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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PEST MANAGEMENT

Grower's precision drill helps counter flea beetle threat

Wiltshire grower Martin Smart has invested in a new precision drill to give his oilseed rape a head start after on-farm trials showed that direct drilling helped his crops survive…

SOILS

Grower slashes inputs with soils focus and variety blends

An interest in soil health was the starting point for major changes made to Angus Gowthorpe’s mixed farming system in Yorkshire, the results of which have slashed establishment time and…

DRILLING

Grower makes direct drilling work on the west coast

Being prepared to take a step backwards has allowed Merseyside grower Olly Harrison to make the transition to no-till despite farming on the west coast. Mr Harrison, who farms on…

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…

Practical advice

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ESTABLISHMENT

How to carry out a pre-season check on a StocksAg seeder

It wasn’t long ago that the little applicator was a slug pellet only machine, but in recent years it has gained a new lease of life as a second seed…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

The best way to manage stubbles after harvest

Unless you are one of a growing number of no-tillers or you plough every year, it is difficult to be prescriptive when it comes to post-harvest cultivation strategy. There is…

ESTABLISHMENT

Practical tips for growers sticking with oilseed rape

Farmers reluctant to grow oilseed rape again after a terrible year for establishment are being offered plenty of advice and incentives to stick with the crop ahead of the new…

PEST MANAGEMENT

Tips on how to beat flea beetle when growing oilseed rape

A combination of only drilling when there is soil moisture, selecting the right variety and giving seedlings a nutritional boost are some of the measures helping crops cope better with…

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…

Insights

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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…

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…