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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OILSEED RAPE

Yorkshire farm shares strategy for growing 4t/ha OSR

Oilseed rape has kept its place in the diverse rotation at Albanwise Farming in Yorkshire, where the focus is achieving consistent, optimum results. With about 350ha of the crop, the…

VARIETY SELECTION

Two growers' experiences with March-drilled winter wheat

Wheat varieties that can be drilled very late came to the rescue for growers struggling to get any winter cereals into the ground last season because of the extremely wet…

OILSEED RAPE

How two OSR growers escaped the flea beetle threat

The two growers in Hampshire and Wiltshire are both using a companion crop of buckwheat to protect their oilseed rape from cabbage stem flea beetle damage and are looking to…

PEST MANAGEMENT

How a grower slashed insecticide use by splitting fields

A Cambridgeshire grower is reaping the rewards of encouraging beneficial insects, having eliminated the need to use any slug pellets or insecticides in his cropping system for more than a…

WHEAT

Why a grower is taking radical step of leaving wheat area fallow

Sussex grower Mark Chandler will leave his entire winter wheat area fallow on his contracted land this year to preserve the rotation. Switching to spring barley to salvage a crop…

SUGAR BEET

Strip-till slashes establishment costs for sugar beet grower

George Sly is slashing the cost of growing sugar beet by using a strip-till cultivator he designed himself, which is also improving his heavy Lincolnshire silty soils. His machine can…

Practical advice

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PULSES

Key tips for growing winter beans after a poor season

Variable yields and dismal quality results saw winter beans become one of the worst-performing crops on many farms this year – a victim of very late drilling in less-than-ideal conditions…

PULSES

Autumn-sown spring beans could fill winter seed shortage 

Spring beans can be successfully drilled in the autumn without any major dip in yield, which may help overcome a shortage of winter bean seed this coming season. The Processors and…

WHEAT

Advice on best drilling date for winter wheat

The best time to drill winter wheat can vary, whether you farm in England or Scotland, as delayed drilling is often advised south of the border, while the earlier the…

BLACKGRASS

How to maximise wheat crop competition to beat blackgrass

Maximising the competitiveness of wheat crops is a valuable way of managing resistant blackgrass, effectively smothering the weed and reducing seed return. Delayed drilling and stale seed-beds have stolen the…

COVER CROPS

5 top grower mistakes with cover crops and how to avoid them

Grow cover crops effectively and they can increase soil organic matter, cycle nutrients, protect soils from erosion and increase profitability. Get it wrong and you may see poorer establishment from…

DRILLING

The big question: Drill wheat early or late this autumn?

The very wet winter of 2019 left many wheat growers struggling to get crops in the ground, particularly those who opted for delayed drilling for blackgrass control. Based on that…

Insights

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DISEASE MANAGEMENT

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,…

VARIETY SELECTION

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.…

OILSEED RAPE

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…

SOILS

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…

PULSES

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…

DRILLING

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.…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

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…

ESTABLISHMENT

On-farm establishment trial shows best system in a dry year

Dry conditions for the second year in a row have highlighted the importance of establishment method. Systems which allowed crops to get their roots down in search of moisture were…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

Plough, min-till and no-till compared: year one

A major trial has been set up to find the most profitable and sustainable way to grow arable crops by comparing three different establishment systems over five years. Establishment systems…

ESTABLISHMENT

Smart drill add-on offers real-time variable applications

A clever gadget that provides planter operators with real-time soil data for on-the-fly variable-rate seed and fertiliser applications could soon feature on UK farms after a recent Agco acquisition. Illinois-based…

ARABLE

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…