheat, barley and oilseed rape growers. There is also a quiz to increase awareness of pests and predators which will test participants’ ability to differentiate between pests and natural enemies.

Bayer CropScience will be bringing a new active ingredient to their portfolio. BAYF869 is a co-formulation of prothioconazole with a new-generation active ingredient, said to significantly extend the disease spectrum of prothioconazole. The product is in demonstration on Velcourt’s site.


The HGCA will have eight grassweed plots demonstrating the integrated management of herbicide resistance projects. The focus will be blackgrass, brome and Italian ryegrass.


Dow Agrosciences will be launching a new herbicide and Bayer will be talking “Life after IPU”, and planS to show the new Othello (mesosulfuron+iodosulfuron+di-flufenican) herbicide, which tackles annual meadowgrass and broad-leaved weeds.

Bayer’s crop plots will show low-rate Liberator (flufenacet+DFF) vs trifluralin and Othello vs IPU/DFF. The plots show annual meadowgrass and broad-leaved weeds, which formerly presented a big market for IPU products, but where growers will be forced to change this autumn as IPU supplies dwindle.


Pioneer will demonstrate maize grown under film using the Samco System for grain production. The firm says this system is helping to expand the area of forage maize in marginal areas and could increase the UK area of grain maize grown.

Continuing the maize theme, RAGT will have information on Ixxes forage maize, the French variety suitable for UK conditions.

Agriculture will compare plots planted under plastic with open-air ones. It will also discuss growing whole-crop maize for biofuel – the company reckons using plastic increases yields and brings harvest forward, allowing for a good entrance for first wheat and cutting soil structure damage.


Herbicide resistance and post-IPU strategies are key themes in the crop plots.

Variety plots

Round-up of what to see

  • Nickerson will show 16 new varieties in their plots, including six new HGCA candidate winter wheat varieties. Panorama, Walpole and QPlus are potential bread-making varieties, Cassius is a potential biscuit-making variety, and Lear and Bantam are feed varieties. New spring wheats, winter and spring barleys, oilseed rapes and a marrowfat pea will also be on show.
  • KWS will have master baker John Haynes producing bread, biscuit and cake products from KWS wheat varieties. These include Viscount, the Group 3 which the firm says is likely to suit export markets and has above average distilling potential Zircon, a white-grained wheat, which produces pale-coloured flour and Robigus, Cordiale and Malacca.
  • RAGT will focus on wheat suited to early drilling and early harvest and varieties to reduce workload. The main focus will be on Battalion, suitable for breadmaking, the feed wheat Gladiator and the newly recommended Group 2 breadmaking variety, Marksman.
  • Grainseed will be demonstrating the new low-biomass rape variety Es Alienor, one of four conventional HGCA candidate varieties. It is said to have very good resistance to light leaf spot and stem canker, producing an unmatched combined disease rating.
  • Grainfarmers will be demonstrating new wheat varieties Viscount and Limerick in the context of growing the two varieties as potential premium earners.
  • Pioneer will be launching two new winter oilseed rape varieties, one a full HGCA candidate for 2009, the other a southern candidate.
  • Oilseed rape varieties will take centre stage on DSV’s stand at Cereals 2008, with particular emphasis given to the benefits of hybrids such as Flash, claimed to be the highest gross output variety available.
  • Senova’s Just Oats stand will discuss oat variety and crop development innovation, including high energy naked oats increasingly used in livestock feed and poultry rations.

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