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

How top oilseed rape growers achieve high yields

Two leading Scottish Borders oilseed rape growers’ focus on crop establishment and nutrition has led them to push their average farm yields towards the 5t/ha barrier. David Fuller manages 650ha…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How a milling wheat grower hit 12.2t/ha at 13.1% protein

An in-depth technical knowledge and a familiarity with fertiliser and pesticide products gained from Alex Wilcox's parallel career as an agronomist helped him deliver the award-winning crop of milling wheat in…

POTATOES

One-pass potato establishment cuts costs and improves yields

Trials by crop consultants Niab Cuf have revealed that intensive cultivations have no benefit on potato yields, tuber size or quality, marking it out as a process that farmers can…

PULSES

How to hit quality specs with marrowfat peas

Growing a profitable crop of marrowfat peas requires complete attention to detail, from seed-bed formation to harvest, as getting it wrong can lead to disappointing yields and loss of valuable…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Farm manager's drought action plan results in 15% yield lift

Simon Eddell has spent the past seven years looking to improve his light Suffolk soils to cope with summer droughts, and the result is healthier crops and wheat yields up…

CROP MANAGEMENT

Youngest-ever Duchy tenant switches to precision farming

Ally Hunter Blair is a young man in a hurry. The youngest-ever tenant of a Duchy of Cornwall farm is trying out new crops, embracing precision farming and working on…

Practical advice

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OILSEED RAPE

Four critical months to minimise OSR yield losses

Oilseed rape yields can vary by more than 1t/ha between seasons and researchers have identified ways that farmers can manage their crops to minimise seasonal effects. While the yield trend…

COVER CROPS

How a Dorset farmer grows cost-effective cover crops

Dorset grower John Martin, together with Kings Seeds, has designed his own cover crop mix, which provides the maximum benefit to his calcareous soils while also being cost-effective. He was…

PULSES

How to hit quality specs with marrowfat peas

Growing a profitable crop of marrowfat peas requires complete attention to detail, from seed-bed formation to harvest, as getting it wrong can lead to disappointing yields and loss of valuable…

ESTABLISHMENT

Tips to improve pulse performance in a difficult season

Even the best bean grower would have struggled to achieve high yields last season in the worst combination of conditions possible for the crop, which saw yields 23.4% below the…

OILSEED RAPE

Drought and pests give rapeseed growers a tough start

Establishing vigorously growing plants and using companion crops could help oilseed rape growers cope in the future with the drought and pest problems seen in the summer of 2018. Lack…

BARLEY

Tips on getting high spring barley yields in a tough season

Late drilling, followed by a hot, dry summer, meant spring cereal crops struggled on many farms in 2018, although some spring barley growers managed to deliver yields exceeding 8t/ha. A…

Insights

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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…

ARABLE

What the 5 new sugar beet varieties offer

Five newly recommended sugar beet varieties offer growers up to 7.6% extra yield, as well as a step up in yield for a specialist variety for fields infested with rhizomania.…

ARABLE

Why spring wheat can be more profitable than spring barley

Spring wheat can earn growers more money than spring barley with a potential gross margin of over £800/ha and offer them a competitive crop to counter troublesome grassweeds. According to…

ARABLE

Low BYDV risk this season sends cheer to embattled growers

A lower barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) risk this season could cut cereal establishment costs by eliminating the need for a seed dressing. This could be the silver lining for…

WHEAT

Min-till and flexible drilling leads to bigger wheat yields

Minimum tillage and flexible drilling dates can increase winter wheat yields and profitability when compared with ploughing and rigid sowing times. Top wheat growers with the highest gross margins tended…

ARABLE

Growers highlight soil and cost advantages of using no-till

There’s no silver bullet when it comes to putting no-tillage cultivation techniques into practice, but there is a basic recipe that everyone can follow. Minimal soil disturbance, diverse rotations and…

ARABLE

Video: Maintain potato yields and cut cultivation costs

An investigation into the best cultivation strategies for potato production has found that growers could make savings without affecting yields by cultivating shallower. AHDB-sponsored work by Niab CUF at a…

ARABLE

Agronomists give their no-till crop establishment verdict

Low crop prices are forcing growers to reassess their costs, and ditching the plough for a no-till approach offers savings of up to 40% on establishment. However, this push for…

ARABLE

Building a case for no-till crop establishment

Whether at grower meetings, hashtagged on your Twitter feed or even featured on BBC’s Countryfile on a Sunday evening, “no-till” enthusiasts are certainly making a lot of noise. Global grain…

Zero metaldehyde zones give mixed results

Mixed results have been reported by the water companies involved in the four zero metaldehyde pilot projects, resulting in some changes to the pilot schemes in the coming season. The…

ARABLE

Cut nutrient and sediment losses with cover crops and min-till

Collaboration between scientists and a top UK arable farm is identifying strategies to reduce the environmental impact of arable farming without slashing farm profits. Crop production accounts for about 30%…