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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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.…


How a data analyst is improving 4 arable businesses in Norfolk

Data is the new weapon for farmers seeking to enter a competitive global market, while protecting the environment and coping with the greater extremes in weather. But not enough is…


Herbal leys bring fertility back to light Cotswold soils

Herbal leys are helping to return fertility to Toby Baxter’s light Cotswold limestone brashy soils, boosting his arable grain yields and allowing his livestock to thrive. The diverse temporary grass…


Why new Lincs heavy land AHDB Monitor Farm is going no till

A total turnaround marks the start of a farming couple's three-year stint as hosts of the AHDB’s new Lincolnshire Monitor Farm at Wainfleet, as they take the plunge and commit…


Devon farmer's low-cost way to drill high-yielding cereals

Broadcasting cereal crops rather than using a conventional drill is the main crop-establishment method for one Devon family farm, which has been successfully using the low-cost technique to establish high-yielding…


Two growers' experiences with March-drilled winter wheat

Wheat varieties that can be drilled very late came to the rescue for growers struggling to get any winter cereals into the ground last season because of the extremely wet…

Practical advice

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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…


The big question: Drill wheat early or late this autumn?

The very wet winter of 2019 left many wheat growers struggling to get crops in the ground, particularly those who opted for delayed drilling for blackgrass control. Based on that…


4 wheat varieties with wide drilling windows to consider

The value of wheat varieties with wider drilling windows that allow for later sowing has proved incredibly useful after the wet winter of 2019, offering growers greater flexibility on when…


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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…


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…


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…