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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Why arable yield is not king without support payments

Yield is commonly king when it comes to driving profitability, but does it have to be that way? It definitely isn’t for Ed Horton, farming 1,000ha on the home farm…


Four OSR growers try different strategies to beat flea beetle

Despite its reputation for being a risky and expensive crop option, oilseed rape is currently enjoying better market prices and growing demand – but will that be enough to reverse…


How Kent farmer has cut costs by focusing on soil health

James Loder-Symonds is setting ambitious targets for his Kent farm as he prepares for a future based on enhancing natural capital, delivering public goods and becoming carbon neutral. Good progress…


Video: Potato planting races ahead in rejigged farm rotation

Potato planting was racing ahead in south Somerset this month, after farm manager Ollie Blackburn rejigged his crop rotation to improve soil fertility and structure for his spuds. He hopes…


Garlic-based nematicide shows promise for Yorks root grower

The control of free-living and root-knot nematodes is a problem for many vegetable growers, particularly as the mainstay nematicide Vydate (oxamyl) was withdrawn from use last December. Despite its loss,…


Cornish growers trial septoria test to target fungicide use

For two neighbouring Cornish farmers, septoria control forms the fundamental basis of wheat production in the high-risk region, which has prompted them to trial a new disease detection test to…

Practical advice

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Novel fungicide widens T2 options for wheat growers

The arrival of the new fungicide Univoq gives wheat growers an alternative to established SDHI-azole products used at the T2 flag leaf timing, and will add much-needed resilience to disease…


Crop Doctor: Rain heightens wheat disease risk at T2 timing

Wheat growers are being urged to try out new chemistry for their all-important flag leaf fungicide sprays at the end of this month as yield responses from these novel products…


Soil fungi can help improve the health of crops

Mycorrhizal fungi are beneficial organisms that have a symbiotic relationship with plants, growing in association with their roots and helping them to thrive. A key component of any balanced farming…


Controlling blight without mancozeb: 6 potential solutions

While mancozeb appears to have a stay of execution for at least this season, just how much product will be available for blight control in potatoes remains unclear. Some mancozeb-containing…


Advice on keeping wheat green to maximise yields

Wheat growers need to keep their crops green for as long as possible after flowering, to intercept the maximum amount of sunlight and so enhance grain filling and hence yield.…


How farms can reduce insecticides with natural pest control

A diverse landscape with lots of habitat is the best way to encourage the beneficial insects that are needed to provide natural pest control and replace the use of insecticides…


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Oat growers turn to expanding plant-based drinks market

With brands such as Oatly and Alpro on the supermarket shelves, oat drinks are presenting producers with a good opportunity for a British provenanced and sustainable oat crop. As an…


Video: Electronic robot weed zapper cuts inputs and carbon

Four farms will use field robots this autumn to identify weeds, which eventually will lead to electronically zapping them, in a move likely to appeal to growers looking at more…


The new biostimulant that increases wheat and barley yields

A novel biostimulant which optimises green leaf area by improving chlorophyll production could benefit arable growers this season, with average yield increases of 0.4-0.5t/ha seen in winter wheat and barley…


The rules for arable farming in an NVZ in England

Nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs) account for about 55% of land in England, making it more likely than not that a farming enterprise is within a designated NVZ. So with NVZs…


Why timing is key to maximise wheat tillers with phosphite

Growers are being advised not to leave it too late when applying phosphite-based biostimulants to maximise the number of tillers in wheat crops. Trials over several years show that phosphites…


Analysis: How Brexit affects farmers' access to pesticides

Adequate resources and a more pragmatic, science-based approach by UK regulators will be crucial to growers gaining better access to crop-protection tools after Brexit. Over recent years, plenty of criticism…


Could beneficial insects help fight against virus yellows?

In the hunt for new solutions to virus yellows in sugar beet, research into whether biological control can help is being ramped up on a Cambridgeshire farm this season. An…


Why one firm is using a biofungicide in its disease strategy

Based on a compound found in seaweed, a biopesticide is delivering similar yield responses and disease control as a key multisite fungicide, when used as part of a septoria disease-control…


Trial reveals true impact of flea beetle on lodging in OSR

Oilseed rape growers with crops infested with cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB) larvae are being advised to consider using plant growth regulators to reduce crop height, as new trial data…


First-ever sclerotinia-tolerant OSR could help cut costs

Oilseed rape growers may be able to save money and miss out on a fungicide flowering spray by drilling the first ever variety with tolerance to stem rot disease sclerotinia.…


Why yellow rust ratings changed for some varieties in 2021

An online early warning system and a revamp of variety yellow rust resistance ratings have been introduced for 2021 to help wheat growers tackle an increasingly diverse pathogen. With the…


How new rapid septoria test is set to benefit wheat growers

A new rapid disease test, capable of detecting septoria in wheat crops before symptoms are visible, is launching this March, helping farmers to better target applications and cut their fungicide…

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