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Category Archive: Agrii North Spring 2014

  1. Grant Opportunity – Don’t miss out

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    The third round of the FFIS grant is available to apply for from 4 Feb – 4 April. This grant, among other things gives 40% aid towards GPS equipment on tractors used for fertiliser application and is therefore a sort after aid. There are many other items that are included other than GPS, other key areas of interest in the last few years have been reservoirs, animal handling, sheep ID, water harvesting tanks and roofing, manure heaps and slurry stores.

    The main points have been summarised below:

    • Round 3 of the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS) launches on the 4 February 2014.
    • The selection process for FFIS is competitive.
    • The round will close on Friday 4 April 2014
    • Unlike previous rounds the RDPE will start processing applications as soon as they arrive. Therefore applicants are strongly advised to apply as soon as they can.
    • The maximum grant per business for FFIS Round 3 is £35,000 and the minimum grant is £2,500.
    • Applicants who have received grant funding in previous FFIS rounds are eligible to apply and can apply for the full £35,000. However, in the event that the round is oversubscribed, priority will be given to applicants that have not previously been awarded a grant.
    • Only items listed in the Applicant Handbook are eligible for funding and grant rates vary between 15% and 50% depending on the item and applicant location.


    There are 5 themes in FFIS:-

    • Nutrient management;
    • Energy efficiency;
    • Water management;
    • Animal health and welfare;
    • And Forestry


    If you are interested in knowing more about this grant opportunity, please get in touch with Laura Wraith on 07760 776089 or

  2. Master Seeds app fine tunes seed rates

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    The new Seed Rate Calculator App from Agrii makes it easy and convenient to plan your seed requirements and calibrate your sowing equipment to establish the optimum plant populations for high performing crops.

    Uniquely, the app enables growers and agronomists to compare the planned target population against the actual crop establishment. This knowledge provides the user with a sound evidence base for adjusting variable rate and whole-field seed rates as well as subsequent crop management protocols.

    Ewan McFarlane, who led the app development project for Agrii, explained that “an accurate knowledge of how plant establishment varies over different soil types and seedbed conditions is essential if growers are to optimise their investment in variable seed rate and soil mapping technologies, this app helps our customers achieve this goal”.

    The calculator web app is available to use on the Agrii website by visiting http:// with versions for all mainstream smartphone and tablet computers following later in the year.

    For more information contact your Agrii agronomist.

  3. 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 number of our customers across the North, 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 to match your specific requirements. The depth and detail of data gathered is completely unique, as is the flexibility of the service. In addition we offer an unrivalled level of support and advice through our expert interpretation of the data we collect.

    For more information, please contact Fraser Rennie on 07545 927478 or Dave Cowe on 07831 254172.

  4. Agrii North Agronomist scoops prestigious award

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    Mark Fletcher, an Agrii agronomist from North Yorkshire has been announced as the winner of this year’s Barrie Orme Shield awarded by the industry’s training and certification body BASIS. The shield is given each year to the best candidate for the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection. Mark was presented with the award by Sir Jim Paice MP at a short ceremony at the Farmers Club in London.

    Mark, who joined Agrii in 2012, currently works in and around Northallerton and Thirsk mainly on arable crops, but also offers advice on soft fruit, protected lettuce and brassicas. He has graduated from Queens University, Belfast with a B.Agr (Batchelor of Agriculture) a M.Sc and a Ph.D from the University of Reading and has also worked for Syngenta and Westland Horticulture. As well as the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection, he passed his FACTS exam in March.

  5. Living Without Neonicotinoids

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    Craig Herkes – Regional Technical Advisor

    In spring 2013 the European Commission decided to ban the use of the neonicotinoid insecticide active ingredients clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam for seed treatment, soil application and foliar treatment on those plants and crops attractive to bees. The period of the ban started on 1st December 2013 and is due to run for 2 years during which time it will be reviewed. Neonicotinoid seed treatments have been an extremely useful part of integrated agronomy, providing targeted use of relatively small amounts of active ingredient helping to protect seedlings and young plants from insect pests. Note that Deter can continue to be used on cereals in the autumn i.e. must be drilled by 31st December.

    In the absence of neonicotinoid seed treatments a number of issues will need managing by adapting agronomic practices to deal with common pests in oilseed rape and linseed crops.

    Select the right variety and drilling date – go for good early vigour

    In the case of spring oilseed rape, delaying drilling until late March/ early April into favourable seedbeds with warm soil is the best defence against early flea beetle, so that the plant emerges and grows away quickly. The faster developing spring rapes, such as Dodger from Bayer and Docktrin from DSV, are ideal candidates for this early development.Choice of Winter Oilseed Rape varieties can help in the defence of the damage caused by Flea beetle and the prevention of TuYV spread. Generally the hybrid varieties are faster in their leaf development especially DK Expower and DK Excellium.

    Achieve good establishment

    Rapid emergence and early growth will be important for all crops to help them grow away from early pest pressure. Fine seedbeds and consolidation with the rolls will also help prevent flea beetle damage which can occur in loose seedbeds before the crop even emerges.

    Use TakeOff seed treatment

    This can improve rooting and crop establishment, helping the “germinative vigour” mentioned above. This is true for both Oilseed rape and Linseed and the cost/ha in these crops is minimal, making it a very useful component of the overall strategy.

    Consider increasing seed rates

    In high risk locations / situations this should be considered to allow for a percentage loss due to early pest attack, especially in spring crops which have less opportunity to compensate compared to winter crops.

    Seedbed nutrition

    Agrii trials are assessing comparative starter and placement fertiliser products in WOSR in autumn 2013 and this will also be looked at in spring 2014 trials. Nitrogen and phosphate will be the most important nutrients for rapid establishment and early growth particularly in situations of comparatively low N & P availability.

    Apply foliar insecticides EARLY and monitor regularly

    Timeliness of insecticide applications is essential – crops can disappear very rapidly. In spring OSR there are a number of approved pyrethroids (for early flea beetle control) plus non-pyrethroid options (targeted mainly at pollen beetle). Timing for flea beetle will need to be early (i.e. as soon as the crop just starts to emerge) and repeat applications should be planned whilst pest pressure remains.Once Oilseed rape gets to the 4 leaf stage the plants are more tolerant of damage.

    Managing without neonicotinoids will not be easy. It is important to seek the advice of a qualified agronomist who has access to the latest agri-intelligence and to pay careful attention to product labels for details on maximum total dosage and number of applications.


  6. What came first – the chicken or the egg?

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    Producing a profitable crop means identifying the best market, selecting the appropriate variety for that market, maximizing the margin over input cost with a tailored Crop protection programme, including seed treatment choice and soil management – But where do you start?

    As part of a new integrated agronomy initiative to address this challenge Agrii have introducing a completely new timing to their crop protection programmes T(-1) – To ensure that crop protection starts with the seed as the first part of the annual agronomy programme – rather than the last part of the seed purchase process. Followed by an approach which recognises the importance of growers and agronomists working together, over the whole crop cycle from initial planning and sowing decisions through to harvest and storage – to deliver the greatest value at the least risk.

    The Seed is the crop – Ask us what we can do for you

  7. New Technology & Skills Centre Extends Agrii R&D Partnership at Bishop Burton College

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    Bishop Burton College is delighted to announce its new £3.5 million Technology and Skills Centre will be home to Agrii’s Northern Technology Centre in a major extension of the current research and development partnership between the two industry knowledge transfer leaders.

    The impressive building, currently under construction, will house all-new agricultural engineering, construction, mechanisation and technology facilities for the College, providing students with access to the latest technology in precision farming – including global positioning systems and CAN bus electronics – and refrigeration engineering.

    It will also become the centre for Agrii’s multi-million pound expansion in research and development across northern England and Scotland, headed up by newly-appointed Northern R&D manager, Jim Carswell. As well as offices and meeting facilities, the unit will include dedicated laboratory facilities linked to the company’s expanded cropping trials programme on the college farm.

    Announcing this important development, college principal, Jeanette Dawson, OBE said: “We are thrilled to have extended our partnership with one of the UK’s leading lights in arable research, development and technology in such an emphatic way.

    “Beyond hosting such a high profile and exciting new centre, we will gain tremendously from our students’ exposure to and involvement with the very latest in agronomic science and technology development. This will reinforce their understanding of the way the practical skills they’re learning fi t into the much bigger picture of ensuring food production meets the major challenges of the future. In turn, it will help prepare them for an active role in helping drive forward the improvements in crop yield, quality and profitability that are vital to doing so.”

    “The work we’ll increasingly being undertaking here and across sites from Inverness to Lincoln is focused firmly on bringing the gap between science and commercial crop production practice in the most effective ways possible,” explained Jim Carswell, who brings a wealth of crop research and technical expertise to his new role.

    “This season we have no less than 1400 plots of winter wheat, 1200 plots of winter oilseed rape and 350 plots of winter barley in the ground at Bishop Burton. As well as assessing new varieties, new chemistry and new nutritional ideas, we’re exploring the value and management of a range of exciting crop traits and agronomic techniques. “Impartial research has been at the heart of Agrii from its inception. Our over-riding aim is to provide the intelligence our northern agronomists and their growers need to consistently improve the profitability of the crops they produce for both mainstream and added-value markets. Doing this sustainably with an ever more restricted arsenal of crop protection chemistry makes the thoroughly integrated approach to production and advice that has always been our primary concern more important than ever.”

    For more information, please contact: Karen Shead Email:

  8. 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 in 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, biopesticide and other emerging technologies in crop protection and nutrition.