Farmer Focus: YEN report offers valuable crop insights

The Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) reports arrived in late November followed by an awards webinar.

Our crops put in a solid performance with our oilseed rape entry ranking fourth overall, with a gross output yield of 6.33 t/ha and a sixth place for achieving 58% of yield potential.

Our wheat entry ranked seventh overall for yield of 14.5 t/ha and 19th place for achieving 77% of yield potential.

See also: AHDB launches potato variety comparison tool 

Thank you very much to Bayer and BASF for sponsoring our entries this year. The information contained within the 20-plus-page YEN report is very valuable to help improve and understand the crops we are growing.

It covers everything from soil analysis, in-season tissue analysis, canopy structure, through to in-depth final grain analysis, as well as measuring water utilisation and solar energy capture.

The competition element just adds a bit of spice to the whole mix.

The report also allows us to benchmark all aspects of crop performance with other YEN entrants, giving us an insight into what we are doing differently, enabling us to make informed improvements to our crop-production systems.

On the farm, after a relatively dry and mild November, we have been busy finishing off winter ploughing for the vining pea crop and applying Kerb to oilseed rape.

We also managed to sow our final 20ha of winter wheat following a potato crop. Thankfully, it was all completed before – yet another – period of wet weather.

With no news from the Scottish government regarding the implementation of any new agricultural policy, we are looking with interest across the border to England at the new Path to Sustainable Farming document and the introduction of the Environmental Land Management scheme.

Hopefully, as more detail is released there will be more of a focus on economic sustainability and food production, both of which are high on my priority list as a farm manager.

No doubt the Scottish government will take the framework to be implemented in England and give it some unnecessary twists to keep us on our toes.

David Fuller manages 3,500ha of medium sandy clays for McGregor Farms based at Coldstream, on both sides of the border. Cropping includes wheat, spring barley, winter barley and oilseed rape, spring beans and vining peas. Potatoes are farmed in collaboration with Greenvale AP.

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