Agrii Scope: June 7th 2020 - Agrii - Connecting Agri-science with farming


June 5, 2020

Agrii Scope: June 7th 2020

This Wednesday myself, Steve and David along with others from the team were being filmed at Stow Longa to try and capture as many subjects as possible.

It was a strange day really – on one hand it was really good to be able to go through the subject areas on the site and get them captured as there are some great differences showing already. But usually at Stow in June there is a lot of back-slapping, people everywhere, Diane’s famous BBQ fired up in the barn, lots of laughter and debate going on with a mug of tea in one hand and a burger in the other. So, we agreed that there was something important missing at Stow in summer 2020……you!

Anyway, the important thing for us to do right now is to get the trials filmed and so along with Stow, next week we move on to Revesby in Lincolnshire where we have a wide range of trials and then down to Agrifocus near Swindon to capture another wide subject area. The week after Jim Carswell will capture many of his sites on videos in the North, so we should end up with plenty to see and discuss.

As usual, there is a wonderfully diverse selection of work being demonstrated in these notes and this week the distance between the most northern and most southern sites is 568 miles by road!

Many thanks as usual to the contributors and I hope you enjoy.

Agriifocus, Wiltshire

Colin Patrick explains the winter barley work here at the site. Although drilled in decent time and in good conditions, the plots in areas had a torrid time with the amount of winter rainfall leaving us with some patchy plots. Although several of the trials here won’t be even and reliable enough to go through to grain yield, Colin and his team are able to assess heights, disease and maturity of the varieties. He also notes that there are some missing grain sites due to the later frosts and timing of the development of various varieties, but ultimately whilst of interest, it is unlikely to affect yield in any significant way.

We reported sightings of orange wheat blossom midge in the last edition (22nd May) and Colin captured the perfect and most probably classic video of them dancing around at one of our sites in Essex! Just for completeness, here he is in action again, this time at Agrifocus three days later.

Exploring New Market Opportunities – Food barley

Peter Smith visits one of our new market opportunities crops near Loughborough.

The video was taken on 11th May showing this naked food barley variety establishing well.
It will be interesting to see how this crop and the market develops as it looks an exciting development which has been in the trials programme for a few years now.

Leadenham, Lincolnshire

Steve talks us through a series of work featured on this site hosted by Andrew Ward.

Firstly the Agrii spring barley national trial where we investigate the well-established market leaders alongside new varieties which are still coded products which may or may not be good enough to move forward. Also we investigate various nutrition seed treatments as part of this series. The video ends with the winter wheat tussock site which is our early warning system for disease monitoring, particularly to watch out for yellow rust attacking a previously safe variety.

Steve moves on to the winter wheat variety work which because of the wet autumn, could not be drilled on the heavier land here. So, in January the trial was drilled on the light heath land and so it will give us some very useful information around later drilled winter wheat on light land which has not seen a lot of rain this spring. A strong test here…

Finally, at this site we have drilled a few varieties of lupins which the video shows were emerging nicely on the 20th May. It is a fully replicated and randomised trial which should provide some valuable data. We are investigating variety growth traits and yields across a few different soil types to see if we can find a variety or two which can offer robustness and also earlier maturity.

This could be a very attractive protein crop option which has been looked at over many years, but what we are starting to see is that modern genetics appear to be much more adapted to UK conditions.

South West iFarm maize demo

John Harper takes a look at 12 varieties of maize drilled here on the 4th May.

His video taken on 15th May shows the first plots just emerging and it will be very interesting to follow how the varieties progress through the season at our most southern location.

John also takes us through the winter wheat variety trial on the site. Here we have 35 varieties being assessed and is part of our national trials series. Video taken on 15th May, not too much tritici in the untreated plots yet, but there is still plenty of time!

Southoe, Cambs

A super video taken on 21st May which summarises the spring barley crops being grown on David’s farm. We have seen previous clips, but in this one he takes a look at the soil structure and how various systems have worked. Included within this are three areas that have been undersown with different clovers. David has used crimson, berseem and small leaved white clover and discusses their progress to date.

Ridlington, Leicestershire

With many thanks to Simon Thompson, the Farm Manager for Parker Farms here at Ridlington, we have a cultural control ryegrass site.

Effectively there are three establishment methods where Simon and his team have drilled various winter wheat and barley varieties over two drill timings. Also included is a spring barley block to compare to the winter cereals. So, considering the dreadful weather last autumn this is a great achievement.

In this video taken on 21st May, Justin Burton walks us through the trial and raises various points around ryegrass levels and the interactions of establishment methods and species choice.
All of the work here will be assessed, yielded and taken through to gross margin analysis, just as we do at Stow Longa on blackgrass.

InV1035, later drilled

To keep the diversity of video clips going, I had to include this one! Here is Chris Taylor and his dog hunkering down in a crop of inV1035 to keep out of the wind. However, it does show a very nice crop of this vigorous variety from a 21st September drill slot.

Revesby, Lincs

A further update from this site on nineteen varieties of Winter Wheat including new candidate materials have been included in this year’s project at Revesby Estates near Horncastle Lincolnshire (one of the Agrii technology centres)

This time though, Tom Land joins in the discussion and talks about one of the treatments running through the variety work. The product has been under trials evaluations for a couple of years now and has just been launched as Liquisafe.

I asked Tom for a few words of explanation around the product, and he states, ‘Liqui-Safe is a unique Nitrification and Urease Inhibitor for Liquid Fertilisers, the product is environment friendly and has no detriment to soil and water life.  When mixed with liquid fertiliser the product starts to target the 3 forms of N in Liquid Fertiliser.  Due to its formulation, Liqui-Safe is compatible with all types of liquid fertiliser and enables the user to apply all of their Nitrogen in one application if they wanted.  Harvest 2019 trials demonstrated a 7.4% increase in Yield compared to standard UAN and an increase in grain protein of 0.6%.  Liqui-Safe improves the efficiency of N applied in liquid fertilisers and is kind to the soil and water Environment.

Whilst at Revesby, Steve looks at a one hectare evaluation block of chickpeas, another novel crop we are making headway with. The farm decided to use a harrow to remove some broad-leaved weeds and it looks to have been a success…

Carnoustie, Angus

Spring barley plots have established well, helped by a pass from the farm’s irrigator and rain showers. Malting spring barley is probably the most important crop in the region for supplying local distilleries. Along with commercial and ‘pipeline’ distilling and feed varieties, Agrii are also evaluating other spring barley types within the trial for differing end use markets.

On this site, disease levels have remained generally low to date in the winter wheat, winter barley and winter oat replicated trials, although disease pressure is expected to build in the trials as a result of recent rainfall at the beginning of June.

With high yield potential on the very fertile soil at the site, we have used robust fungicide, PGR and trace element programmes to date, and crop potential looks high.

Thanks to David Barclay for this video update from Agrii’s most northern R&D Centre

Do you know your onions?

A perfect way to finish the notes this week! Chris Wallwork who is our Technical Manager for horticulture talks us through an onion herbicide trial in Norfolk.

He states, ‘We have several herbicide trials in onions at present, looking for alternatives to chlorpropham and bromoxynil. Although the recent very dry, bright conditions mean that we’ve seen less crop effects than might be the case in a wetter season, we are gathering useful data.

When I visited one of the trials, on black land in Norfolk last week, I felt that a video would show differences between some of the treatments better than a set of photographs.

David Townley is assessing all the trials and will report back the data going forward.

Stay safe and best wishes


Colin Lloyd
Head of Agronomy

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