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Agrii East Summer 2016 Contents Understanding the real benefits of cover crops Page 1 Event previews and dates for your diary Page 2 Disease resistance the most important characteristic of a variety Page 3 As harvest approaches have you considered Farm Saved Seed Page 3 They say size matters But maybe not with farmland habitats Page 4 Facing the Fertiliser volatility challenge Page 4 Kent initiative hits ambitious bread wheat target Page 5 Agrii at Cereals 2016 Page 6 Contact details Page 6 www.agrii.co.uk agriiUK 01 C atch and cover crops can give good control of black-grass and useful improvements in soil structure growers have been told. But everyone needs to choose and manage them with particular care. And no one should expect too much in the way of immediate financial benefits. This was the conclusion of the latest in-depth research into catch and cover cropping ahead of autumn and spring- sown cereals reported to the growers and agronomists attending the spring open day at Agriis Stow Longa Technology Centre. Penetrometer readings across the 2 ha of specialist trials we are running under strictly commercial regimes here have shown even short- term catch crops can overcome significant compaction problems and improving soil crumb structure reported trials manager Steve Corbett. Weve also recorded excellent levels of above- ground biomass accumulation in some cases suggesting good nutrient capture. Equally at 58 headsm2 black-grass ear counts in winter wheat sown into our catch crop plots in late October averaged 60 less than those in our cultivated stubble control. Many years of trials on the site show us we can expect a winter wheat yield benefit of around 1tha from this degree of black-grass reduction. However across the catch crops we saw an average advantage of less than 0.25 tha and even the best mix gave us only around an extra 0.5 tha. Carefully-controlled scientific investigation is overcoming a good amount of my initial scepticism about cover cropping. I have to say though the jury is still very firmly out on their actual financial value. Especially so as weve seen greater improvements in soil structure and reductions in black-grass levels from the rotational plough control we also have in the current trials programme. Insisting that growers should expect the overall benefit from cover cropping to be long rather than short-term in most cases Steve Corbett stressed it will also fundamentally depend upon the right management. You have to choose your cover crop knowing what you want to achieve he advised. Weve found oil radish to be very good at breaking through compacted soils for instance but less good at competing with black-grass than species developing more above- ground biomass. Particularly good at improving crumb structure and reasonable at dealing with compaction but again rather lacking in the weed suppression department are black oat and vetch mixtures On the other hand both phacelia and white mustard are better at suppressing weeds good at drying out soils and excellent at accumulating top growth although unlikely to do much compaction-busting. So its very much horses for courses. Early establishment is especially important for catch crops ahead of late-sown winter wheat added Steve Corbett. In our experience many cover species need to be sown before mid-August and as with all small-seeded species sufficient moisture and good seed-to-soil contact are essential. This may not be easy in some seasons and obviously adds to workloads at one of the busiest times of the year. It all goes to show that the devil really is in the detail with cover cropping concluded Steve Corbett. And in most cases you are unlikely to get a direct financial return in the first season. Which in turn underlines the importance of knowing what you want from a catch or cover crop and employing the best information and advice to get it. Understanding the real benefits of cover crops Journal Agrii East Summer 2016 iFarm Event Previews 02 3rd June 20th June Stow Longa Technology Centre 20th June Fincham iFarm 24th June Leadenham iFarm 28th June Lenham iFarm 29th June 4th July Throws Farm Technology Centre 5th July Thoresway iFarm Our iFarms offer farmers the opportunity to experience the very latest RD and allows us to join up agri-science with practical agronomy enabling our customers to constantly improve yields grow protable crops and respond to The Food Challenge. For more information on any of these events please speak to your Agrii Agronomist alternatively you can contact Charlie Lewis on 07789 942493 or email charlie.lewisagrii.co.uk DATES FOR YOUR DIARY F ollowing on from a successful summer event last year plans are now in place for 2016 and welcoming farmers and customers back to the Lenham iFarm by kind permission of John Boyd Farms Robert Boyd Howell. Taking place on Tuesday 28th June this summer we are providing Agronomy Workshops starting at 9.30am and running throughout the day until 3.45pm with refreshments and lunch served between 12noon and 2pm pm for all attendees. The day will revolve around two main tours Winter Wheat and OSR. The Winter Wheat trial tours which will look at varieties fungicide choice and micro nutrition will be at 9.30am and 1.30pm whilst the OSR tours will be running at 12noon and 1pm and looking at varietal choice and disease profiles. The tour times are designed to allow farms to attend both tours throughout the day and have time to enjoy lunch and speak to our partners exhibiting on the day including SoilQuest several fertiliser manufacturers and local machinery dealers. The event is by invitation only look out for yours in the post or speak to your Agrii agronomist. Everybody who registers for the event and attends on the day will be entered into a prize draw to win a pair of Agrii overalls so be sure to complete the reply slip included with the invitation. Lenham iFarm Preview A busy summer at the Stow Longa Technology Centre awaits with the team ready to welcome over 1000 farmers from around the country to the site over the course of June and July. With the site renowned in the UK for its work on blackgrass control its surely one event that cannot be missed this summer for farmers facing blackgrass issues. There are two days to choose from this summer 3rd and 20th June available to farmers in the east region and spaces are expected to fill up fast As per previous years the event will consist of morning and afternoon sessions with tours including winter wheat varieties to show who is performing in the fight against blackgrass. The tours will also include wheat establishment herbicides rotations nutrition management and a tour of the cover crop trials to discuss the implications on grass weed control. There will be a BBQ lunch served for both session attendees between 12noon and 1.30pm. Booking is required for this event so please speak to your Agrii contact if you would like to attend and keep an eye out for your invitation in the post. A big thank you to everyone who attended one of our iFarm events this spring. We were able to cover a wide range of topics across all of the iFarm sites in the east including cover cropping coping without Neonicotinoids and soil management to name a few. We even managed to include early season plot tours at Leadenham and Stow Longa despite the rain and cold We also had excellent and well attended indoor events at Fincham and Thoresway again with weather proving tricky over the spring farmers and customers made the most of the opportunity to learn more about agronomy best practice and get an update on crop markets and new varieties. Stow Longa Technology Centre Preview Spring events round up L ow grain prices and the uncertainty of a firmer market is concentrating farmers mindson managing their variable costs and finding waysto ease cash flow at a critical time of the year. Significant savings by using their own grain could be the answer for many growers. Farm saved seed is already an integral part of many farm businesses its estimated that 45 of seed planted is farm saved. This autumn it is likely that more farmers and advisors will consider Farm- saving as a cost saving option. Many popular well tried and tested varieties of wheat and barley are in the ground - the better crops will already be ear marked for on farm processing. AgriisFarm Saved Seed businesscontinues to grow in response to the market demands and Agrii has an ongoing investment programme in staff and machinery ensuring that the service on farm is continually maintained and improved. Our operators are fully qualified and experienced in seed processing cleaning and the accurate application of seed treatments and we take health and safety issues very seriously and have rigorous protocols to minimise the risk to bothfarm staff and Agrii personnel. Agriis most recent new build mobile will be commissioned for harvest 2016 and its features include a de-awner Westrup cleaner gravity table and the latest Bayer seed treatment application technology. It incorporates our rolling road system for improved safety and continuous production. Reso at Staffordhas also recently joined the Agrii businesstheir site is a perfect geographic fit and further bolsters our extensive team. Reso was a pioneer in offering a mobile colour sorting facility to customers primarily for ergot removalalso a large scale high capacitybulk grain cleaning mobile to enhance grain quality both of which are strategicadditions to theAgrii mobile fleet. As harvest approaches why not contact your local seed contact to see how Agriis farm saved seed service can benefit your own farm business Seed VarietiesFarm Saved Seed 03 A topic that has cropped up in conversation quite frequently has been the resistance to different diseases that varying varieties have and whether that is more important than a 1 or 2 greater yield on the AHDB list. Those diseases that are focused on tend to be Septoria Tritici and Yellow Rust in wheat and Light Leaf Spot in oilseed rape. There is no doubt that historically growers have tended to focus on that little bit extra yield a new variety might have more than having a slightly greater resistance to a particular disease. After all most lists are ranked in yield order. And somehow the fact that it states in small print that yield differences of less than 4 for example are not significant seems to be ignored when it comes to choosing varieties. Yet of far greater importance to a lot of growers might be to look at the ranking in Septoria resistance as a priority in wheat or Light Leaf Spot in OSR. With the swing to varieties like Crusoe and Skyfall for this harvest maybe we are already seeing a bit of a change But looking at the AHDB data on disease scores may not be quite the best guide. Those scores are necessarily an average and if a variety has a declining resistance what is important is what it is not what it was. Agrii data on disease is based on our most recent assessment not an average. Those scores for Septoria Tritici tell us that the best resistance is in varieties like Crusoe Skyfall KWS Lili KWS Siskin Solace and Graham. In Yellow Rust there are a number of varieties that still hold on to a top rating Crusoe RGT Illustrious KWS Siskin Graham Dickens and Costello. But rust ratings tend to change quite quickly so speak to your Agrii agronomist for the very latest data. On Light Leaf Spot in oilseed rape you need to look to varieties such as Alizze DK Exalte Elgar and Nikita. Good disease resistance helps protect the yield potential of a variety when it is difficult to get the sprays on at the right time and limits the damage infections can cause. So maybe the most important figure youll see isnt the one at the top of a list the yield. It might well be the latest disease score... Disease resistance the most important characteristic of a variety As harvest approaches have you considered Farm Saved Seed Our operators are fully qualified and experienced in seed processing cleaning and the accurate application of seed treatments. Agrii data on disease is based on our most recent assessment not an average T his time last summer my article in this journal had the same title and started with the words No year is ever the same in the fertiliser world. This years experience shows just how true these words are. I also discussed currency and its effect during an election year. This years main focus has been around global alignment in the backdrop of weakening currency and weak commodity levels. Although the UK fertiliser market represents a small piece of the global network of fertiliser production there have been some radical changes within the main structure of CF fertilisers which was formerly GrowHow UK Ltd. Historically UK ammonium nitrate was produced through a 5050 joint venture between Yara and CF Fertilisers. However in July 2015 a 580 million deal took place which saw CF Fertilisers take 100 ownership of the two remaining Ammonium Nitrate plants in the UK. CF Fertilisers see strong growth in the UK market and their key focus is upon production for UK farmers. 60 of the UKs nitrogen is imported and their focus is to gain market share and strengthen their position in the UK fertiliser market. Agrii remains a major retailer of CF fertilisers to UK farmers. The continued challenge facing the UK market will be currency and supply from imported fertilisers. Euro and dollar exchange rates will continue to affect imported fertiliser costs and we could see significant challenges around prices as we approach the referendum. Global supplies of fertiliser seem stable but to achieve the lowest import prices on products such as urea purchase volumes need to be bigger. So rather than purchasing a 5-10kt shipment you may have to look at 30kt vessels which shows huge commitment in a flat market. The other challenge is sourcing good quality urea fertilisers as there is huge variation in urea depending on the manufacturer and country of origin. So its important to have a purchasing strategy. Agrii has a network of fertiliser product managers across the country to help provide you with the best advice on when to buy and with the cost effective option of finance via Agrii Finance. We understand the market and can help you design a purchasing strategy suited to your own business needs. Another challenge facing the UK fertiliser industry for the future is the price of phosphate fertilisers. Draft regulations have been submitted for specific cadmium levels in phosphate fertilisers which could influence phosphate supply into the UK market in years to come. The draft proposal is set to look at increasing the amount of phosphorus to farms via waste streams but also to harmonise the levels of cadmium in phosphate fertilisers supplied to member states. This in turn could have specific consequences on where the UK sources phosphate fertiliser from thus in turn possibly increasing phosphate costs. T hats how the saying goes but is it true When it comes to farmland habitats I dont think it is. In 2003 subsidies were decoupled from production and re coupled to things environmental. Since then a number of environmental schemes have offered payments for environmental delivery with varying degrees of success. The payments have focused on area with in my opinion insufficient focus on the standard of delivery. The latest CAP reform uses greening as an environmental tool with wildlife delivery hopes pinned on EFAs. Again EFAs focus on area taking 5 of land out of production. The plan or more accurately threat is that if farmland wildlife continues to decline then the percentage of land taken out of production may rise. So what does this mean Firstly I think the governments focus on size is wrong. Size or area are easily measured so easily audited but the key is what you do with the land not the amount taken out of production. Research has repeatedly shown that quality habitats deliver quality results. Treat habitats as crops that require active management. The better the quality the less the land you take out of production. This is good news for both farmers and wildlife but how do we achieve this Holy Grail and why have we failed to get there so far In a word training. Farmers need to learn to farm habitats and be rewarded for delivery not area. To lead by example Agrii has linked up with Natural England and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to create agronomist and farmer environmental training days. Like any other crop there is a need for training no one is born with habitat knowledge. Long term farmland experiments have shown that wildlife responds rapidly to quality habitats which means many government biodiversity targets can be met. A recent large scale five-year experiment showed that certain arable crops gave a yield increase when the surrounding wildlife was increased. If 3 of the land was sown to quality habitats it would deliver more wildlife than the current EFA 5 with its weak habitat options. Please speak to your Agrii agronomist if you would be interested in attending future training days. A practical book on habitat creation and management can be obtained free from www.ceh.ac.ukbook-habitat-creation- and-management-pollinators FertiliserEnvironmental 04 Facing the Fertiliser volatility challenge Tom Land Fertiliser Manager They say size matters Marek Nowakowki Independent Environmental Agronomist to quality Agrii liquid fertiliser tanks on farm. 05 Journal Agrii East Summer 2016 Customer Case Study M ore than 13 tha of bread wheat at over 13 protein was the ambitious target of a new Agrii Best of British Wheat initiative undertaken with leading Group 1 Skyfall at the companys Kent iFarm near Lenham last season. However it was achieved in spades with an average of over 14 tha and nearly 14 protein across the extensive trials programme. At the same time guided by the trials iFarm hosts John Boyd Farms averaged 13.2tha from their 45 ha of Skyfall at 13.9 protein with 14.5 tha from the best two fields. Valuable trial experience We set up whats been dubbed the 1313 club trial with 63 separate treatments replicated in 169 plots to explore how we could really make the most of the RL- topping breadwheat with the best nitrogen fungicide and trace element programmes explained the farms agronomist Neil Harper. With an N-Min of 110 kgha giving us a good supply of residual nitrogen from the soil we more than achieved our target with 14.05 tha at 13.3 protein from our lowest overall N application 260 kgha. While rates of up to 360 kgha gave us no significant increase in yield they boosted proteins to an impressive 14.4. Unsurprisingly in such a relatively low disease season Skyfalls robust agronomics meant no major performance differences between the trials main fungicide programmes. Even so the best programmes delivered a good 1.0 tha advantage over the untreated control underlining the benefits of SDHIs at both T1 and T2 and the particular strength of bixafen when it comes to protein building. Particularly noticeable were the responses achieved from well- formulated micronutrients applied in the right combination at the right time. A programme including zinc copper and boron applied at all four timings resulted in a 0.21tha yield response together with a lift of 0.5 percentage points in protein. For a relatively low outlay this delivered a margin over input cost of nearly 85ha. Impressive commercial results The iFarm trials proved invaluable in helping John Boyd Farms achieve equally impressive commercial results from their Skyfall last season. Not only did they top the 13tha mark quite comfortably at proteins ranging from 13.5-14.5 with an average specific weight of 84 kghl but two fields in the 45 ha block averaged 14.5 tha. Weve always been pretty good at growing milling wheat pointed out Mark Boyd who runs the 1400 ha business with his father William and uncle John Arthur. Cordiale has been our long-time favourite invariably giving us 9-10 tha and a useful premium as a second wheat. Skyfall looks like being our next step forward alongside the JB Diego Crusoe KWS Lili and Trinity were also growing this season. We regularly achieve high yields and specific weights from JB Diego so a high yielding Group 1 with similarly good all-round agronomic strengths fits us nicely. We drilled the 2015 crop into good clay to silty-loam ground at a slightly higher 275 seedsm2 than normal on September 17 he said. It grew away vigorously from the slugs and was very well forward by the spring so thick and well-grown in fact that it needed robust growth regulation at T0 T1 and T1.5. Altogether the Skyfall received 310 kg ha of nitrogen in six splits starting with 40kgha as liquid urea in mid-February to promote rooting followed ammonium nitrate in mid-March early April early May and at full flag leaf emergence and ending with 40 kgha of foliar urea at the end of June as a protein reassurance. A total of 120 kgha of SO3 was also applied to ensure the correct NS ratio with a pre-T0 application of manganese magnesium and trace elements followed by extra micro-nutrients at each spray timing to bolster low levels of zinc and copper in particular revealed in tissue tests. Mildew levels were concerning early on with a very thick crop so we used a combination of prochloraz proquinazid and tebuconazole with chlorothalonil at T0 reported Neil. Then we went in with bixafen prothioconazole and spiroxamine plus folpet at T1 to counter the inevitable septoria and a showing of yellow rust. As we needed a PGR at this stage anyway and yellow rust was coming into the untreated trial plots we took the opportunity of our T1.5 to add a strobilurin. Our final spray of prothioconazole plus tebuconazole at T3 was mainly aimed at keeping the crop green to maximise the grain fill contribution of every leaf he added. Fusarium has never been much of a problem here and tests have always shown low DON levels. The Skyfall was ready to harvest by the beginning of August and knowing it wasnt a crop they could afford to leave in the field the Boyds didnt delay bringing the crop in at a very useful 14.5 moisture with combining losses of less than 1. With valuable intelligence from the Agrii trials alongside it the Skyfall has proved to be a Rolls Royce of a crop for us earning us a handsome margin at a very reasonable costtonne and even impressing my father who rates it at the pinnacle of his long wheat-growing experience. Kent initiative hits ambitious bread wheat target Case Study John Boyd Farms Lenham Kent Handfull of Skyfall wheat top. Mark Boyd of John Boyd Farms far left. John Boyd Farms agronomist Neil Harper left. With valuable intelligence from the Agrii trials alongside it the Skyfall has proved to be a Rolls Royce of a crop for us earning us a handsome margin 06 Journal Agrii East Summer 2016 Enquiry Contact Numbers Agronomy Enquiries Customer Services 0845 607 3322 Agrii Consultancy Services Paul Pickford paul.pickfordagrii.co.uk 07909 925413 Fertiliser Enquiries Peter Read 07836 387 686 Tom Land 07730 764 043 Stuart Menhinick 07770 334 141 SoilQuest Stuart Alexander stuart.alexanderagrii.co.uk 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 Paul Taylor 07721 788943 07525 234309 Farm Saved Seed Mark Taylor mark.s.tayloragrii.co.uk 07836 527 251 Hugh Boswell hugh.boswellagrii.co.uk 07740 926 119 Fruit Crops Kevin Workman kevin.workmanagrii.co.uk 07802 981 080 Vegetable Crops Chris Wallwork chris.wallworkagrii.co.uk 07885 252 455 Weather Stations Neil Obbard neil.obbardagrii.co.uk 07885 252 418 Event Enquiries Charlie Lewis charlie.lewisagrii.co.uk 07789 942493 Crop Marketing Paul Taylor paul.tayloragrii.co.uk 07525 234309 6 4 1 2 5 3 6 4 1 2 5 3 6 4 1 2 5 3 6 4 1 2 5 3 6 4 1 2 5 3 6 4 1 2 5 3 Contact DetailsCereals 2016 Agrii iFarm locations in the East Join-up with Agriis integrated agronomy at Cereals 2016 15th 16th June Chrishall Grange Nr Duxford Cambridgeshire For more information please email sarah.wilkinsonagrii.co.uk Elements of Agriis integrated agronomy offer will be on show at various locations across the Cereals 2016 site PrecisionAgronomy Stand330 Learn how AgriisSoilQuestandweatherstation network are helping farmersandgrowers achieve more fromtheirsoilsandmakemore accurate decisionsaboutinputuse. Buy-BackContracts Stand545 Agriiand Glencore are workingtogetherto bring farmersa range ofuniquebuy-back contracts linking qualityMasterSeeds innovative agronomy andaddedvalueend markets. Farm-Saved Seed Adjacent to Stand 545 Meetouron-farmprocessingteamandfindouthow wecanbuildextrapotentialintoyourfarm-savedseed. Naked Oat Production Stand 1120 Visit GB Seeds on the Just Oats stand to view the latest varieties of Naked Oats and discover the opportunity for this valuable niche crop. Lime Services Stand 422 RT Liming has recently joined the Agrii family as part of our comprehensive soil management and nutrition portfolio.