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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CROP MANAGEMENT

How four arable farmers made their farms more resilient

Tough times are ahead after Brexit and having a more resilient cropping system will be the key to arable farms weathering the storms. Here we take a look at how four…

OILSEED RAPE

How drought and pests have challenged our four OSR growers

Very dry soils and persistent cabbage stem flea beetle activity have made oilseed rape establishment more challenging than expected for most of our Oilseed Rape Masters this season. In the…

ESTABLISHMENT

Variable drilling lifts wheat yield by 1t/ha in Hampshire

Farm manager Craig Livingstone’s investment in mapping the highly variable soils on his Hampshire farm has paid off, after he hit his target yield for winter wheat this harvest despite…

COVER CROPS

Cover crops help give structure to light Norfolk soils

Richard Cobbald is more than doubling his area of cover crops this summer to put structure and organic matter into his “structureless” Norfolk light blow-away Breckland soils. He aims to…

SOILS

Why soil health is top priority for Sussex estate

A decision to come out of organic farming and the need to solve a soil erosion problem on vulnerable greensand soils combined to bring a complete rethink of the arable…

Practical advice

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DRILLING

How precision farming can earn an extra £99/ha

A trial carried out across three farms in the Midlands shows that precision farming can pay – even fields that farmers believe to be fairly even are seeing yield benefits.…

CROP SELECTION

How to grow profitable spring crops and beat blackgrass

Spring cropping has a key role in tackling blackgrass, but which are the best crops for tackling the weed and maximising returns? Four years of trials data have come up…

PULSES

Top winter bean grower shares his establishment tips

Lincolnshire grower Victor Barker consistently achieves high yields for his winter bean crops by ensuring he achieves high-quality seed-beds to enable good establishment. Farming 160ha on the fens at Dowsby,…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

Tips on selecting the right cultivator for your soils

Farmers often put a huge amount of effort into selecting the right drill to get cereal crops off to the best start in the autumn, but picking the wrong cultivator…

DRILLING

Which wheat varieties to consider for late drilling

Cereal growers looking for wheat varieties most suited to later drilling dates should opt for those that are more vigorous, with good tillering ability and a rapid speed of development.…

ESTABLISHMENT

How to make the most of an early harvest to hit weeds in wheat

An early harvest means farmers can hit grassweeds even harder when establishing wheat, by making greater use of stale seed-beds. This pre-drilling strike against weeds followed by a robust pre-…

Insights

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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%…

OSR under threat as farmers question its future

As thoughts start to turn to cropping for the 2015-16 season, predictions suggest that oilseed rape will be the main casualty of rotational changes as farmers cut back or drop…