Know How / Wheat / Establishment

Bringing establishment costs down, without affecting yields, is one of the main priorities on arable farms today. Cutting costs by reducing the number of passes, but without cutting corners, is the focus for many. See the most recent guidance on cost-effective establishment systems and how they are performing in a range of soil types.

Case studies

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Direct-drilling wheat into clover ley saves farm £100/ha

Listen to Richard Allison read this article or see the text below. Farmers Weekly · Direct drilling wheat into clover ley saves family farm £100/ha Direct-drilling winter wheat into a…


How direct-drilling slashed fuel costs by 30% on Lincs farm

Making radical changes to crop establishment, such as ditching the plough and power harrow, could help farmers fill the income gap resulting from the loss of BPS payments. This is…


What Hereford Monitor Farms' machinery cost review reveals

A full machinery review has identified potential savings for the four AHDB Herefordshire Monitor Farmers, which could help their businesses weather the combined effects of the rise in input costs…


How two farmers are using fermented manure to improve soil

On the north Northumberland coast, mixed farmers Guy Douglas and Peter Brewis are working together to ferment their farmyard manure to create a highly nutritious "soil food source" to enrich…


How a drill kit enabled farmer to adopt variable seeding

Reaping the benefits of variable-rate drilling has, for many growers, meant spending many thousands upgrading their drills. However, a low-cost conversion kit is opening up this technique to many more.…


How a mixed farmer won bronze in wheat YEN competition

Cornish mixed farmer Ashley Jones won bronze in the prestigious Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) competition with his winter wheat crop, which yielded 92% of 13.9t/ha, despite a challenging growing season.…

Practical advice

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How to achieve the most effective cover crop destruction

Cover crops are becoming a mainstream option for growers, but their successful destruction ahead of spring cropping is greatly dependent on the type of cover species sown, timing and removal…


5 cultivation and establishment methods compared

Establishment systems cover varying degrees of soil movement, from relatively little disturbance associated with direct-drilling and min-till through to deep cultivations and complete inversion with the likes of ploughing. Each…


How to reduce soil compaction and optimise crop yields

Compacted soils can typically yield 10-20% lower than healthy soils, which is why growers could benefit from a range of measures to cut compaction risks and avoid costly yield losses.…


Advice on best drilling date for winter wheat

The best time to drill winter wheat can vary, whether you farm in England or Scotland, as delayed drilling is often advised south of the border, while the earlier the…


How to maximise wheat crop competition to beat blackgrass

Maximising the competitiveness of wheat crops is a valuable way of managing resistant blackgrass, effectively smothering the weed and reducing seed return. Delayed drilling and stale seed-beds have stolen the…


5 top grower mistakes with cover crops and how to avoid them

Grow cover crops effectively and they can increase soil organic matter, cycle nutrients, protect soils from erosion and increase profitability. Get it wrong and you may see poorer establishment from…


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How a new soil scoring tool picks the best cultivation option

A new crop establishment tool which assesses a range of soil management factors is set to help farmers identify whether a change in cultivation may benefit their soils. There is…


Is there still a need for costly wheat seed treatments?

Cereal growers are increasingly questioning the need for chemical seed treatments as they continue to improve soil health, encourage soil biology and drive down costs. With autumn drilling under way,…


Is regenerative agriculture the future of arable farming?

A growing number of farmers are overhauling their systems and are now farming in a way that has little impact on soil health, includes greater diversity and leads to more…


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.…


Why no-till is profitable despite having a yield penalty

As machinery costs are the main driver of arable profit, no-till farms can afford to produce 1t/ha less wheat than their more conventional counterparts. Speaking at the Groundswell event in June, accountant…


On-farm establishment trial shows best system in a dry year

Dry conditions for the second year in a row have highlighted the importance of establishment method. Systems which allowed crops to get their roots down in search of moisture were…


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…


Smart drill add-on offers real-time variable applications

A clever gadget that provides planter operators with real-time soil data for on-the-fly variable-rate seed and fertiliser applications could soon feature on UK farms after a recent Agco acquisition. Illinois-based…


Data reveals how raising crop yields can offset subsidy loss

Any reductions in support payments arising from Brexit can be covered on most UK arable farms by improved crop performance, results from ProCam’s 4Cast service suggest. The higher wheat yields…


Why spring wheat can be more profitable than spring barley

Spring wheat can earn growers more money than spring barley with a potential gross margin of over £800/ha and offer them a competitive crop to counter troublesome grassweeds. According to…


Low BYDV risk this season sends cheer to embattled growers

A lower barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) risk this season could cut cereal establishment costs by eliminating the need for a seed dressing. This could be the silver lining for…