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Agrii West Autumn 2015 Contents Benchmarking Berkshire Progress Page 1 Update from around the region Page 2 Valuing Wheat Micro-nutrition Page 3 A Year of Change Page 3 Agrii at British Potato 2015 Page 3 Growing Precision Drives Quality Wheat Process Page 4 World Wheat Record Claim Page 4 AgriiFocus Research Update Page 5 New AgriiFocus Results Conference Page 5 Agrii iFarm Locations in the West Page 6 Agrii at LAMMA 2016 Page 6 Enquiry Contact Numbers Page 6 agriiUK 01 Benchmarking Berkshire Progress Y attendon Estates arable business between Reading and Newbury has been transformed over the past 15 years in a determined drive for improvement informed by the most relevant agronomic intelligence and benchmarking with like-minded growers across southern England. The 2100 ha of mainly Grade 3 ground presents more than its fair share of management challenges. However farms director Alastair Jeffrey and his team of four have been averaging around 10 tha from their milling wheat up to 5tha from oilseed rape and comfortably over 8.5 tha from winter barley in recent years. This is a far cry from the late 1990s when under previous management the Estates feed wheats were struggling to reach 8tha and oilseed rape had been abandoned as unviable. Working with Agrii Alastair attributes a large part of this turnaround to fundamental changes in cultivation and establishment practice alongside early adoption of the best varieties and techniques and continual performance comparisons with other businesses. To identify the best available wheat OSR and barley varieties he relies on intelligence from the extensive research programme at the AgriiFocus Technology Centre near Marlborough and commercial feedback from the Maximising Arable Performance MAP group of 70 southern county growers of which he is a part. Weve switched from all feed to mainly milling wheat over the years to make the most from our yield-limited ground Alastair explained. We started with Hereward then moved to Gallant and Solstice as the AgriiFocus results gave us confidence in the emerging varieties. Following the sites latest research were now growing mainly Crusoe with some Skyfall. Our confidence was reinforced by MAP results showing Crusoe was by far the top margin earner of all wheat varieties across our group in 2014. In the same way the AgriiFocus barley trials led us to replace the bulk of our Cassata with Volume which also stood out as the top 2014 earner in our MAP group. With the rape too weve been guided first by the trials and then by the MAP results to move to 50 HOLL rape last season and 100 this. As well as variety choice Alastair Jeffrey values the opportunity MAP provides to compare Yattendon performance with other growers in the area. The benchmarking system which uses information directly from Gatekeeper enables key components of crop technical and financial performance to be compared with the average of the group and top 25 performers. It also allows comparisons to be made by soil type farm size and individual but anonymous businesses with which the Estate is most similar. In addition to setting out average crop and variety performance by yield inputs and gross margin for the year across the group the confidential annual report all our members receive gives them the opportunity to compare their individual crop and whole enterprise performance with their peers explained Agrii west business development manager Rob Baker who has worked with Alastair since 2005. Despite the limitations of its ground Yattendon has climbed steadily up our MAP league table in recent years to sit within the top quarter in margin performance. As well as providing Alastair and his agronomist Craig Livingstone with valuable confirmation of their progress comparisons with similar members enterprises enable them to examine performance in detail to identify strengths to build on and the most valuable areas to address in their forward planning. Its all about not standing still concluded Alastair Jeffrey. The seasons will always give us ups and downs. But I want and my board needs to see were improving our place in the league table while delivering growing contributions to the Estate.Craig Livingstone Alastair Jeffrey and Rob Baker examining the MAP results. Journal Agrii West Autumn 2015 Update from around the region 02 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 4th November South Wales iFarm event 12th November Newbury iFarm meeting at AgriiFocus 18th November Dorset iFarm event 26th November Brackley iFarm event 2nd December South Wales iFarm Results Meeting DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Royal Welsh Show 2015 Bartonfields Golf Day Events round up New iFarm for the Bartonfields Team Our iFarms on Facebook A big thank you to everyone who came to visit us on our stand at this years Royal Welsh Show. Congratulations to David Anthony pictured below being presented the Dr Emrys Evans Award by Agriis Ronan Hughes. The award is given each year to a resident of Wales under the age of 35 who has made an outstanding contribution to farming. The theme for the award was crop husbandry. We look forward to seeing you at this years Winter Fair on 30th November and 1st December at the Royal Welsh Showground. O ver the last few years you may have visited our Stafford iFarm near the Stafford Showground and wed like to express our thanks to Richard Clarke Tom Collier and their families for all their hard work at the iFarm site. With the creation of a new meeting room weve now decided to move the iFarm to our Bartonfields site near Church Broughton Derby. Weve also been given access to a series of fields next to the office where well base our trials for which wed like to thank Will Smith. Well be holding our first meetings at the new site in the coming months and wed like to hear from you the kind of topics youd like to see us cover. You should have received a questionnaire through the post but if not please let your agronomist know or contact T wo of our iFarms now have pages on Facebook where you can keep up to date with the latest news events and developments at the sites. Search for Agrii South West iFarm or Agrii Bartonfields team to find us. Remember you can also follow Agrii on Twitter just look for AgriiUK O ver the summer we attended a range of shows ploughing matches and events across the region and it was great to welcome so many of you onto our stand here is our pick of the pictures. A big thank you to everyone who supported our Bartonfields Golf Day at the start of September. The generosity of everyone who attended meant that as a result weve been able to donate money to FCN the James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund R.A.B.I and the local air ambulance. David Anthony being presented the Dr Emrys Evans Award Bartonfields Golf Day September 2015 The Bartonfields office site from the air Top Setting up for The Usk Show Middle The North Devon Show Bottom Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show 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 first 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 significantly different from Mulika. There are one or two spring wheat varieties that have shown some early promise in terms of reducing grass weed populations 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 significant market shares from the major English malting variety Propino. Both offer increased yield and providing early tests from this harvest give the maltsters the confidence 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 specific 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 deficiencies. In the high disease low yielding season of 2012 highly significant 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 significant 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 fill. With disease levels again high statistically significant yield increases were seen from zinc copper and boron applications as well as a programme of all three micro-nutrients in 2014. Significant 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 sufficient tillers ensure the best possible grain set and preserve the most efficient crop canopy to support grain fill 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 fixes 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 specific 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 West A year of 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 find 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. 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 specification with our Group 1s and were averaging around 10t tha from first and 8t ha from second wheats in our wheatwheat rape rotation Richard explained. But our performance had definitely 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 first 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 fields at Walmer Farm was SoilQuest conductivity scanned in 2009. Despite regular soil sampling showing PK indices of 2 in most fields 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 field 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 field 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 reflected their own knowledge of the fields and old field 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 field 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 difficult areas of each field 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 benefits were finding from them. And theyre making the closer working with David we consider vital to our future so much easier and more productive. Precision AgronomyCropTecWheat World Record Claim 04 Growing Precision Drives Quality Wheat Progress COME AND VISIT US ON THE AGRII STAND AT CROPTEC 2015 Tom and Richard Wood implementing a precision-based approach at Walmer Farm. STOP PRESS As part of our Best of British Wheat Project we were delighted to hear of Agrii Customer in the north Rod Smith and his teams World Record Claim of 16.52 tha from a Dickens crop for Master Seeds. You can read more about it on our website at or find out more at our Autumn iFarm events. DATES Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th November 2015 LOCATION East of England Showground Peterborough 05 AgriiFocus Research Update Syed Shah RD Manager West W e managed to drill all of our winter oilseed rape trials at AgriiFocus on 3rd September 2015. This year we are evaluating the performance of 40 varieties in terms of their susceptibility to various diseases particularly phoma and light leaf spot and lodging resistance as well as grain yield and quality such as oil content. All varieties have established well and have received slug pellets Desire 4.0 kg ha-1 . So far there has been very little or no slug or flea beetle damage. However as we know that the flea beetle is a serious cause of concern in winter oilseed rape we are currently investigating the effect of a range of non-neonicotinoid based seed treatments to manage the flea beetle activity and its effect on crop establishment. Rapid emergence and early crop growth can help winter oilseed rape to grow away from the early flea beetle damage. The use of seed treatments such as Take-off as well as seed-bed nitrogen N and phosphate P can improve crop establishment. These treatments tend to reduce the risk of crop failure in a variety of stresses such as drought water logging or pests aphids or flea beetles. Also foliar nutrition such as Nutriphite PGA and Quark can help the crop to establish well and may result in higher yield. In one of the trials at AgriiFocus in 2014-2015 we investigated the effect of foliar nutrition on crop establishment and found that it had a very positive effect on crop canopy measured in terms of leaf size compared with untreated plots. The treated plots had bigger leaves and higher plants per m-2 than the untreated plots which also resulted in higher yield Fig 1. The winter wheat trials data for harvest 2015 has been analysed. We had some interesting differences amongst varieties in terms of their susceptibility to yellow rust and septoria and their responses to different fungicide treatments compared with last year 2014 harvest. All winter varieties produced significantly higher yields than last year which was partly due to low level of disease in the growing season of 2015. However it was interesting to note that all varieties responded positively to fungicide treatments. In the high disease pressure year harvest 2014 the varieties Crusoe and Dickens produced 3.4 and 3.1 t ha-1 respectively higher yields than their corresponding untreated plots in response to a robust fungicide programme. The same varieties produced 2.0 Crusoe and 2.6 t ha-1 Dickens higher yields compared with the untreated plots in 2015 harvest when disease pressure was low Fig 2. This outcome indicates that a robust fungicide programme gave a significant yield response and justified its cost 140 ha-1 even in the low disease pressure season of 2015. This outcome was probably due to the fact that fungicides have a significant effect on crop physiology nutrient uptake and crop defences against different diseases. However in the uncertain grain market and with poor grain prices we should try selecting a variety or varieties with a reasonable level of resistance against the key diseases septoria yellow rust brown rust and powdery mildew. This can help to minimise the cost of inputs especially fungicides to enhance farm profitability. I would like to invite you to come to one of our upcoming AgriiFocus events in which our varieties fungicide and nutrition trials work will be discussed. Please see the information box on this page for more details of our next meeting. Journal Agrii West Autumn 2015 AgriiFocus Research and events update Fig 2. Effect of interaction of year x variety on grain yield of winter wheat at AgriiFocus Drilling date and harvest year Fig 1. Effect of foliar nutrition on grain yield of winter oilseed rape A new one day AgriiFocus Results Conference for Agrii customers in the West will be held on 2nd February 2016 near Swindon. Key AgriiFocus trials results for last season will be presented and interpreted by Agrii specialists including Dr Syed Shah Trials Manager for the West and Colin Lloyd Head of Agronomy. Smaller tiered lecture theatres will be used to ensure key messages are presented and discussed to full advantage. Invites will be sent out in the New Year in the meantime why not put the time and date in your diary The Conference will be on 2nd February 2016 bacon rolls at 9.15am for a 10am start. NEW AgriiFocus Results Conference 2nd February 2016 06 Journal Agrii West Autumn 2015 Contact detailsLAMMA 2016 Agrii iFarm locations in the West Enquiry Contact Numbers Agrii Consultancy Services Paul Pickford 07909 925 413 Agronomy Services Robert Baker 07831 430 172 Dominic Swainson 07885 252 391 John Stevenson 07545 502651 Simon Appleby 07831 874157 Paul Doyle 07973 340 349 Nigel Francis 07515 577 093 Chris Rylatt 07885 252 469 Agrii Farm Saved Seed Processing Mark Taylor 07836 527 251 Hugh Boswell 01227 753 723 Crop Marketing David Neale 07799 695 549 Fertiliser Sales Market Information Alistair King 07880 787 473 Paul Gill 07831 324 979 Regional Technical Advisers Tim Horton 07770 648 945 John Vickery 07899 994324 Robin Nurse 07966 650706 Seed Advice Variety Sales Information David Smith Diane Griffiths 07768 865 078 07774 120 911 Dorian Jones Becci Shrimpton 07774 739 582 07836 541 661 Rebecca Falkner 07551 150732 SoilQuest Precision Agronomy John Lord 07918 054 765 Chris Hoskins 07545 927 488 Your local Agrii iFarms 1. Bartonfields 2. Salisbury 3. BrackleyNewton Purcell 4. Taunton 5. South Wales 6. Cotswold 7. Winderton 8. Ludlow 9. Bromsgrove 10. Dorset 11. South West Forage iFarm Your local Agrii Technology Centre 12. AgriiFocus Key n Agrii iFarms n Agrii Technology Centre 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