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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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…

PEST MANAGEMENT

Grower's precision drill helps counter flea beetle threat

Wiltshire grower Martin Smart has invested in a new precision drill to give his oilseed rape a head start after on-farm trials showed that direct drilling helped his crops survive…

PEST MANAGEMENT

How a grower uses cultivations and tech to kill slugs

Slugs have been a major headache for North Yorkshire grower Graham Potter since he switched from a plough-based crop establishment system to direct drilling. But with proactive implementation of integrated…

Practical advice

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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…

DISEASE MANAGEMENT

Why cultural control is key to keeping potato blight at bay

The strains of blight that potato growers face in protecting their crops are becoming ever more aggressive, as only the fittest survive. A good example is the recent strain 36A2.…

SOILS

How growers can improve soil management decisions

A way of benchmarking soil health plus a tool aimed at helping farmers tackle soil compaction were among the highlights at Farmers Weekly’s Soils in Practice 2018 event. We take…

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…

Insights

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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…

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…