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

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…

SOILS

How a Sussex grower successfully undersows maize with grass

West Sussex grower Frans de Boer is successfully using a low-cost method of undersowing maize with a blend of fescues to enhance soil health, reduce soil erosion and promote organic…

SOILS

Three Canadian farmers reveal their secrets to soil health

Heavy soils, late harvested crops like soya and a yearly rainfall exceeding 1,000mm is the perfect combination for compaction, which is why southern Ontario farmers focus so much on soil…

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…

Practical advice

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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…

VARIETY SELECTION

4 wheat varieties with wide drilling windows to consider

The value of wheat varieties with wider drilling windows that allow for later sowing has proved incredibly useful after the wet winter of 2019, offering growers greater flexibility on when…

LAND PREPARATION

Advice on draining and restructuring waterlogged soils

The best way of draining waterlogged soils and restructuring compacted areas is to plant a crop as soon as it is feasible, and allow them to transpire the water out.…

DRILLING

How to get undrilled fields back on track after wet winter

Time has nearly run out for drilling winter wheat crops, leaving farmers to decide which spring crop to grow or even whether to fallow areas that remain undrilled after one…

CROP MANAGEMENT

How to maximise spring barley yields after a wet winter  

Spring barley growers on heavy land can benefit from additional yields of over 2t/ha by drilling at the mid-end of March, especially this season, when soils will take a long…

Insights

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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…

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.…