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Agrii East Autumn 2015 Contents Making the Most of a New Agronomy Approach Page 1 World Wheat Record Claim and iFarm Event Previews Page 2 Valuing Wheat Micro-nutrition Page 3 A Year of Variety Change Page 3 Visit Agrii at British Potato 2015 Page 3 Growing Precision Drives Quality Wheat Process and CropTec Page 4 Trials Data to Support Orchard Decision Making Page 5 Agrii iFarm Locations in the East Page 6 agriiUK 01 Making the Most of a New Agronomy Approach F arm agronomy is at an important crossroads offering exciting opportunities for those providing far more strategic and joined-up grower support. This is the rm belief of agronomist Paul Foster who is responsible for some 20000 acres of combinable cropping for Agrii customers across Hertfordshire Essex and Cambridgeshire. He has seen the way he works with growers change out of all recognition in his 24 years in the business with the pace of change accelerating markedly in the past ve. More acres to manage with fewer men and machines means time is critically lacking on most farms these days he pointed out. Not only that but almost all the ofcially-provided research and advisory support everyone used to rely on has gone by the board while the margin for management error has become very much smaller if not non-existent in many cases. Add in the vital extra need to ensure compliance across our farming manage a declining chemical arsenal in the face of growing resistance and take the greatest possible advantage of an increasing array of crop production and marketing technologies and tools and the whole business has become hugely more complex and demanding of both time and knowledge. Paul Foster stresses that more and more growers have neither the time nor the inclination to deal with a range of different specialists resolve conicting product claims and advice or be the guinea pigs for new input or equipment technologies. Instead they have to be free to concentrate on other key elements of their businesses like crop marketing xed cost planning and managing other on and off-farm enterprises. This means they need the most joined-up production support they can get through someone they can trust and rely on for strategic planning as well as immediate technical know-how. They also need someone who can provide them with reliable research-based advice and product supply for the best possible results. And someone who is able to be their eyes and ears beyond the farm gate as much as in the eld. While he has no doubt that the agronomists of the future need to be very much more than the eld walkers of the past Paul is convinced they cannot possibly take on this far wider and role alone. Instead he believes they must be co-ordinators of the essential components rather than sole providers. As crop management co- ordinators we have to have a far higher level of support behind us than has been the norm in our industry to date he stressed. Rather than supercial eld trials focused on individual inputs for instance my growers and I particularly appreciate having access to a leading research network that highlights the most effective products and systems to use and ways of using them to the greatest commercial effect. We also value being able to call on the expertise of in-house seed nutrition precision farming compliance and crop marketing specialists when we need them to seize every opportunity for improvement. And with timeliness and exibility in crop management more important than almost anything these days we need to know the inputs we specify will be delivered precisely when and where we want them. Backed by this sort of comprehensive support our role must increasingly be to bring everything together to help our growers plan and manage their crop production in the way that will deliver the best most cost- effective and sustainable rewards in an increasingly uncertain and volatile world. Thats where I see todays modern agronomist standing apart from the crop protection specialist of yesterday and why Im so excited to work where I do. Agrii agronomist Paul Foster Journal Agrii East Autumn 2015 Upcoming EventsWorld Wheat Record 02 Northumberland Team Claim New World Wheat Record with Master Seeds Crop of Dickens Were holding a series of iFarm events this autumn for which you should be receiving your invites through the post or by email shortly. If you dont currently receive an invite but would like to attend any of the events below please let your agronomist know or contact 11th November Thoresway 13th November Leadenham 23rd November Fincham 24th November Lenham 27th November Throws Farm Technology Centre 30th November Stow Longa Technology Centre W ithout fanfare and in the understated way typical of Northumberland and the Scottish borders James Rod and Vicky Smith and their Agrii team at Beal overlooking Holy Island have set a new world record for wheat with a 16.52 tha crop of Dickens grown for Master Seeds. The achievement currently being claimed with the Guinness Book of Records following detailed independent verication and video recording is all the more impressive for being produced to the farms strictly commercial seed crop growing regime. It shades the 16.50 tha grown by Tim Lamyman in Lincolnshire which is not being put forward for ofcial recognition and smashes current title holder Mike Solaris 15.64 tha New Zealand record. From the 11.259 ha eld mapped by GPS on the day the Beal Farm team harvested a total of 191.40 t of Dickens at an average17.4 moisture on September 1 giving a 15 moisture adjusted yield of 16.519 tha. Rod Smith who only beat his father James long-standing 4.7 tacre 11.6tha farm wheat average record last season puts this years Dickens achievement down to a combination of variety and season with fantastic agronomy and farm teamwork. To read the full story visit the Agrii website. T his years autumn iFarm event will be held at The Venue Navenby located close by to the Leadenham iFarm site on Friday 13th November. Discussions at the event will be based around targeting your investment to achieve protability - its not how much you invest but where you invest The iFarm workshop will act as a review and analysis of the trial harvest results from 2015 showing what we learned as well as an insight into what varieties have been drilled for 2016. The meeting will also include discussions on nutrient management plans for 2016 and a crop market update to ensure you are growing for the right market. The meeting will conclude with an update from Stow Longa on the cover crop and cultivation trial results followed by lunch for all attendees. We hope to see you there Leadenham iFarm Preview DATES FOR YOUR DIARY T his year the Throws Farm iFarm Workshop will be held on Friday 27st November. The meeting will feature the customary update on trials taking place at Throws and what you can expect to see in 2016 along with other interactive discussions around subjects including- Coping with Blackgrass with failing chemistry. Trials Manager Steve Corbett and Head of Agronomy Colin Lloyd will talk through the results from the Stow Longa cover crop and cultivation work and how you can use the data on your farm. Understanding your own soil biology chemistry to maximise yield. Regional Technical Advisor David Felce will talk about an improved understanding of Fertiliser technology Organic matter and what it means to you. Growing for the right market. Crop surpluses and market pressures mean crop marketing awareness is more crucial than ever. Head of Crop Marketing David Neale will discuss what Agrii can do for you to make sure you are growing for the right market. Please speak to your agronomist if you would like to attend. We look forward to seeing you on the 27th. Throws Farm iFarm Preview 03 A utumn 2015 has proven to be a season where growers have changed a fair percentage of the varieties they harvested. Initial indications are that we will have a 10 swing from feed wheat varieties into milling varieties. We have also seen a swing from conventional winter barley varieties into hybrid varieties by at least 5 and an estimated swing from hybrid winter rape varieties into conventional varieties. The rst fact is the one that is likely to have some effect on the milling premiums as the majority of the swing is into Group 1 milling types. The trend to an increased area of springalternative wheats is likely to continue. Last year two varieties dominated the market. Belepi a soft wheat and Mulika a Group 1 milling wheat with Mulika being by far the largest. So will the increased area of winter milling types move people away from Mulika Whilst premiums may be lower ex harvest 16 growing Mulika should still provide growers with a good range of marketing options plus the possibility of a small premium. How does it compare on grass weed suppression to Belepi From Agrii trials all spring wheat types show good competitiveness against grass weeds and whilst Belepi has made a name for itself in that area it has not shown itself to be signicantly different from Mulika. There are one or two spring wheat varieties that promise in terms of improved grass weed competitiveness and more work has been commissioned this year. It is also likely that the spring barley area will increase and this year will see the major impact of two new varieties. Both RGT Planet and KWS Irina are expected to take signicant market shares from the major English malting variety Propino. Both offer increased yield and providing early tests from this harvest give the maltsters the condence they need in the end product we should see a high demand for the seed. As always there is a lot of choice in the feed barley market. This years trials have highlighted the excellent agronomics of Hacker. HGCA 2015 trials see it in the top 3 for stem stiffness resistance to Brackling and specic weight. And equal 4th for maturity. When this is combined with its proven high straw yield and a high grain yield it shows why it is a good choice for the livestock farmer. A griiFocus Technology Centre trials over the past three years are clearly showing the potential of micro-nutrition for the most cost- effective winter wheat production even in the absence of obvious deciencies. In the high disease low yielding season of 2012 highly signicant feed wheat yield improvements of more than 1 tha over controls were recorded from the best micro-nutrient programme. The micro-nutrient-treated plots stayed green fully 16 days longer than the controls. More detailed work under the much lower disease pressure of 2013 showed no signicant response to separate foliar applications of zinc copper or boron between T0 and T3. However a programme involving all three trace elements applied at exactly the same levels but in sequence boosted average feed wheat yields by more than 0.4 tha. Again this was clearly linked to much better green leaf retention during grain ll. With disease levels again high statistically signicant yield increases were seen from zinc copper and boron applications as well as a programme of all three micro-nutrients in 2014. Signicant increases in earsm2 and grain weightear lifted the average yield across the micro-nutrient treatments by 0.44t to 11.68 tha. To get the most from wheat that each season allows we need to build and maintain sufcient tillers ensure the best possible grain set and preserve the most efcient crop canopy to support grain ll observed regional trials manager Dr Syed Shah. Our experience suggests carefully balanced micro-nutrition with basal applications of manganese magnesium and phosphite as well as extra zinc copper and boron where needed has a role to play in all these objectives. Across all our trials zinc performed consistently better than either copper or boron in boosting grain yield. It also had a positive effect on grain protein content which suggests it may have particular value for milling wheat. While Dr Shah is adamant that no-one should see micro-nutrients as quick and easy xes for performance problems he has no doubt they can be important parts of the solution for many alongside improved NPK and S nutrition soil management and rotations. He points out that nutrition is the key building block of yield unlike crop protection which only safeguards it with relatively small adjustments in fertiliser levels or timing making major differences to crop performance. Instead of any kitchen sink approach to applications though he stresses that micro-nutrient use must be driven by an understanding of the specic nutrient roles and interactions in the soil and plants. Foliar feeds arent expensive to buy or apply agreed Dr Shah. But these days no-one can afford any waste. So foliar feeding needs to be based on sound science. In promoting naturally healthier plants our studies suggest better micro-nutrition may also be providing valuable support to fungicide treatment for the most effective crop protection he added. This is something were actively exploring in more depth at AgriiFocus. Wheat Micro-nutritionVariety ChoiceBP2015 03 Valuing Wheat Micro-nutrition Syed Shah RD Manager A Year of Variety Change Barry Barker Seed Manager Visit Agrii at British Potato 2015 W ere busy preparing our stand for British Potato 2015 in Harrogate on 12th and 13th November. Come and visit us on stand H14 for some light refreshments and nd out more about our hot potato RD topics and our integrated soil to store potato agronomy and technical services. You can also enter a prize draw to win a bottle of potato vodka The event is free and you can register in advance at www.bp2015. info which should save you time on the day. The event is free and you in advance at www.bp2015. 04 ARE YOU ATTENDING CROPTEC 2015 JOIN US ON THE AGRII STAND Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th November 2015 East of England Showground Peterborough Now in its third year CropTec brings together farmers industry experts and researchers plus the latest products and services from more than 100 exhibitors. Its your unique opportunity to nd ideas inspiration and answers on everything from crop protection and nutrition to plant breeding and soil management in one place at one time. I ncreasing precision has allowed Tom and Richard Wood to build on their quality wheat growing record at Walmer Farm near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire increasing average yields by around 0.5tha and reducing costs per tonne. Specialising in bread wheat for more than 30 years the father son partnership and their Agrii agronomist David Vine have driven this performance improvement by progressively introducing precision technologies across their 400 ha business. Weve always made the full milling specication with our Group 1s and were averaging around 10t tha from rst and 8t ha from second wheats in our wheatwheat rape rotation Richard explained. But our performance had denitely plateaued. At the same time black-grass was beginning to rear its ugly head in places and we had a suspicion that P levels might be becoming limiting. Precision agronomy has really helped us tackle these challenges. In 2014 we averaged 10.1 tha over the weighbridge across our rst and second wheats while continuing to make the full milling spec. We also brought in an average 5tha from our winter OSR. So were clearly making good progress. To pinpoint actual variations in soil type and PK status an 80 ha block of four elds at Walmer Farm was SoilQuest conductivity scanned in 2009. Despite regular soil sampling showing PK indices of 2 in most elds this revealed 20-30 of many with P K indices of 1 while other parts were indexing 3 or more. The SoilQuesting really highlighted the inadequacies of traditional eld soil sampling and arbitrary grid-based mapping systems stressed David Vine. Having discovered the true extent of their soil variations Tom and Richard invested in an Amazone spreader with variable rate capability in 2010. At the same time they had SoilQuest scan and sample the rest of the farm. Since then weve cut all PK from the liquid fertiliser regime and been variably applying both automatically to eld management zones. Weve already more than paid for the mapping and sampling by the saving over the blanket PK dressing wed otherwise have needed says David Vine. More importantly re-sampling last autumn showed our indices were consistently 2s and 3s across every zone. So weve been able to concentrate our applications where theyre needed rather than waste them where they arent. Seeing how well the management zones reected their own knowledge of the elds and old eld boundaries in particular gave the Woods the faith to take the next step into precision by moving to variable seed rates for all their wheat in 2012. Every season Richard and David now sit down with the eld maps and create their seed plans based on an average sowing rate for the conditions and sowing date with management zone rates adjusted up or down by up to 20 . Variable seed rates have been a big step forward reported Richard. Theyve really helped us ensure more consistent establishment. Automatically upping the seed rate on difcult areas of each eld and where we most need to out-compete slugs and black-grass is giving us far more even and uniform crops with none of those tell-tale gappy patches. For us precision agronomy is all about combining our understanding of the farm with Davids expertise and technical know-how in targeting our inputs better and better in both space and time to boost yields and reduce costs per tonne. The more we take advantage of the technologies we consider right for us the more benets were nding from them. And theyre making the closer working with David we consider vital to our future so much easier and more productive. Precision AgronomyCropTec 04 Growing Precision Drives Quality Wheat Progress Tom and Richard Wood implementing a precision-based approach at Walmer Farm. 05 Trials Data to Support Orchard Decision Making A simple technique to save apple growers the cost of planting a twin- stem tree is one of the ideas Agrii technical support manager for fruit Colin Bird is testing this year at the companys iFarm on the East Malling Research estate in Kent. The advantages of investing in twin-stem trees include more even growth better quality fruit and less management overall but because trees are budded twice they obviously cost more to buy. Im trialling a way of achieving the same result but which growers could do themselves says Mr Bird. Using the Annaglo clone of Gala at the site he cut the main stem down to 15cm above the graft immediately after planting to leave two feathers at the right height. Suppliers of young trees would argue that two buds have benets in terms of the tree developing into a better cropping unit he says. My thinking is that with the attention to detail that growers pay their crops and the irrigation and fertigation that modern orchards now have the trees potential will be maximised so do we need to bud them twice to get the same result Most of the work at the demonstration site will assess new crop protection or growth control products. Because we have planted such a range of apples in particular we can test new products on each variety all in one place compare the effects more easily and of course see how new varieties react compared to standard varieties which would be difcult to do anywhere else he says. We will test any product we think can offer growers an advantage or that looks promising. Last year assessments included a new fruit thinning product which is expected to be approved by next spring and an evaluation of fungicides against scab or powdery mildew. We found Talius which has off-label approval for outdoor top fruit head and shoulders above other products in its control of mildew says Mr Bird. It does have a current restriction in that any fruit harvested within 12 months of treatment must be destroyed but it could still be useful in a newly planted orchard. The apple collection includes some varieties yet to be taken up by the industry in any numbers but which have been earmarked as potential stars of the future such as Alura Collina and Maribelle and some club varieties which are not openly available such as Cameo and Zari. It also now includes seven cider apple varieties spanning modern types such as Hastings and Prince William as well as traditional ones such as Dabinette and Brown Snout all on MM106 rootstock. The UK area of cider apples has increased year on year since 2007 and has the potential to expand further so we have a role to play to help growers improve production practices says Mr Bird. Cider trees can behave very differently to dessert varieties for instance in their response to being sprayed. Few agrochemical manufacturers will have tested their products on all but the most important apple varieties but we can do it here. Mr Bird says the iFarm will be a valuable resource too for training and updating its own staff and is planning to run grower focus days in future. The fruit iFarm will be open to grower visits in the near future speak to your fruit agronomist for more information. Journal Agrii East Autumn 2015 Horticulture Much of the work at the iFarm at East Malling will assess new crop protection or growth control products Colin Bird will compare the orchard performance of Gala cut down after planting to two feathers 15cm above the graft with bought-in twin-stem trees 6 4 1 2 5 3 Your local Agrii iFarms 1. Fincham 2. Leadenham 3. Lenham 4. Thoresway Your local Technology Centre 5. Stow Longa 6. Throws Farm Key Agrii iFarms Agrii Technology Centre 06 Journal Agrii East Autumn 2015 Contact DetailsLAMMA 2016 Agrii iFarm locations in the East Enquiry Contact Numbers Agronomy Enquiries Customer Services 0845 607 3322 Agrii Consultancy Services Paul Pickford 07909 925413 Fertiliser Enquiries Peter Read 07836 387 686 Tom Land 07730 764 043 Stuart Menhinick 07770 334 141 SoilQuest Stuart Alexander 07889 413 190 Seed Support and Variety Sales Information Kevin Woodman Simon Hobbs 07768 507 204 07770 643 365 Angie Baker Ross Dawson 07796 193 895 07912 043 305 Sam Gallagher Richard Lawrence 01522 515 204 07836 567210 Louise Rawlinson 07721 788943 Farm Saved Seed Mark Taylor 07836 527 251 Hugh Boswell 07740 926 119 Fruit Crops Kevin Workman 07802 981 080 Vegetable Crops Chris Wallwork 07885 252 455 Weather Stations Neil Obbard 07885 252 418 Event Enquiries Charlie Lewis 07789 942493 Crop Marketing David Neale 07799 695 549 LAMMA is the UKs largest farm machinery equipment and agricultural services show and is free to attend. Well be in Hall 7 again this year and once again well be on the NRoSO knowledge trail so come and talk to us to get your CPD points. Come and visit us on the Agrii stand at LAMMA 2016 20th and 21st January 2016 East of England Showground Peterborough For more information email