Know How / Establishment

Successful crop establishment is crucial to achieving high yields and controlling costs and ensuring the profitability of your business. See the latest thinking this season on cereals, oilseed rape, potato and sugar beet establishment, drilling and seed-bed preparation.

Case studies

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How two farmers are using fermented manure to improve soil

On the north Northumberland coast, mixed farmers Guy Douglas and Peter Brewis are working together to ferment their farmyard manure to create a highly nutritious "soil food source" to enrich…


How a drill kit enabled farmer to adopt variable seeding

Reaping the benefits of variable-rate drilling has, for many growers, meant spending many thousands upgrading their drills. However, a low-cost conversion kit is opening up this technique to many more.…


Autocasting gets oilseed rape in early to resist flea beetle

A Northamptonshire farm is sowing oilseed rape when combining the previous cereal crop, cutting costs and getting the rapeseed off to a good early start on its light land. The…


Oilseed rape makes a return with an early start

Oilseed rape is making a provisional comeback at Sandcross Farming, near St Albans, Hertfordshire, this autumn, after a three-year break from the crop. For grower Jamie Burrows, NFU East Anglia…


How to grow potatoes using minimal tillage

Growing potatoes with excellent taste characteristics was the starting point for Jeroen Klompe’s eight-year journey to improve his soil, and his management of it within a potato rotation. Farming 368ha…


Two oilseed rape growers see success in flea beetle battle

More optimism is creeping into the oilseed rape world, with growers looking at direct drilling and using companion crops to cope with the twin threats of a lack of moisture…

Practical advice

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How to achieve the most effective cover crop destruction

Cover crops are becoming a mainstream option for growers, but their successful destruction ahead of spring cropping is greatly dependent on the type of cover species sown, timing and removal…


Majority of oilseed rape crop gets off to a flying start

Nearly two-thirds of oilseed rape crops are better established this autumn as many growers have moved to earlier drilling to avoid the ravages of cabbage stem flea beetles. More growers…


5 cultivation and establishment methods compared

Establishment systems cover varying degrees of soil movement, from relatively little disturbance associated with direct-drilling and min-till through to deep cultivations and complete inversion with the likes of ploughing. Each…


8 tips on early OSR drilling to beat the flea beetle threat

More farmers are moving to early oilseed rape drilling on the back of growing evidence showing that it can help crops survive adult cabbage stem flea beetle attacks in late…


How to tackle the spring milling oat challenge

The quest for spring oats to be a consistent, profitable crop that meets millers’ requirements continues after another difficult year for getting the best from the crop. A wide range…


How to maximise spring oats for healthier returns

Farmers could be missing out on additional returns of £100/ha when growing spring oats.  One expert believes this is due to farmers treating the white straw break crop like spring…


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Why sowing in February could up spring oat yield and quality

Planting spring oats as early as February at a reduced seed rate rather than the conventional March drill date could prove beneficial to both crop yield and quality this spring.…


How a new soil scoring tool picks the best cultivation option

A new crop establishment tool which assesses a range of soil management factors is set to help farmers identify whether a change in cultivation may benefit their soils. There is…


Trial looks at veg seed tech to improve OSR establishment

Trials are to be carried out next season on whether primed seed could help oilseed rape growers produce crops that are better able to cope with the adult cabbage stem…


Is there still a need for costly wheat seed treatments?

Cereal growers are increasingly questioning the need for chemical seed treatments as they continue to improve soil health, encourage soil biology and drive down costs. With autumn drilling under way,…


How OSR establishment risk-share schemes compare

Money-back schemes designed to compensate growers for some of the economic risk associated with failed oilseed rape establishment are being offered on seed purchases of selected varieties again this year.…


Could companion cropping be the key to successful OSR crops?

Companion cropping could offer growers struggling to grow oilseed rape a successful method of reducing cabbage stem flea beetle risk, enabling them to establish the valuable break crop. The oilseed…


Is regenerative agriculture the future of arable farming?

A growing number of farmers are overhauling their systems and are now farming in a way that has little impact on soil health, includes greater diversity and leads to more…


Lift seed rates for winter beans drilled very late

Bean growers can still achieve reasonable crop yields when drilling winter varieties in the spring, providing they lift the seed rates. One of the wettest autumns for many years has…


Video: High-pressure water tech aids direct drilling success

Replacing drill coulters with a high-pressure jet to open up the soil will not only improve germination, its inventors believe it can aid rooting by cracking compaction and aerating soils.…


Why no-till is profitable despite having a yield penalty

As machinery costs are the main driver of arable profit, no-till farms can afford to produce 1t/ha less wheat than their more conventional counterparts. Speaking at the Groundswell event in June, accountant…