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1 Addressing Key Cover Cropping Questions C over cropping is showing clear promise in our research programme with yield benefits 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 These are among the key questions 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. However in this and parallel field scale spring wheat trial work 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 key thing we need to ask with cover 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 although they worked well for soil structure and drying in the top few centimetres 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 sufficient immediate yield and input-saving benefit to more than cover the cost of both the extra seed and time costs involved. Contents Addressing key cover cropping questions Page 1 Building success on integrated working update from David Downie Agrii CEO Page 2 Research update from AgriiFocus and iFarms around the West Page 3 Agriis integrated grassland offer Page 4 Rural Community Champions the finalists Page 4 New varieties for the Autumn Page 5 Facing the fertiliser volatility challenge Page 5 Summer events around the region Page 6 Agrii West Summer 2015 agriiUK 2 Journal Agrii West Summer 2015 Update from David Downie Agrii CEO T he farming challenges of today are far too many and significant 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. Sustaining farming profits certainly isnt getting any easier with markets as volatile and climatic conditions as variable as theyve become he reflected. 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 staffing 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 sufficient scale resources technical expertise and innovation as well as vision and commitment at all times. David Downie is convinced securing their specific 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 firmly 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 first 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 Building Success on Integrated Working 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 scientific 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 efficiency and profitability 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 CEO 3 Journal Agrii West Summer 2015 West Research update A ll trials on winterspring wheat winter spring barley and winter oilseed rape at AgriiFocus have established well Fig 1 2 3 and 4. Just to remind you that all trials are fully replicated and randomised which allows us to carry out statistical analysis of the data. This also means we can determine the accuracy and the consistency of the effect of treatments on the selected parameters such as level of disease control andor yield. Currently we are evaluating 70 varieties of winter oilseed rape WOSR 30 varieties of winter barley WB 77 varieties of winter wheat WW and 30 varieties of spring barley in terms of their susceptibility to different diseases lodging and yield. Most of the WOSR varieties are at the flowering stage Fig 2. There have been significant differences amongst WOSR varieties in terms of the level of diseases such as phoma and light leaf spot. The disease scores have been recorded and will be presented in one of the A research update from AgriiFocus and iFarms in the West Syed Shah RD Manager West forthcoming farmer events. In addition to variety trials we are also studying the effects of different nitrogen fertilisers foliar application of magnesium and potassium boron and molybdenum on grain yield of WOSR. We are also investigating a range of seed-bed fertiliser treatments on crop establishment and yield of WOSR. Early assessments which were carried out on 21st October 2014 indicated that DAP treated with P-reserve a coating which enhances the availability of phosphate by reducing the negative effects of different cations produced the highest green leaf area index Fig 5. A better green area index may allow the crop to overcome the negative effects of pests such as flea beetles early during the season. In the previous trials at AgriiFocus seed-bed fertiliser TSP with P-reserve resulted in higher grain yield which tends to recommend the use of seed-bed fertiliser for early crop establishment and yield Fig 6. Our winter barley trials are looking Fig 4 Spring barley plots at AgriiFocus picture taken on 3rd May 2015 Fig 2 Winter oilseed rape at AgriiFocus picture taken on 14th April 2015 Fig 3 Winter barley plots at AgriiFocus picture taken on 3rd May 2015 Fig 1 Winter wheat plots at AgriiFocus picture taken on 3rd May 2015 good and there are significant differences amongst varieties in terms of their speed of development and disease incidence. Spring barley plots are also looking great. I would like to invite you to come and visit our Barley Day on 4th June in which all varieties and their agronomic characteristics will be discussed Our replicated trials at the Cotswold Brackley Devon and South Wales ifarms have established very well. This year we have many fungicide trials in Devon and Wales which allow us to test the efficacy of different fungicides in the high septoria pressure regions. Replicated variety trials on winter wheat have also been set up which allow us to select varieties that have better septoria resistance scores. Our previous trials in Wales and Devon have shown that varieties such as Crusoe Skyfall and Solace have better septoria resistance scores than KWS Santiago Kielder and Dickens. The use of moderately resistant varieties can help to optimise fungicide performance against a backdrop of increasing fungicide resistance maximising farm profits. Further trials are being conducted on these sites and the results will be presented in your local iFarm events. Find out more about upcoming iFarm and AgriiFocus events on the back page of this journal. Fig 5 Fig 6 4 Journal Agrii West Summer 2015 Grassland and Rural Community Champions Agrii was a main sponsor of this years Grassland event at the Bath and West Showground. Agrii At the Heart of Grassland A dopting an integrated approach to managing your grassland system can help improve its performance and consequently the productivity of your livestock. Agrii specialists in nutrition seed forage animal health agronomy and precision work together using the latest technologies in a joined up way helping you to increase your profits sustainably. Get in touch with us to find out more or come and talk to us at an event this summer dates on page 6. Agriis integrated grassland service Rural Community Champions Shortlisted W ed 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 finalists one from each Agrii region north west and east. The overall winner will be chosen from these three finalists by customers at Agriis summer events. You can visit one of the following events to vote for your favourite Bishop Burton 17th June Throws Farm 29th June 3rd July Stafford 30th June AgriiFocus 8th July Culbokie 8th July You can read more about the twenty local winners and our three finalists on our website at communitychampions and in local press. 5 Journal Agrii West Summer 2015 SeedNutrition New varieties for the autumn Barry Barker Seed Manager Facing the Fertiliser volatility challenge Tom Land Fertiliser Manager 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 influence and this will be either the to the dollar or the Euro to the dollar. Urea is currently trading at a five 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 difficult to see a return on investment. Particularly Egypt which constantly suffers 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 flows of fertiliser and the UK and European markets could see more variation in urea types. Agrii supplies a wide range of fertiliser products including liquids suspensions standard blends and straights. In addition to this Agrii provides tailor made blends including trace elements. Agrii also manufactures specific starter fertilisers in granular and micro granular form. For more information on Agrii fertilisers please contact your local agronomist or product manager or call our fertiliser department on 01277 898201. D espite some perceptions that breeders have not made any advances in the breeding of cereals or oilseeds in recent years one has to remember that we are experiencing significant changes in terms of the pressures that farmers and varieties now 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 in the East. What benefits do the latest wheat and oilseed rape varieties bring Taking wheat first 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 a 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 Reflection. It ticks a lot of boxes. It is good to see a variety with a decent specific 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 definite genetic improvements. For the last few years finding varieties with a good Light Leaf Spot resistance has been a tad difficult but there are some this year that definitely 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 definite 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 significant 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 financial returns. 66 Journal Agrii West Summer 2015 Contact detailsSummer Events Programme 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 Adviser 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 A full programme of iFarm events is running across the region this summer. If you dont currently attend a local event you can ask your agronomist for more information or visit where you can watch a short video to find out more and register your interest in attending. 4th June AgriiFocus Barley Day 17th June Cotswolds 18th June Winderton 19th June South Wales 22nd June Salisbury 24th June Ludlow 25th June Brackley 25th June South West 30th June Stafford 1st July Callow Bayer site 6th July Dorset 8th July AgriiFocus main Summer Event DATES FOR YOUR DIARY AgriiFocus RD Summer Events 4th June 2015 Barley Growers event Tour the spring and winter barley variety and agronomy trials followed by an informal BBQ drinks and talk on barley markets 8th July 2015 Main Summer event Small interactive discussion group trials tours AM wheat PM wheat barley OSR varieties seminar after lunch with guest speaker Graham Redman from Andersons Farm Business Consultants and large exhibition. For more details or to book your place please call your local Agrii contact or email D ont miss the AgriiFocus Summer event on 8th July which is being held at Agriis 18 hectare western RD technology centre near Swindon Wiltshire. Small interactive discussion group plot tours throughout the day will focus on wheat in the morning and barley wheat and OSR in the afternoon. A seminar with Guest Speaker Graham Redman of Andersons Farm Business Consultants can be enjoyed by all visitors in the middle of the day after lunch. Around 20 exhibitors including machinery makes this long standing vibrant event one not to be missed The AgriiFocus Barley Growers event is on 4th June starting with a 3pm tour of spring and winter barley variety and agronomy trials. This will be followed by a BBQ and talks on barley export and other market opportunities with guest speaker Nick Oakhill. For more details or to book your place please call your local Agrii contact or email Other Agrii events 9th July Explorer Barley Growers Event Northants 15th July Wildlife Margins Open Day. A follow up from last autumns meeting at Parsonage Farm near Warminster In August Well be holding a follow-up to last years OSR establishment events at Chillington Hall. Get in touch for more information as it becomes available. Well also be exhibiting at Cereals 10th 11th June Boothby Graffoe. Well have a SoilQuest precision agronomy stand at this summers Cereals event The Royal Welsh Show 20th-23rd July Builth Wells. Come and find us in our new location next to the cattle ring The Usk Show 12th September Usk Showground Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show 19th August. Motcombe Turnpike Showground The North Devon Show 5th August Umberleigh Ask your agronomist for more information or get in touch with Sarah Wilkinson