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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Dorset grower gains from six-point oilseed rape plan

Dorset farmer David Thompson’s six-point plan for oilseed rape establishment has led to near-4t/ha yields over the last five years, and will allow him to qualify for £200/ha of environmental…


Notts Monitor Farm sees benefits of reduced cultivations

Reduced labour and machinery costs and more resilient soils are some of the benefits being seen since reducing cultivations at Manor Farm, near Bingham in Nottinghamshire. The Fisher family have…


Spring drilling: 3 farmers battle to get crops established

Wet weather is causing havoc with spring drilling. Some farmers have nearly finished while others are yet to begin, as yield potential falls with each delayed day. Farmers Weekly‘s deputy…


Drill change improves cereal crop resilience

Spring barley was the last crop to be fully drilled with the 3m Mzuri Pro-till drill and despite the tricky spring, it yielded nearly 8t/ha last summer.  Neil White believes…


Video: 3 growers reveal impact of rain and spring plans

Relentless wet weather has not only reduced the UK winter cereal area, but hampered yield potential. With costs high and market prices low, we find out how crops are fairing…

Practical advice

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Pointers on rescuing waterlogged soils for spring barley

The UK spring barley area is predicted to rise 13% this season, and growers are advised to adapt cultivation and drilling methods to resurrect waterlogged soils. Following the wet winter…


How to manage waterlogged soils in an autumn deluge

This season’s washout autumn has seen crops battered by flooding and swamped by slugs, in what was the wettest October in England since 2000. In fact, some fields have been…


Top tips for late-drilling wheat growers

Late-drilling winter wheat growers on heavy soils need to focus on crop nutrition as rapidly cooling soils give slow availability of nutrients, and so feeding crops is key to preventing…


5 steps to better winter bean establishment

Winter beans are often seen as a second-choice break crop behind oilseed rape, especially in challenging seasons such as 2023, but establish them well and they can still be a…


Oats come out top in heavy land direct drilling trial

Oats gave a higher yield and profit margin when direct drilled compared with minimum tillage in an eight-year trial, due largely to the cereal crop showing a very vigorous growth…


Shallower potato cultivation depths recommended in wet season

Potato growers are advised to reduce cultivation depths this season to improve soil condition and work rates, as persistent rain stops play. With the optimum planting window narrowing, independent potato…


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Should growers persevere with OSR despite challenges?

The AHDB has estimated a near 30% drop in the UK oilseed rape area compared to 2023, making it the UK’s smallest crop for 40 years – at 280,000ha. With…


Why early OSR drilling may reduce yields by up to 1.5t/ha

The trend for milder winters across north-west Europe may mean UK oilseed rape growers need to consider drilling later to maximise rapeseed yields. A major breeder is investigating whether late…


Seed sales show heavy reliance on a limited number of varieties

After a testing season and difficult harvest, growers are sticking to a narrow range of varieties for the new cropping year. Farmers Weekly finds out what’s filling the drills. See…


Survey gives pointers on how to successfully grow OSR

An average 85% of oilseed rape crops are predicted to reach harvest, but some farmers, especially in East Anglia, are feeling the pain. Although the average is down on last…


Direct-drilling: Main findings from major five-year trial

Farming on heavy land in Leicestershire, Joe Stanley was skeptical that reducing cultivations by adopting a direct-drilling system would increase farm profitability and improve the environment. But after seeing the…


Trial shows how to establish a good cover crop before harvest

Establishing a good cover crop stand can be difficult, as sowing often coincides with the busy harvest period along with seed-beds being too dry. One solution could be to establish…


Why OSR growers are optimistic despite high-cost climate

Oilseed rape growers are optimistic about the crop's on-farm performance, despite the higher growing costs and market volatility caused by recent world events. Research carried out by Farmers Weekly in…


Why the right perennial grass balance is key in AB15 mixes

The first half of August is the key time for drilling AB15 stewardship mixes and failing to balance them sufficiently with perennial grasses may seriously compromise their effectiveness in managing…


Why sowing in February could up spring oat yield and quality

Planting spring oats as early as February at a reduced seed rate rather than the conventional March drill date could prove beneficial to both crop yield and quality this spring.…


How a new soil scoring tool picks the best cultivation option

A new crop establishment tool which assesses a range of soil management factors is set to help farmers identify whether a change in cultivation may benefit their soils. There is…


Trial looks at veg seed tech to improve OSR establishment

Trials are to be carried out next season on whether primed seed could help oilseed rape growers produce crops that are better able to cope with the adult cabbage stem…