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

Mixed farm invests in direct drill for shift to no-till

Hefty spending on a new cereal drill and a robotic milking system demonstrates how one big Shropshire estate is looking to leave farming a in better shape for the next…

COVER CROPS

How catch crops cut one grower's costs and improved soils

After 10 years of successful cover cropping, Kent grower Guy Eckley has added catch crops to his rotation with the aim of accelerating the benefits to his soil health. These…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

How healthy soils halved fuel bill on Shropshire farm

A Shropshire grower has achieved major reductions to both his fuel bill and horsepower requirements by switching to strip-till, growing cover crops and introducing sheep to his rotation. In the…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

How Lincs grower hopes to slash cultivation costs

Lincolnshire grower Andrew Ward is achieving bumper spring barley yields on his heavy land by cultivating early after the combine, and he now hopes to cut establishment costs and reduce…

SOILS

Farmer invents tyre pressure system to help soil health

Ontario farmer Jake Kraayenbrink has invented his own auto-inflation system to keep tyres at the optimum pressure, lowering the risk of soil damage. It just takes him a few seconds…

SOILS

Potato grower increases worm numbers with cover crops

A Shropshire grower is trying to limit the damaging effect of heavy cultivations for potato crops to his light soils through the use of cover crops. He has seen worm…

Practical advice

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LAND PREPARATION

How to use active fallows to repair soils on undrilled land

Growers with land left undrilled this year should consider the use of active fallow to improve soil condition and prepare the ground for next autumn’s drillings. In an active fallow,…

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.…

SOILS

7 ways to flood-proof soils and improve drainage

Arable growers need to follow a seven-point plan to improve their soil structure especially if, as expected, new farm support payments will depend on healthy soils. With many arable areas…

NUTRITION AND FERTILISER

How to avoid the top 3 micronutrient deficiencies in cereals

Needed in such finite quantities, micronutrients can be easily overlooked as another expense, with deficiencies putting cereal yields at risk as well as leading to crops that are more susceptible…

SOILS

How to raise headland yields by cutting soil compaction risk

Yields on field headlands are typically 10% lower than the rest of the field, which is why farmers will benefit from measures that minimise the impact of increased traffic on…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

The best way to manage stubbles after harvest

Unless you are one of a growing number of no-tillers or you plough every year, it is difficult to be prescriptive when it comes to post-harvest cultivation strategy. There is…

Insights

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SOILS

Fermenting organic matter better for soil than composting

Fermenting organic matter in a similar way to ensiling grass, rather than composting waste, can lead to greater improvements in soil health while at the same time helping farmers to…

SOILS

Tips on getting soils and rotations back on track

After one of the wettest winters on record, it could be assumed that UK arable soils will be in desperate need of first aid before the next cropping season begins.…

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

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…

ARABLE

Can arable farming and wildlife conservation work together?

Farming is coming under greater pressure to halt the decline in wildlife. A major government project hopes to provide some of the answers in coming years, by balancing greater diversity with…

SOILS

Two high-tech solutions to tackle poor soil health

With soil fertility and sustainability in the spotlight, two high-tech projects at the University of Plymouth could revolutionise the way farmers think about this precious resource. Scientists look to create…

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…