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Category Archive: Agrii West Autumn 2012

  1. What’s happening at your local Agrii autumn event?

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    Cotswold – Tuesday 6th November

    12.45pm – 3.00pm

    Discussion and Demonstrations will include:
    + OSR establishment.
    + Variety and nutrition discussions.
    + Companion planting.

    Wilton – Wednesday 7th November

    12.15pm – 3.45pm

    Discussion and Demonstrations will include:
    + A local perspective of Winter OSR disease control for this autumn.
    + Understanding ear blight and its impact on the 2012 winter wheat harvest.
    + 15 Tonne/ha Challenge update.

    Brackley – Thursday 8th November

    1.30 – 5.00pm

    Discussion and Demonstrations will include:
    + A local perspective on winter wheat disease management
    + OSR crop management – key results and points for this growing year.
    + Blackgrass control. What happened in 2012 at Agrii’s specialist blackgrass R&D site at Stow Longa and what can we do differently this year?
    + New blackgrass initiative for Brackley

    South Wales – Friday 9th November

    2.00pm – 5.00pm

    Discussion and Demonstrations will include:
    + OSR establishment techniques.
    + OSR variety and nutrition discussions.
    + Comparison of OSR drills and establishment costs.
    + What can we learn from the 2012 harvest? How not to overreact in 2013.

    AgriiFocus Autumn Event -Thursday 22nd November

    1.45pm – 5.15pm

    Discussion and Demonstrations will include:
    + Oilseed Rape establishment.
    + Review of last season’s trials from the AgriiFocus site concentrating on key areas such as disease control and crop nutrition.
    +New Blackgrass initiative. Review the work at Agrii’s specialist blackgrass R&D site at Stow Longa and what can we do differently this year?

    Invitations for our autumn series of events will be dispatched shortly. For more information please speak to your usual Agrii contact, or call Mark Giblin on 07545 927479.

  2. AgriiFocus – Western Technology Centre

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    David Langton, Crop Nutrition Technical Manager

    Agrii’s western technology centre, the AgriiFocus site continues to develop and hopefully you were able to come along to our event on 5th July to see a selection of the trials work. As well as the plot tours we had excellent talks from Peter Kendall, Bill Angus and Clare Bend and feedback from the event has been really positive.

    As I write this, all of last season’s plots have been harvested, some of the data has been analysed and the WOSR is all drilled. Plans are being finalised for winter wheat drilling and new for the site, we will have winter barley trials.

    Much of the harvest data is still to be processed but here are a few highlights:

    Yields were much lower compared to previous years in line with farm experience. Average yield in the WW variety trial this year was 9.2t/ha compared to 13.6 and 13.4 for the previous two years.

    Unlike the previous two seasons the earlier maturing varieties Grafton, Cordiale and Gallant were the highest yielding (10.2 – 10.5t/ha). Ear Fusarium has been rampant this year and on the site we had rain every day for 11 days from 2nd June – maybe these varieties managed to complete flowering before this period?

    We have had some interesting WOSR results – 75cm row spacing was too wide but at 12.5 and 37.5cm you could drill a wide range of seed rates and still achieve the full yield. In our seedbed fertiliser trial, even though we achieved a significant improvement in autumn GAI, there was no yield benefit. For details speak to your Agrii contact.

    Following a number of low disease pressure years we will learn a lot from this year’s fungicide trials. Brief highlights are that the SDHI’s have performed well – in one trial they out yielded triazole programmes by 1t/ha and the best SDHI programme added a further 0.5t/ha.

    After a very promising start, last season turned out to be very challenging. There will be much to learn from many of the trials but correct interpretation will be very important. Conditions are likely to be different next season so knee jerk reactions to last year’s results may turn out not be the best decision.

    We are always striving to get more out of the AgriiFocus site and to that end we have employed Dr Syed Shah to take on full responsibility for all of the R&D in the Western region and his main focus will be the AgriiFocus site. He has a strong agronomy R&D background and you will get the chance to meet him at various events around the region.

    We are planning a series of events on the site starting with a field day on Thursday 22nd November – more details to follow. In the Spring we will hold further open days on WOSR and barley as well as the main AgriiFocus event in early July.

    We are committed to continue to develop the AgriiFocus site as part of Agrii’s R&D programme to provide the agronomy team with the best local information. Armed with this, they can work with you to achieve the best results with your crops.
  3. Establishing crops for 2013

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    Alistair King, Regional Fertiliser Manager

    As we start to consider establishing crops for harvest in 2013 we draw your attention to our nutrition check list. The fundamentals in maintaining soil reserves remain the same.

    • Check soil pH aiming for 6.5 in an arable situation and 6.0 in grass
    • Soil sample and assess P, K and Mg levels
    • Consider your fertiliser requirements for 2013
    • Follow the market and put in place a purchasing strategy
    • Create a nutrition plan based on cropping and organic matter inputs
    • Make sure you include Sulphur as part of the programme

    The Options

    • Lime bulk delivered and spread/granular lime
    • UK or imported Nitrogens and Ureas
    • Conventional PK and nitrogen/sulphur systems
    • NPK plus S Spring applied
    • Liquid options
    • Cropkare (Ash poultry litter) as a PK alternative

    Consider your fertiliser requirements for next year, to accommodate factors such as storage, cash flow and delivery.

    For a market update please speak to your agronomist or Alistair King 07880 787473.

  4. Agrii supports official trials system for grass and clover varieties

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    Brendan Paul – Forage Business Manager

    A free copy of the new Recommended Grass and Clover List is available from Agrii if you ask your agronomist. The trials scheme has been under financial pressure recently to maintain a wide geographic spread to provide you with solid and rigorous information. To ensure the scheme continues EBLEX, DairyCo and Hybu Cig Cymru are working with the breeders and NIAB TAG to fund and promote the trials and results.

    The continued pressure on milk prices means that you need to manage all aspects of your farm business. The recent cycling success at the Olympics highlighted the philosophy of marginal gains. Finding 10 x 1% improvements is the same as 1 x 10% improvement. So lots of small improvements can add up to a big difference. The average yield improvement of grass varieties on the Recommended List is about 1% per year and with DV value improvements the energy yields are even higher. You can clearly cut your feed costs by managing grassland better.

    Agrii produce most of our own grass seed taking basic seed from two breeders. This gives us a pick of the best varieties from a wide genetic base. Master Leys only include grass varieties that are on the Recommended List. Alternative Master Ley mixtures are tested prior to sale as varieties may not be compatible in the field even though they appear to be on paper.

  5. Fertiliser finance with Agrii

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    Robin Willey, National Fertiliser Coordinator

    Agrii provides easy access to finance for the purchase of GrowHow fertiliser, crop protection products and seed.

    Proven over many years, a significant number of our customers utilise this scheme, which is aimed at helping farmers manage finances and fund crop input programmes in a flexible and cost-effective way.

    The scheme enables Agrii customers to make purchases at the most advantageous time and plan a repayment schedule at periods best suited to your cash flow.

    REMINDER: ING are withdrawing their offer. The last practical date for application is Wednesday 14th November 2012

    For further information please contact your Agronomist or speak to a member of our customer services team on 01480 418000

  6. Agrii Launch E-Journal

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    Future issues of this publication will be available as an ‘E-Journal’, allowing you to receive the newsletter in an email format should you so wish.

    The E-Journal will be mobile compatible, meaning you can easily view the content on a smart phone if you use one – alternatively you can access it on any computer connected to the internet.

    We realise that not all our customers wish to receive communications electronically, so rest assured that hard copies will still be available. But if you are happy to receive E-Journal in the future and are happy to be removed from the hard copy mailing list, please visit our website at and follow the E-Journal instructions. You will need your Journal address label to hand.

  7. Standing up for farming

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    Mark Thomas, Head of Marketing and Communications

    Farming rarely receives a positive press. Much of what we read in the media is unbalanced and the many stories about what farming provides are often overlooked. We are delighted to see the NFU working to address this through their ‘Farming Delivers’ initiative and there are many individual farmers working to change the misconceptions held in some quarters about our fine industry.

    In addition to promoting the benefits of what we do, we should always be aware that politicians need reminding about how farming contributes to the economy, the environment and to the well-being of society. There is a danger that new regulations and legislation can be introduced without due consideration of the full facts and this is where Agrii seeks to do our bit to stand up for our customers and for the farming industry.

    As well as supporting our customers with their individual farming operations, Agrii personnel are actively involved with a number of initiatives to support, lobby and promote our customers interests from a wider perspective. We work in an industry that produces food and can impact (positively as well as negatively) on the environment – two emotive areas which means we are always under the spotlight from the public, politicians and the media and vulnerable to what are on occasion ill-informed criticisms.

    The Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC) is the UK trade association for the agricultural supply industry, They work to lobby policy makers and promote the benefits of modern commercial agriculture throughout the food chain. Agrii are heavily involved at all levels with AIC, including board representation. Agrii personnel dedicate time to serve on a number of AIC committees, including the crop protection, fertiliser, technical, environmental and logistics forums, providing specialist input to AIC activities and to ensure we can give direct feedback on issues that might affect our customers, before legislation is formulated.

    It helps to ensure we have a significant input and awareness of policy issues that could affect our business and that of our customers.

    Agrii staff are also involved in a range of environmental initiatives, to promote safe practice and demonstrate the positive impact that modern, professional farming can have, Including the Voluntary Initiative, the Campaign for the Farmed Environment and Catchment Sensitive Farming. We are a founder member of the new Harper Adams Soil and Water Centre and have representation on the Fresh Produce Consortium Technical Committee and the Industry Group of the British Beet Research Organisation.

    In addition to this, we host around 150 events annually on our demonstration farms to share best practice and new ideas with our customers and are active participants in the UK’s annual Voluntary Initiative National Register of Sprayer Operators (NROSO) scheme. We have also been responsible for spearheading the drive for a separate course applicable to fruit crops. This initiative has played a significant role in averting the threat of a pesticide tax, as well as satisfying many of the requirements of the, recently introduced, Sustainable Use Directive (SUD.)

    Agrii work with over 20,000 farm customers and we influence a large area of combinable farm output. With this comes a significant responsibility that we take very seriously – to our customers, to the environment and to food safety.

    Rest assured we will continue to work and lobby on your behalf to ensure Farming’s voice is heard where it matters.

  8. Testing conditions in South Wales

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    Steve Moss, Agrii agronomist

    The South Wales R&D site focus on Winter Wheat and Winter Barley trials, in conjunction with Steve Earl who manages Oil Seed Rape Trials on an adjacent farm in the Vale.

    What a difference a year makes! With Septoria control as our main challenge in the area, fungicide rates and timings are critical, as is choice of product. Last year was described as a low disease year – but on our site we averaged a 4t/Ha yield response to fungicides. This varied from 2t/Ha on Stigg, to 8t/Ha on Oakley.

    With this in mind it was decided to set up a trial looking at fungicide programmes for Septoria control, in addition to our variety trials.

    The dry spring put pressure on us from a yellow rust perspective, with Oakley and Torch breaking down very early in the untreated plots .T1 and T2 timings were delayed because of the weather and then Septoria hit us hard. At our Open Day on June 22nd Bill Angus, who joined us for the day, said he had never seen Septoria like it and would be keen to develop the site further!

    The fungicide trials were given a visual inspection on the day by Agrii agronomist Tim Horton, who thought our high rate field treatment was the best. Within three weeks these plots were virtually dead, underlining the need for very robust treatments in this geography.

    Next season we will look at programmes that are more in keeping with our local disease pressure. Bill Angus and Colin Lloyd will re-examine the varieties with inbuilt Septoria resistance and their responses to a fungicide programme.

  9. Brackley OSR trials – a cut above the rest!

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    Greg Taylor, Agrii Agronomist

    A PGR system trial was part of the ongoing work into canopy management and the desire to increase OSR yields at Brackley this year. There were a number of fungicides with growth regulatory properties trialed. However, as well as chemical control, cutting of the main raceme at green bud stage took place to effect branching out of the plant. This had some visual effects during the growing season including a shorter yellow petal stage, increased branching and zero lodging.

    In the plots with Excellium at 35 seeds/m2, there was a positive effect on crop height as well as pod numbers and also showed positive correlation between height difference and yield, and also number of pods per plant and yield. Cutting of the main raceme gave 15% yield increase and a 14% increase in pods, where increasing the use of triazoles increased yield by 16% and the number of pods by 10%.

    We are continuing with this trial for the 2013 crop.

  10. From Smart Farms to R&D Sites

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    Gary Bosley, Regional Technical Advisor & Thomas Goodman, Agrii Agronomist

    With the formation of Agrii earlier this year, there was a perfect opportunity in the Salisbury area to merge the excellent technical work done by both UAP with its Trials Site and Masstock with its Smart Farm.

    On the UAP side of the business we used all of our trials sites to do various product testing and nutrition work; this was replicated to generate data used by the technical dept and our Agronomists, and each year we hosted a fairly low key ‘open day’ on the site. Masstock did most of their replicated trials work at major sites such as AgriiFocus (our Westren Technology Centre) and Throws Farm. This work, together with other systems, was then demonstrated on the Smart Farm network. These events took place at various times throughout the year and included speakers and contributors drawn from across the industry.

    The two new Agrii teams from Larkwhistle and Salisbury met and decided to join the sites and create a hybrid of the two; this is now called an Agrii R&D Site and in 2012/13 will be located on the Wilton Estate, by kind permission of North Hill Farms Ltd. This is an exciting development, enabling our local customers and agronomy teams to access a large demonstration farm, which will generate sound, replicated technical data for us all to use. This will work in conjunction with the main Western Technology Centre and compliment the replicated trials work conducted there.

    15t/Ha Wheat Challenge

    At the beginning of the 2011/12 cropping year we decided to set ourselves the challenge of producing a 1 acre wheat block which was capable of yielding 15 tonne/ha. The idea being to reduce limitations of the variety’s genetic potential by using a robust fungicide program, a crop-specific tailored nutrition plan and enough plant growth regulation to keep it all standing!

    At the time of writing, we are yet to harvest the plot, but have some good indications of how it is measuring-up. With a strong fungicide programme we maintained green leaf area, with all three top leaves photosynthesising when comparable plots were down to just one and a half in June. And with over 700 ears/m2 and 100 grains per ear recorded, we have certainly established a crop capable of achieving its potential. The question now, is has there been sufficient grain fill with the lack of sunshine? Watch this space!

    “enabling our local customers and agronomy teams to access a large demonstration farm, which will generate sound, replicated technical data”

    This year at Wilton we will have:

    • Winter Wheat varieties – treated and untreated
    • Nitrogen Utilisation Efficiency work – testing nitrogen uptake and its interaction with various fungicides
    • The 15 tonne wheat challenge – continuing the work by Todd Jex and Tom Goodman
    • Winter Oilseed Rape varieties – treated and untreated as well as continuing to investigate N,S and Mg interactions.
    • We also plan to set up a long term trial looking at different forms of organic matter including compost and other waste.