Know How / Crop management

Managing your crops through the growing season means careful nutrition and fertiliser use for maximum crop yields and keeping a watchful eye on pest, weeds and disease control.

Read expert advice, case studies, and tips on how to achieve the best yields and growth through best-practice crop management techniques, on all crops including wheat, barley, oilseed rape, potatoes, sugar beet and more niche crops.

Case studies

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Fuel and seed costs cut in Sussex machinery loan deal

Britain’s biggest organic farm is cutting its fuel costs and making savings on expensive cereal seed in a machinery loan scheme with one of the world’s biggest tractor makers. The…


How four arable farmers made their farms more resilient

Tough times are ahead after Brexit and having a more resilient cropping system will be the key to arable farms weathering the storms. Here we take a look at how four…


Grass and maize help to banish blackgrass

Grass and maize are helping to win the blackgrass battle on one mixed Dorset farm, and so are cutting the cost of expensive autumn cereal herbicides. Two-year grass leys have…


Sugar beet grower upbeat on yield despite dry summer

Cambridgeshire sugar beet grower Guy Wakeham is aiming for an ambitious yield target of 100t/ha – although his crop has to be lifted relatively early, by the end of November. His…


How drought and pests have challenged our four OSR growers

Very dry soils and persistent cabbage stem flea beetle activity have made oilseed rape establishment more challenging than expected for most of our Oilseed Rape Masters this season. In the…


Fens blackgrass trial back to winter cropping after three years

A fens grower forced into spring cropping by an untenable blackgrass population is set to return to winter cropping this season after tackling his weed problem. Lincolnshire farmer Chris Richardson’s…

Practical advice

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Multisite fungicides key to control cereal diseases

The use of a multisite cereal fungicide should be the first product in the spray tank, and then growers should decide whether to add an azole or SDHI product. Fungicide…


High oilseed yields come from keeping crops growing longer

Top yields of oilseed rape come from farmers who keep their crops growing longer and apply magnesium even in a year of only average yields. Sarah Kendall at crop consultants…


How precision farming can earn an extra £99/ha

A trial carried out across three farms in the Midlands shows that precision farming can pay – even fields that farmers believe to be fairly even are seeing yield benefits.…


Nutrient leaf tests: When, how and why to do them

There are a number of micronutrients that are essential for crop growth. By testing plants for them early in a season, farmers can rectify any problems with foliar applications before…


How to sample soil for potato cyst nematodes

Potato cyst nematode costs the industry more than £25m each year and accurate soil testing is a critical aid in managing the pest to minimise crop losses. At low levels…


7 ways to use drones to full potential on arable farms

Drones are becoming an essential bit of kit on arable farms, but if you've not yet used them to their full potential, licensed drone pilot and arable farmer Simon Holtom…


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How resistant varieties can tackle potato cyst nematode

Potato growers battling potato cyst nematode (PCN) problems are set to benefit from significant breeding efforts into producing fresh varieties resistant to the key nematode species Globodera pallida. Some promising varieties…


Air Scout thermal images show crops in a new light

How agronomists view the land they look after is changing at a rapid rate. Not only have yield maps from combines and soil analysis become staple tools, there’s now a…


Waste seaweed provides natural alternative to fungicides

Seaweed gathered from French beaches could have the potential to end UK farmers’ reliance on fungicides in arable crops by stimulating plants to protect themselves from diseases. Olmix, a leading…


3 new technologies set to help arable farmers

A third-generation SDHI fungicide, a three-in-one plant activator and insecticidal gels that work with lure-and-kill technology are among the developments that might fill some of the gaps being left by…


Key pesticide approval changes for barley and sugar beet

Pesticide approvals are constantly changing and the latest raft are set to affect farmers growing sugar beet and cereals for brewing and distilling. Highlights include more options for weed control…


7 essential arable farming apps

Whether it's looking up the nitrogen requirements for wheat on chalk or helping with the safe use of drones, there is a constant pipeline of smartphone apps promising to make…


Data reveals how raising crop yields can offset subsidy loss

Any reductions in support payments arising from Brexit can be covered on most UK arable farms by improved crop performance, results from ProCam’s 4Cast service suggest. The higher wheat yields…


Three potato varieties show more tolerance to nematodes

Newer potato varieties such as Royal, Lanorma and Iodea are showing useful levels of resistance to the spud industry’s biggest pest problem, potato cyst nematode (PCN). Graham Tomalin, agronomist at…


How an Australian approach could beat blackgrass

A unique research and knowledge transfer initiative is helping Australian grain producers tackle their most damaging agronomic threat – herbicide-resistant weeds. In the UK, each major agrochemical and distribution group…


Three product approvals set to benefit root crop growers

With many crop protection products under threat, it is welcome news that root crop growers are set to benefit from three new potential approvals over the next two years. Farmers…


Why growers must reduce reliance on pesticides

Growers are being urged to highlight the responsible approach they take to crop management – or face the prospect of further restrictions as the government pursues a “green” Brexit. The…


3 grower-led trials that will benefit arable farms

More than 30 groups of farmers are carrying out their own research in the Innovative Farmers initiative, on topics ranging from electrical weeding to improving soil health. Richard Allison picks…

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