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Category Archive: Agrii East Autumn 2013

  1. Agrii at the National Fruit Show 2013

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    Agrii recently attended the National Fruit Show 2013. The event which is held every year at the Kent Showground was celebrating its landmark anniversary of 80 years of showcasing the best of British fruit.

    Agrii Agronomists were on hand throughout the two days to discuss the range of services available including Ancillary Products, Weather Stations, Biological Controls and Fruit Crop Services. We would like to thank everyone who visited the Agrii stand and also give a special thanks to the Marden Fruit Show Society for awarding us with the best trade stand award.

  2. Agrii announces new partnership with Dutch Plantin

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    Agrii is delighted to announce that they are to become National Distributors for Dutch Plantin, the innovative market leaders in the production and supply of coco-peat and coco products.

    Established for thirty years, Dutch Plantin is the World’s largest producer of coco-peat, with eleven production sites across Asia, Africa and the Netherlands.  Agrii is a leading provider of agronomy services, technology and strategic advice to farmers and growers in the UK.

    Dutch Plantin’s extensive testing of their coco-peat over twenty years of production has shown important benefits, including the physical structure remaining stable during the whole crop cycle and optimum air percentage combined with optimum root contact.  With complete control over their production process they are able to offer consistently reliable deliveries.

    Welcoming the new partnership, Agrii’s Stewart Bates commented “Dutch Plantin’s specially aged coir production process, coupled with their high level of technical expertise and support, will ensure that growers receive long lasting, stable and reliable coir modules”.

    “The partnership between Agrii and Dutch Plantin will provide customers with excellent levels of quality products, professional advice and service” Mr Bates concluded.

    For more information, please contact Steve Masters, Special Products Manager on

  3. Case Study SoilQuest Delivers for Essex Farmer

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    Yield increases, improved grain quality, less lodging and improved blackgrass control are among significant benefits that SoilQuest client James Faulkner has enjoyed. James manages R. Davidson and Son’s farm based at Peldon near Colchesterin Essex.

    Following a trial on a block of land north of Colchester, it was decided to use the SoilQuest system right across the 1100 hectares of land farmed by the company. According to James the move to SoilQuest has led to more refined soil sampling and maps. While it is difficult to quantify the savings made by using it, he believes that the cost of SoilQuest has been recovered many times over.

    As well as determining the optimum use of nutrients, James and Stuart Alexander, Agrii’s Precision Agronomy Manager, have worked on producing variable seed rate maps. The area is well-known for its resistant blackgrass population and variable seed rates provide another valuable tool in the James’ armoury for blackgrass control.

    He says that they haven’t saved seed, but have ensured that is used where it most needs to be, with seed rates varying between 100kg/ha and 200kg/ha in the same field. In the coming season they will be moving the system onto oilseed rape with the aim of achieving better establishment. James says: “It is far more accurate than the farmer can ever be, so it will be a huge benefit to the crops and help to produce a consistent and reliable gross margin.”

  4. New Precision Options from SoilQuest

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    SoilQuest is Agrii’s Precision Agronomy System, providing agronomists, farmers and growers with accurate information about their soils on which to base profitable decisions.

    Currently working with a significant numbers of our customers across the East, SoilQuest uses Veris scanning and detailed analysis to produce soil maps and management zones within fields, which when integrated with variable rate equipment can apply inputs in a much more targeted and cost effective way.

    Agrii’s SoilQuest service offers three options to gather data and provide advice, allowing us match your specific requirements.


  5. Non-compliance still costing farmers

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    Failures of cross compliance inspections in 2012 have recently been published by the RPA (  The results show poor record keeping was the major factor in cross compliance breaches costing farmers £1.4 million in reductions to their Single Payment Scheme (SPS). Changes have been made to cross compliance rules in the past year, primarily around NVZ regulations, no spread zones and cattle ID rules.

    The Good News

    The figures show a slight reduction in the total number of failures from 2,046 in 2011 to 1,947 last year.

    Animal related SMRs still top failures

    The highest number of breaches (670) was among cattle keepers for failing to report deaths or movement of their animals. Problems were also shown with movements not being recorded in farm records.

    The Bad News

    The number of Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) failings almost trebled in 2012, incomplete records being the main breach.  Additionally, the number of failings for not having or incorrectly completing a Soil Protection Review nearly doubled.  The majority of these failures received a minimum 5% SPS reduction, worth approximately £11/ha.

    Other areas where breaches have increased include obstructions on public rights of way (GAEC 8) and inappropriate cultivation and pesticide use in field boundary protection zones (GAEC 14).

    There were failures for the new GAEC 19 rules, no spread zones, these rules are particularly relevant for farmers outside NVZ designations but using organic manures.  For this failures were down to spreading organic manure without a risk map and storing muck far too close to watercourses.

    How Can We Help

    The average inspection fine for the key failures identified in this article sits between 3 – 5% of the SPS which is worth approximately £10/ha.

    Agrii have a dedicated team of environment and compliance specialists giving you advice and support alongside your Agrii contacts.  This team offers advice through a Farm Auditing Service.  This is an on farm health-check tailored to your farm business to assess and evaluate farm compliance and identify where SPS risks lie.

    Would I benefit from this service?

    1. Have you completed the required risk maps (SPR, NVZ, GAEC 19)?
    2. Have you completed the 4 step Nitrogen Management Plan which must be completed prior to any fertiliser application of any form to your land (NVZ)?
    3. Have you included all organic manures in your Nutrient Management Plan?
    4. Have you completed your Soil Protection Review correctly for cross compliance?

    If you have answered ‘no’ to any of the questions and are interested in knowing more about our auditing service, please get in touch with Beth Metson on 07545 927 474 or

  6. Late Autumn Seed Choices

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    Barry Barker – Arable Seed Product Manager

    Normally late autumn wheat drilling is regarded as anything from mid October through to the end of the calendar year. However, the conditions of the past few years have led growers to drill all the way through into the spring with winter varieties, with generally positive results.

    The HGCA produces a recommended list for the late autumn which compares both winter wheat types and so called alternative wheat types. In essence those latter varieties are ones that require little vernalisation and can equally be drilled after the normal cut off date for winter varieties. Recently breeders have been bringing forward a greater number and agronomically improved alternative varieties and this combined with the difficult conditions for many last year has resulted in a far larger number of growers trying the alternative wheat types.

    Mulika is by far the most popular variety of the alternative types and the fact it is capable of attracting NABIM Group 1 premiums gives it the edge for many growers over some of the other alternative types. This is followed in popularity by an old favourite Tybalt (Group 2) and newer varieties KWS Alderon (Group 4 Hard) and KWS Willow (Group 2). The latter two have been showing some yield advantages over Mulika and Tybalt and are competing with the best of the winter wheats in official trials data. Agronomically there is not a lot to choose between them though it should be noted that Mulika is a bit taller than the others but does have the benefit of Orange Blossom Midge Resistance.

    Growers tend to favour the winter wheat types at the front end of the late autumn ‘slot’ and certainly with very few exceptions most can be drilled through the October/November period. And as has been previously mentioned, many growers now have experience of drilling some of these varieties in Jan/Feb and even some into early March.

    Though growers must always check the latest safe sowing dates for each variety. Varieties such as Conqueror and Duxford have long been favourites in the later drilled slot but varieties such as KWS Santiago and KWS Kielder should also continue to deliver their high yield potentials albeit with the relatively lower yields associated with later drilling. Some growers will also be looking at going after maize or roots. Cocoon has the highest Fusarium resistance on the list and Invicta will also deliver a decent performance.

    One other variety, not on the list, to consider is Xi19. Still favoured with Group 1 premiums by millers and suitable for drilling from October through to the end of February. So growers have a number of options to consider and hopefully this autumn will deliver better sowing conditions than we had in 2012!

  7. Innovative Arable Research Strategy Unveiled

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    Genetics, nutrition and soils, precision agronomy, crop protection and emerging technologies are the central pillars of the innovative five year research strategy unveiled this autumn to underpin the most significant expansion in applied research, development and technical support for UK farming in more than 20 years.

    In a significant first for the agricultural supply industry, the formal plan is designed to focus the multi-million pound extra national Agrii research investment announced last year on the most important gaps cereal, oilseed rape, potato, vegetable and fruit production knowledge.

    It has been developed by the special R&D Strategy Board established under the independent chairmanship of leading crop scientist, Professor James Burke to guide activities in close
    co-operation with some of the country’s most respected specialists and organisations.

    “Our first five-year research plan is based on an extensive national R&D priorities study conducted with customers and agronomists across the country over the past 12 months,” explains head of technology and services, Clare Bend. “It refines the wide range of potential study areas identified through this into more than 50 research projects validated for their contribution to growers’ needs and prioritised by region.

    “Increasing the production system efficiency and improving product quality and safety with the greatest economic and environmental sustainability is the core purpose of the plan. It builds on the extensive trials programme we already have underway to optimise the performance of current systems and identify new solutions to the most pressing agronomic challenges. Managing risk and volatility and maximising return on investment are central to all its components.”

    As well as organising the company’s research into a series of carefully-integrated work programmes for the greatest customer value, the R&D strategy allocates specific internal and external resources to deliver them and sets out the way this will be done through the developing network of regional Agrii Technology Centres and ifarms.

    Key Agrii Research Strategy Pillars

    1. Identifying superior genetics and the best ways of exploiting them through variety-specific agronomy;
    2. Improving crop nutrition and soil management through a better understanding of individual nutrients, their interactions and soil health;
    3. Employing precision agronomy, electronically-driven aids and real-time trials data for more effective crop management and decision-making;
    4. Harnessing the full range of cultural controls alongside agrochemicals for the most integrated and effective crop protection; and,
    5. Exploring the practical value of exciting new nano-science, bio-pesticide and other emerging technologies in crop protection and nutrition.