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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WHEAT

Kent grower's second wheat crop measures up to first

Good variety selection, improved soils and the use of seed dressings has paid off for Kent grower Terry Metson by keeping take-all at bay and lifting his second wheat yields…

WEED MANAGEMENT

How to manage disease in sugar beet crops

An Essex sugar beet grower hopes to recapture his high yielding ways and produce one of the UK’s top-yielding fields, by focusing on disease and weed control in the coming…

SOILS

Beef cattle improve soil health on Notts arable farm

Nottinghamshire farmer Trevor Needham is successfully using beef cattle to improve the health of his hungry sandland soils, lifting cereal yields in the process. Bringing grass leys into the rotation…

OILSEED RAPE

OSR growers focus on costs and yields for next season

With oilseed rape crops taking advantage of the much-needed May sunshine, our four growers taking part in our OSR Masters series are keeping a close eye on crop progress as…

WHEAT

Blackgrass battle looks winnable for Suffolk grower

Suffolk grower Andrew Colchester has taken a big step towards banishing blackgrass on his farm by radically changing his cultivation strategy and beefing up his herbicide programme. He had seen…

WHEAT

How one farmer slashed fertiliser and fungicide use in wheat

The cost of wheat disease control has been rocketing over recent years, with some farms now using five or even six fungicide applications to protect yield. Unhappy with being dragged down…

Practical advice

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WEED MANAGEMENT

How to control weeds when establishing oilseed rape

Controlling weeds in oilseed rape is vital for successful establishment, as the seedlings are vulnerable to competition from vigorous weeds. This is especially the case in a dry autumn when…

OILSEED RAPE

How to improve OSR establishment with seed-bed fertiliser

An early application of nutrients, delivered by either a starter or traditional fertiliser product, can help to achieve quick emergence and growth of an oilseed rape crop. At establishment, the…

SEED-BED PREPARATION

Pros and cons of 6 different OSR establishment techniques

There is a wide range of establishment methods for oilseed rape and the most suitable technique will depend on soil type, soil conditions, prevailing weather and likely weed and slug…

PEST MANAGEMENT

Top tips on tackling pests when establishing OSR

Pests are particularly troublesome during establishment, as small oilseed rape plants are very vulnerable to attack and severe infestations can wipe out parts of a field. All too often, oilseed…

WEED MANAGEMENT

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…

WHEAT

Top quality wheats may cut imports and reduce Brexit risks

Britain’s biggest flour miller, Whitworths, is urging wheat growers to produce very high quality grain which could replace imports and help shield them from the uncertainties of Brexit. The privately-owned…

Insights

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WEED MANAGEMENT

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…

WEED MANAGEMENT

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…

WHEAT

Top quality wheats may cut imports and reduce Brexit risks

Britain’s biggest flour miller, Whitworths, is urging wheat growers to produce very high quality grain which could replace imports and help shield them from the uncertainties of Brexit. The privately-owned…

POTATOES

How fungicide data is helping to combat potato blight strain

Fungicide use data reveal that potato growers have already adapted their strategies to manage a new resistant strain of blight, although more needs to be done to combat the threat…

WHEAT

How to stop blackgrass adapting to a spring cropping strategy

Blackgrass has an uncanny ability to adapt to the cultural and chemical control measures thrown at it by growers. Here, a Nuffield scholar explains his concept aimed at catching the…

OILSEED RAPE

3 ways growth regulators will raise rapeseed yields

There are three different ways that a growth regulator can increase oilseed rape yields, thereby helping farmers maximise their returns. Last harvest will be remembered as a good rapeseed year.…

WHEAT

Research could slash fungicide use in wheat by nearly 40%

Mention variable rate fungicides and many farmers think of adjusting rates across a field based on crop biomass measured using a tractor-mounted sensor. However, fungicide rates could also be varied…

WHEAT

How a neonic ban will affect beet and cereal growers

Sugar beet yields could be slashed by up to 30% if a total ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments is implemented, experts believe, as forgotten diseases reappear in Britain’s fields. Alan…

WHEAT

Why phosphate fertiliser use on crops may have to change

Current best-practice strategies for phosphate fertiliser use in arable crops are based on feeding the soil to feed the crop, rather than the crop. As a result, the guidance in…

POTATOES

Video: Cultivating potato tramlines cuts run-off

Potato growers could slash water use and preserve soils by using a machine to stop water flowing down compacted tramlines. A trial conducted at the Elveden Estate last season as…

POTATOES

Natural predators have key role in killing resistant aphids

Natural predators could have a vital role in controlling insecticide-resistant peach potato aphids, with new research suggesting they are more susceptible to attack than those without the mutation. Pyrethroid resistance…

WHEAT

6 innovations that transformed arable farming

Britain’s arable farmers have embraced many changes over the last 40 years resulting in big increases in crop productivity, especially in the 1970s which saw numerous ground-breaking innovations in crop…