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green horizons blog

What did we achieve in 2021? | Green Horizons Blog

Blog - 20.04.23

News update 1/3
In 2021 we carried out a wide range of Green Horizons trials covering aspects of nutrition, biosolutions, new chemistries and maximising soil resilience. These trials were kindly supported by our Green Horizons sponsors: UPL, FMC, Corteva, BASF, Bayer and Interagro. Here we provide a brief summary of some of the trials that were undertaken. We'll be posting further updates over the next few weeks, including a summary of trials planned for 2022.

GROWING ORGANIC MATTER

Objective: To evaluate methods of improving soil organic matter by varying cultivation methods, rotation and cover crop choice and establishment.

Location: Midloe Grange

Crop: Spring barley (following OSR)

Soil type: Hanslope chalky boulder clay

Findings:

  • Although establishment costs were much lower in the conversion area, the reduction in yield meant that the conventionally ploughed area still produced a higher margin, with a difference of £42.50/ha.
  • However, the overall soil resilience on the conversion area was better, with infiltration rates being higher in the conversion area.

VARIETY BLENDS

Objective: To assess whether blends can produce more consistent yields and reduce disease pressures compared to straights.

Crop: Winter wheat – four straights were used, followed by a blend of varieties (KWS Extase, SY Insitor, RGT Saki, LG Skyscraper)

Findings:

  • Different diseases were seen in different areas of the country, which altered the variety performance in those regions.
  • KWS Extase had an exceptional year and so played an important role in the success of the blends. There were no blends tested which did not contain KWS Extase.
  • Blends can offer a level of consistency regardless of the challenges of the season. The reduced disease recorded was on an overall plot basis.

STOW LONGA

Objective: To examine cultural controls of blackgrass

Location: Stow Longa, near Huntingdon

Findings:

  • Brome is now a problem after five years of min till/direct drill, so a blackgrass threatened farm now faces a new issue.
  • The best gross margin over the years uses spring cropping heavily.
  • The worst rotation started badly with winter oats in a blackgrass situation following with winter wheat, winter beans and winter wheat crops crops (drilled 'late') which just couldn't get this block back on track.
  • The best to worst of rotations and establishment techniques gave a £339 per hectare annual swing, profit or loss...
  • The gap between best and worst narrows when t he worst block has been proactively managed by adding spring barley into the rotation.

Look out for the next in this series of updates, which will cover:

  • Continuous wheat: what factors (focusing on fertiliser and seed treatments) affect performance?
  • Variety and fungicide choices trials - how does a greener crop protection programme perform across a range of winter wheat varieties?
  • We'll also be looking forward to the Green Horizons trials in place for 2022.

 

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