Farmer Focus: My six tips for YEN yield competition success

As November comes to a sodden end, so does the main window for drilling winter wheat.

We have pressed on regardless, at least when we could, and even I am surprised how much land we have been able to drill.

Quite how much will make a satisfactory crop remains in the lap of the weather gods.

See also: How grain analysis can help farmers hit wheat protein specs

Certainly the soil is absorbing the deluges well so far, but saturation point can’t be far away. Then what?

The effects of the current cropping situation will be with us for a long time.

Futures prices have risen considerably and I am sure this is only the start.

Let’s hope the general public, as well as the new crop of Defra ministers, will actually value secure cheap food and support a policy we can work with.

Winning formula

The Adas YEN (Yield Enhancement Network) awards day, near Nottingham, was well attended and everyone there picked up lots of tips and thought-provoking facts.

I’ve mentioned before that the 2019 growing season turned out to be pretty ideal for us.

Our oilseed rape and wheat entries were right up there and actually ended up on the podium.

Although I was pleased with the actual yields, the mass of Adas data still tells us where and how we could potentially have done better!

So what did I learn? Keeping crops green and healthy for longer helps.

Nitrogen is not the only way to achieve lots of biomass. Big crops produce big yields.

If you want lots of big seeds the crop potential has to be identified early and crop nutrition and protection has to be tailored accordingly, whether that’s fungicides, fertiliser or, as in our case, trace elements.

Bio-stimulants may add something, but does anyone know how or why?

Certainly where Yara’s UniBio was applied, the greenness was easy to see later in the season, but did it actually add to yield?

Use all the technology available (grain nutrient tests, tissue tests, soil analysis, GPS etc), cross your fingers and hope Mother Nature is on your side!

Above all, the most important factor is the farmer, a well-informed professional doing their job with enthusiasm.

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