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C over cropping is showing clear promise in our research programme with yield benets of up to 1.8 tha recorded in spring cereals last season. But disappointing results where grass weed pressures were high and similar responses from changes to cultivation and drilling practice show theres still a lot to learn about the technique. In particular what covers will do most good on heavy ground Where might they be best employed in the rotation How should they be managed to greatest effect And critically can they reliably justify their cost Theseareamongthekeyquestions our RD team is addressing in trials designed to tease apart the key components of cover cropping success. This season even 10 weeks of short term cover ahead of winter wheat sowing proved noticeably valuable in drying out heavy clay ground and improving its crumb structure. In this and parallel eld scale spring wheat trial work however trials manager Steve Corbett is recording noticeable differences between four different cover crops being explored alongside three non-cover regimes. From what weve seen so far the keythingweneedtoaskwithcover cropping is what are we trying to achieve alongside better winter or spring crop performance he said. Is it nutrient trapping soil structure improvement or grass weed control we really want Our studies are clearly showing its very much horses for courses. With its strong tap root oil radish made a good attempt to break through the grounds compacted layer. Decent lateral rooting also improved crumb structure. Much better crumb improvement and compaction-busting came from a combination of black oats and vetches. In fact this was nearly as good as a decent cultivation. In contrast though they worked well for soil structure and drying in the top few centimeters both phacelia and white mustard proved unable to make any impact on compaction below 10- 15cm 4-6. Theyre clearly water pumps more than anything else. Mid-October grass weed levels were highest in oil radish reported Steve Corbett. The black oats and vetch also appeared to compete less well with weeds than the phacelia and white mustard but its more open structure allowed very good control with the glyphosate cover destruction. Its very much work in progress here. Weve been encouraged by the improvements in soil structure that appear possible. Providing the right cover crop can be grown for the conditions and grass weeds kept soundly asleep after it the technique could be really valuable in improving heavy ground. However the proof of the pudding will be in securing sufcient immediate yield and input-saving benet to more than cover the cost of both the extra seed and time costs involved. 01 Addressing Key Cover Cropping Questions Journal Agrii East Summer 2015 Contents Addressing Key Cover Cropping Questions Page 01 Summer iFarm Event Previews Page 02 Grant Aid Countryside Productivity Scheme Page 03 Improvements to be found in new varieties Page 03 Facing the Fertiliser Volatility Challenge Page 04 Rural Community Champions Shortlisted Page 04 Building Success on Integrated Working Page 05 Your local Agrii points of contact Page 06 agriiUK 02 Agrii East Summer 2015 Journal Summer iFarm Event Previews Dates for your Diary Stow Longa Technology Centre 4th 15th 19th June 6th July Thoresway 16th June Lenham 18th June Fincham 24th June Leadenham 26th June Throws Farm Technology Centre 29th June 3rd July Our iFarms offer farmers the opportunity to experience the very latest RD and allow us to join up agri-science with prac- tical agronomy enabling our customers to constantly improve yields grow protable crops and respond to The Food Chal- lenge. For more information on any of these events please speak to your Agrii Agronomist alternatively you can contact Charlie Lewis on 07789942493 or email Lenham iFarm Preview W e are now into the second year at our new iFarm site at Lenham Kent. Taking place on Thursday 18th June this summer we are providing Agronomy Workshops starting at 10am and running throughout the day until 3.45pm with refreshments and lunch served at 1pm for all attendees. The workshop will revolve around two main tours rstly a tour of the Winter Wheat trials with Agriis Colin Lloyd Will Foss looking at varieties spray programmes and wheat protein enhancement to achieve a protable crop. The second tour will be with Agriis David Leaper around the OSR plots taking a detailed look at varieties and varietal disease proles. On the day attending by invitation will be Burden Bros Crawfords Fgs Agri Omex Origin Fertilisers SoilQuest and Southern Harvesters giving you the opportunity to discuss any requirements. We are also running a prize draw for all attendees on the day with the winner receiving 1t of C1 KWS Trinity Redigo Deter seed wheat with 5t FSS processing in 2016. The event is by invitation only look out for yours in the post or speak to your Agrii agronomist. Stow Longa Technology Centre iFarm Preview T he cultivation trial at Stow Longa Technology Centre is now into year 5 and the big question is can cultivations and drilling dates over 5 years make a difference With 4 iFarm days over the summer we invite you to come and see our latest results. The Stow Longa site has recently seen the introduction of trials on cover crops to monitor their impact on grass weed control this summer we will take a look at which species are doing what to the soil structure and effect it has on your winter and spring wheat drillings. We also have a new experiment looking into crop rotations on heavily infected blackgrass elds. The experiment which will show 6 different rotations is into year 1 of a 5 year trial - how do these 1ha blocks look in year one As per previous years the event will include variety tours to show who is performing in the ght against blackgrass including spring wheat varieties drilled towards the end of October alongside winter wheat varieties to give a direct comparison. There will be 4 separate iFarm events at Stow Longa this summer on 4th 15th 19th June and 6th July. Each day customers will have a choice of either a morning or afternoon session with a BBQ lunch served in- between for all attendees. Booking is required so please speak to your Agrii contact if you would like to attend. Leadenham iFarm Preview T he Leadenham iFarm event will be held on Friday 26th June 2015 at Glebe Farm. At this summers iFarm event there will be a huge amount to see and hear about. Tours on the day will include a detailed look at the winter wheat plots and their varietal performance with Agrii Trials Manager Steve Corbett followed by a tour of the OSR plots looking at verities and disease proles with Technical Seed Manager David Leaper. SoilQuests Josh Murphy will be running a demo on the day to show the scanner and sampler in action and highlighting the benets that it could bring to your farm. Simba will also be present to talk about the drilling machinery and techniques used on the plots. Lunch and refreshments will be served for all attendees and will give you a chance to catch up with local Agrii staff. For further information please contact your local Agrii agronomist. We look forward to seeing you there 03 Grant Aid Countryside Productivity Scheme W e are probably all aware of the frustrations that have come with the Basic Payment Scheme a failure to deliver the new online system and reverting to a paper application has led to the movement of the deadline to 15 June. In the background whilst BPS has been taking our attention a productivity grant has been available and remains so until 30 June. There are two types of grant dictated by the level of funding available. The smaller is a grant of 2500 - 35000 and the larger is available for between 35000 and 1000000. For both of these the grant level is 40 of the capital cost of the project. Who can apply Farmers woodland owners and forestry contractors Whats available There are a many categories and items within these that are available some options below Animal productivity health and welfare pig handling systems and calving detectors Arable and horticultural productivity remote crop sensors and crop robotics Forestry productivity woodland harvesting and extraction Resource management water management and slurry application Below is some information on just two of the areas available within this grant water and woodlands to nd out more on these and the other areas to take advantage of go to countryside-productivity-scheme Water Efciency The idea of this area of the grant is to encourage water savings and irrigation efciencies. Examples of what is available for grant aid under this category are below Soil moisture and water consumption software Remote soil moisture monitoring sensors Trickle irrigation tapes pipes and hoses New reservoirs The water source used to improve efciencies must not be mains supplied the eligible sources include boreholes surface water abstraction points peak ow only rainwater recycled or harvested water and grey water. It is a requirement of this area of the grant that you provide evidence that there will be water savings of at least 5. Woodland Productivity This category of the grant is geared towards improving the productivity of woodlands and realise their economic value. Examples of the type of equipment that is available under this area are found below Self-propelled wood chippers Tractor-mounted rewood processors and wood chippers Mobile saw benches Chip-screening equipment Items under this category that are ineligible are chainsaws standard or small scale tractors tipping at bed and box trailers wood-red boilers Remember if you own woodland looking to improve its productivity and therefore take advantage of this grant you must have a woodland management plan. The grant deadline is coming up so if there are areas of interest to your business then please get in touch with the Agrii consultancy team to discuss further. Improvements to be found in new varieties D espite some perceptions that breeders are not making any advances in the breeding of cereals or oilseeds in recent years. One has to remember that we are facing some signicant changes in the pressures that farmers and varieties have to face. Light Leaf Spot is a problem to many more farmers these days than it was 5 years ago. Good Septoria resistance has been invaluable to some growers in the West and so have varieties that help reduce the incidence of blackgrass through their growth habit been in the East. What benets do the latest wheat and oilseed rape varieties bring Taking the wheat rst two new varieties have been added to the bread making section of the Recommended List. KWS Trinity has been added to the list principally because of its excellent Rust resistance. Plus it has a yield to match Skyfall. In Agrii trials it has also shown a better Septoria resistance than the RL data shows. Secondly KWS Lili. Those who would normally be looking at feed wheat varieties should not dismiss this variety just because it sits in the milling wheat section. It has the yield potential up there with the best feed varieties it has a good Septoria score and could well get you a few pounds premium into a mill or a better export price than a hard feed wheat. The headline variety in the feed section will be Reection. It ticks a lot of boxes. It is good to see a variety with a decent specic weight and a high yield. A lot of the recent introductions havent managed to do both. Maturity is similar to JB Diego again this hasnt been the trend in recent years. The latest varieties to hit the market in the oilseed rape sector can be found on the Candidate list. This is where there have been some denite genetic improvements. For the last few years nding varieties with a good Light Leaf Spot resistance has been a tad difcult but there are some this year that denitely show promise. If you are looking for a conventional variety then Nikita has a lot going for it. Gross output including a good oil content is certainly right up the top. But the 8 for Light Leaf Spot is going to attract a lot of people too. Currently the best resistance in a conventional variety is around the 6 mark so a denite improvement. In the hybrid category Alizze also has an 8 for Light Leaf Spot and the high gross output and high oil content of Nikita. Once again this is a signicant improvement over recommended varieties. Growers should also keep an eye out for the latest from the Dekalb stable DK Exalte. One year behind Nikita and Alizze in trials it also has excellent Light Leaf Spot resistance. But in addition it has the Stem Canker resistance of DK Expower. All in all there are improvements worth considering in this years new varieties. Better agronomics may help with costs of production whilst the yield potential should help optimise the nancial returns. Seed Environmental Barry Barker - Arable Seed Product Manager 04 Nutrition Rural Communities Rural Community Champions Shortlisted Wed like to say a big thank you to everyone who nominated their local heroes as part of our Rural Community Champions Project. The competition has now closed and we received nominations from all over the country for people doing a vast range of different things to help their local communities to thrive. Twenty local winners were chosen from all of the entries each of whom has been sent a small prize of 50. These twenty local winners were then shortlisted down to three nalists one from each Agrii region north west and east. The overall winner will be chosen from these three nalists by customers at Agriis summer events. You can visit one of the following events to vote for your favourite You can read more about the twenty local winners and our three nalists on our website at and in local press. Bishop Burton 17th June Throws Farm 29th June 3rd July Stafford 30th June AgriiFocus 8th July Culbokie 8th July Facing the Fertiliser Volatility Challenge N o year is ever the same in the world of fertiliser and the UK fertiliser market represents such a small part in the global economics of fertiliser trading. The entire UK Nitrogen market represents 3 days of global production for our annual supply of Nitrogen A big challenge for on farm prices for the fertiliser year 2015 will be currency usually supply and demand has the greatest inuence and this will be either the to the dollar or the Euro to the dollar. Urea is currently trading at a ve year low but shipped prices are being held up due to currency rates. If we look back 12 months the to the was 1.70 today currency sits at 1.50 . This difference in currency rates adds 20tonne to the price of fertiliser and in a general election year the strength of the will determine the bottom in urea prices. Granular Urea the most globally traded Nitrogen product largely depends on supply and demand factors. Fertiliser demand always continues to grow as developing countries learn better techniques on growing crops along with a growing population. The supply and demand balance is certainly getting a lot closer and looking at proposed production around the world the balance will get even closer. Historic forecasts were always looking at increased production in the Middle East and North Africa due to their cheap gas supplies however due to the development of fracked gas there is a strong growth in new proposed production plants in the US. Political stability has always hindered production from Middle Eastern countries and investment from global businesses in these regions at times has proved difcult to see a return on investment. Particularly Egypt who constantly suffer from Gas issues and political unrest hindering potential production. In principle there are close to 40 new fertiliser plants proposed for development in the US but in reality only 20 of these will actually be commissioned. A shiny new fertiliser plant will cost somewhere in the region of 1.6 billion USD and many global businesses are looking to invest in North American gas production. With the US becoming a potential net exporter of fertiliser we could start to see a change in global trade ows of fertiliser and the UK and European markets could see more variation in urea types. Ammonium Nitrate remains the product of choice for UK farmers. Agrii are the largest supplier of GrowHow Nitrogen and NPKS compounds. GrowHow products are manufactured using the latest abatement technology and provide a lower carbon footprint in terms of manufacture. Having a domestic manufacturer of Nitrogen does help guarantee supply and a key message to farmers is to manage their risks from price volatility. According to the latest BSFP British Survey of fertiliser practice Nitrogen rates in 2014 increased and Agrii as a business also recognised an increase in Nitrogen rates during the 2014 season. This increase in Nitrogen was due to crop potential and as a result we measured signicantly higher yields as a result of increased Nitrogen use. The UK Nitrogen market for the 2015 season looks to be back slightly circa 5 and the PK market looks to be back 8-10 as farmers cut back on PK usage. Below is a chart from the latest BSFP highlighting fertiliser usage since 1983. Agrii can provide you with all of your nutrition requirements and we are backed up by strong RD in crop nutrition. This is supported by sound agronomic advice from agronomists nutrition specialists and fertiliser managers. Agrii provide highly competitive nance packages with exible payment options to help manage cash ow. For more information please contact your local agronomist or call our fertiliser department on 01277 898201. 05 T he farming challenges of today are far too many and signicant to be addressed piecemeal believes Agrii chief executive David Downie. Instead he is adamant that success in an increasingly competitive volatile fast-moving and legislatively-restricted world requires the most integrated partnership working. Building Success on Integrated Working Agrii East Summer 2015 Journal Update from David Downie Agrii CEO Sustaining farming prots certainly isnt getting any easier with markets as volatile and climatic conditions as variable as theyve become he reected. Bigger businesses to manage with fewer people makes life even more demanding. As do more and more limited crop protection armouries increasing problems of resistance growing burdens of legislation greening and bureaucracy and continuing concerns over future stafng and succession. In my career Im fortunate enough to have been able to view our industry from both ends through the eyes of my familys farm and from the perspective of a major food retailer. Amongst other things this has taught me the crucial importance of sufcient scale resources technical expertise and innovation as well as vision and commitment at all times. David Downie is convinced securing their specic recipes for the future is something agricultural businesses must approach in a thoroughly joined- up way to bring together the many components required for sustained success with the greatest cost-effectiveness. And he sees this as just as important for a business like Agrii as for any farm. To achieve our primary purpose of adding value and creating prosperity for the farmers and growers who work with us we are building our business rmly on relevance value people local support and responsibility he pointed out. Fundamental to this is the trusted partnership our agronomists have with their customers combining expert local advice based on rst class research with the most reliable supply of the inputs they need for the best results. We only succeed if our growers do. Thats why our entire focus is on providing them with the most relevant and reliable support alongside the inputs they need precisely where and when they need them to make the most of every opportunity. We have no doubt that future arable vegetable and fruit growing prosperity will lie as much in the right combinations of seed nutrition and soil and water management as in the best chemistry. So our RD programme is designed and run to provide growers with combinations of varieties fertilisers and other inputs as well as the crop protection chemicals they know have the most solid scientic evidence of commercial value behind them explained David Downie. Because we take new varieties apart in trials across the country for several seasons before they become commercially available growers also have all the agronomic intelligence they need to make the most of them with the most cost effective production systems from Day One without having to learn from their mistakes. Equally through our Master Seeds brand they have the assurance of the highest available standards of seed quality seed treatment value and delivery timeliness. With spraying timeliness as important to crop protection success as product choice in many cases today weve built our logistics around local intelligence and responsiveness so growers can be assured that if a chemical is available in the country we will get it to the farm store at which it is needed by the next working day wherever necessary he added. This is an essential they just cant rely on where advice and supply are separated. Weve also made the precision technology and timely data-based decision support we see as offering some of the greatest opportunities for improving production efciency and protability central to our integrated service too. Field mapping from our advanced soil scanning and laser texture analysis for instance ensures growers crop management is based on the most accurate understanding of their soils. David Downie went on to explain that Agriis integrated partnership approach extends to far more than customer working. Even though the companys agronomic research development and demonstration network is second to none in the UK the RD team has been building strong partnerships with key institutions like Rothamsted Research and Nottingham University for the greatest industry as well as individual value. Our thoroughly integrated approach across the agricultural industry as well as between its many disciplines at farm level makes us very different from a traditional distributor concluded David Downie. David Downie Agrii Chief Executive Ofcer 6666666666666666666666666666 Agrii East Summer 2015 Journal 06 Contact Information 6 4 1 2 5 3 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 Stuart Menhinick 07836 387 686 07770 334 141 Tom Land 07730 764 043 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 David Bouch 01522 515 204 07525 234 309 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 01371 855 503 Crop Marketing David Neale 07799 695 549 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 Sign up to the East E-Journal F uture issues of this publication are available as an E-Journal allowing you to receive the newsletter in an email format should you so wish. The E-Journal will be mobile compatible meaning you can easily view the content on a smart phone if you use one alternatively you can access it on any computer connected to the internet. We realise that not all our customers wish to receive communications electronically so rest assured that hard copies will still be available. But if you are happy to receive E-Journal in the future and are happy to be removed from the hard copy mailing list please visit our website at and follow the E-Journal instructions. You will need your Journal address label to hand.