Know How / Land preparation

Getting your land ready for drilling and planting is crucial to getting crops off to the best start. Find practical guidance on improving your soil health, making good quality seed-beds, ploughing and cultivation techniques and choosing the right cover crops. Read advice on preparing land for wheat, barley, potatoes and sugar beet crops.

 

Case studies

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SOILS

Award-winning grower explains strategy for top notch soils

Home-made compost combined with an extremely diverse rotation and minimal soil disturbance has the cut the inputs and agronomic management needed on Simon Cowell’s farm at Lawrence, near Southminster, Essex.…

COVER CROPS

Why cover crops have a place on a mixed Hampshire farm

Cover cropping has earned its place in the arable rotation at Freefolk Farms in Hampshire, with stubble turnips being used ahead of spring cropping, bringing many benefits on the thin…

COVER CROPS

Video: Crimper trial aims to kill cover crops without herbicides

The holy grail of crimping is for cover crops to slowly die into a weed-supressing mat, covering the soil without the use of chemical sprays or the plough. For an…

SOILS

Beef cattle improve soil health on Notts arable farm

Nottinghamshire farmer Trevor Needham is successfully using beef cattle to improve the health of his hungry sandland soils, lifting cereal yields in the process. Bringing grass leys into the rotation…

OILSEED RAPE

OSR growers focus on costs and yields for next season

With oilseed rape crops taking advantage of the much-needed May sunshine, our four growers taking part in our OSR Masters series are keeping a close eye on crop progress as…

BLACKGRASS

Blackgrass battle looks winnable for Suffolk grower

Suffolk grower Andrew Colchester has taken a big step towards banishing blackgrass on his farm by radically changing his cultivation strategy and beefing up his herbicide programme. He had seen…

Practical advice

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SOILS

7 steps to successful subsoiling

Subsoiling can be effective technique to solve soil compaction problems. However, if done at the wrong time or incorrect depth, it can cause more problems than it solves. Soil compaction…

SOILS

Tips on assessing the health of your soil

A healthy soil is described as a living system that helps to maintain and enhance the natural environment, which in turn makes for more productive crops. That’s a shortened version…

SOILS

Advice on reducing soil erosion in arable fields

Soil erosion is a natural process that can be slow and continue virtually unnoticed or may occur at an alarming rate and involve huge amounts of soil being lost from…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

Tips on selecting the right cultivator for your soils

Farmers often put a huge amount of effort into selecting the right drill to get cereal crops off to the best start in the autumn, but picking the wrong cultivator…

SOILS

5 tips to successfully convert to a no-till system

Adopting conservation agriculture can involve many highs and lows. We asked independent biological farming expert Mike Harrington to share his five top tips on how to make it a smoother process.…

ESTABLISHMENT

What to consider when changing your establishment system

Farmers looking to change their establishment system are attracted by the promises of improved weed control and cheaper cultivations; however, getting it wrong can prove to be a costly mistake.…

Insights

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SOILS

Grower with award-winning soils reveals benefits of bacteria to ...

Modern wheat varieties have been shown to be able to support colonies of nutrient-unlocking soil fungi in trials held by agronomy company ProCam. Samples of root taken from the Essex…

SOILS

Award-winning grower explains strategy for top notch soils

Home-made compost combined with an extremely diverse rotation and minimal soil disturbance has the cut the inputs and agronomic management needed on Simon Cowell’s farm at Lawrence, near Southminster, Essex.…

SOILS

Expert advice on managing soils better

Soil health has risen to the top of the agenda for the agricultural industry over recent years. At the recent Farmers Weekly Soils in Practice event on a Lincolnshire farm,…

ARABLE

How 'conservation agriculture' can improve soil health

Adopting the fundamental principles of “conservation agriculture” has huge potential for nursing depleted arable soils back to health and correct implementation is key to its success. Conservation agriculture is defined…

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

How companion crops can slash inputs by 30%

Growing more than one crop could play a valuable role on UK farms, through raising yields and slashing the need for inputs, and it may even help solve problems such as barley…

MAIZE

How maize growers are countering critics with good husbandry

Maize growers are countering controversial claims that the crop is damaging to the environment by promoting good agricultural practice. A “maize charter” that is being trialled in southern England aims to encourage…

SOILS

Arable Horizons: How science and tech could save our soils

Our soils are in trouble. That has been the clear and much-publicised message from the scientific community in recent years. But despite the gloomy headlines, Wilfred Otten of the Cranfield…

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

Short-term benefits pay for cover crop establishment

The short-term benefits of improved nutrient capture and weed suppression pay for the cost of establishing a cover crop, according to new data. This then leaves the longer-term benefits to…

ARABLE

Composts can give a quick lift to soil fertility

The addition of organic materials can improve soil fertility and also provide a useful source of nutrients. Louise Impey reports on the latest research. The use of bulky organic materials,…