Hutchinsons - Omnia

Discussion in 'Agricultural Company Pages' started by Chris F, Nov 24, 2014.

Hutchinsons - Omnia
Details
Promo
Forum Details
Map
  1. Chris F

    Chris F Staff Member

    About Our Company

    Hutchinsons business has grown to become the leading national agricultural and horticultural input advice and supply company. Hutchinsons takes a dynamic, forward thinking approach to supporting grower clients in the production of quality crops and food in a sustainable and responsible manner.

    Agriculture and horticulture have always faced fluctuating conditions and prosperity and the industry is once again experiencing a period of significant change. After several decades where food security has been low on government agendas and householders have enjoyed high quality food at relatively cheap prices, the current situation has seen the unit price of staple foodstuffs like bread, milk, eggs, vegetables and meat increase significantly.

    At Hutchinsons, long term commitment to customers and staff continues to ensure that the business will be able to successfully meet the needs and improve profitability of farmers and growers in the future.

    Hutchinsons recognises that the people working within the business are the essential ingredient in maintaining and enhancing the quality of service offered to their customers. This philosophy, allied to technological advances and continuity of management has proved to be a key strength.

    Hutchinsons employs over 250 staff, of which more than half are directly involved with customer service and agronomic relationships. Behind the front-line agronomists are an efficient and dedicated team of stores personnel, delivery drivers and office staff who provide high quality customer support and service.

    Arable Agronomy

    Hutchinsons team of over 150 arable agronomists are located throughout the UK. These technical specialists know how important it is to provide the best advice and are highly qualified professionals holding BASIS, BETA, FACTS, The Plant Protection Award and
    Soil & Water Management qualifications.

    Continuing professional development is very important and regular training takes place in order to provide a comprehensive and up to date service to the farmer.

    Long term grower and agronomist relationships based on mutual understanding and trust ensures agronomy advice is combined with local knowledge and experience. Decisions taken are based on sound business principles, practical implementation and what is right for individual growers.
    Advice is completely independent of manufacturers and is supported by an in house research programme across a range of soil types, crops and husbandry within crops.

    Fruit & Horticultural Agronomy
    Hutchinsons specialist team of BASIS qualified agronomist advise on all types of fruit and other horticultural crops, both outdoor and protected. Advice and supply includes agrochemicals, biological control agents and micronutrients. Advisory services also cover general establishment, pruning, post harvest treatment and storage.

    Good advisor and client partnerships developed as a result of years of experience ensure that the best possible decisions are made.
    Regular training and active involvement in biological research, supplemented by close liaison with other research establishments ensures that all agronomists are fully up to date and advice is completely independent.

    Omnia Precision

    Easy to use software that allows growers & agronomists to access their data & plan decisions intelligently...

    Omnia is a fully integrated management tool which enables historical and current data to be analysed and built into variable rate application plans. Data can be taken from a multitude of sources which is a unique benefit of the Omnia system.

    awww.hlhltd.co.uk_siteimages_24_7_6_247648_8559155.jpg

    Omnia is based on the multi layering of data, starting with the soil and then adding layers of data from a variety of sources, to enable intelligent and informed decision making on the full range of variable applications.
    This system significantly reduces input costs and improves crop yields, whilst meeting industry objectives relating to environmental sustainability. Omnia systems have been undergoing trials over the last 3 years and the financial benefits have been repeatedly proven in the field. Learn more about Omnia Precision >>

    Enhances agronomic decision making and implementation…

    http://www.omniaprecision.co.uk/
  2. Chris F

    Chris F Staff Member

    PRESS RELEASE

    18th November 2014

    Hutchinsons display award winning approach to yield

    Leading national agricultural and horticultural input advice and supply company, Hutchinsons was directly associated with 7 of the total 12 prizes at this year’s YEN ( Yield enhancement Network) awards, organised by ADAS and a range of industry partners.
    Winning gold for the best field yield was Lincs farmer Tim Lamyman who also won the best percentage of potential yield, the bronze award for the best field yield went to Suffolk grower James Faulds, both who work with Hutchinsons agronomists. Whilst the gold and silver awards for the best research trial yields went to Hutchinsons technical experts, John Keer and Bob Bulmer.

    YEN Awards.jpg
    Dr Bob Bulmer, Hutchinsons’ YEN project trials and research manager believes that the best growers are those that do lots of things right and are constantly improving their own systems to maximise the potential of a specific site - and that final yield enhancement is about incremental gains across lots of different areas.

    While Dr Bulmer acknowledges that the water holding capacity of soil and the weather are limiting factors to yields that growers have little control over, there are plenty of other variables that can be tweaked to improve yields.

    Of particular importance is soil management and nutrition, and this is a great example of how this has worked well on this site in Suffolk, he says. “The key to achieving high yields is to maximise light interception throughout the season by establishing good canopy development early on and retaining it for longer. Good early establishment also helps enormously on sites that are limited by water availability.”

    Avoiding compaction and drilling into good conditions are critical to get the crop off to a good start and aid root development, especially on lighter soils where water is the main limiting factor, he says.

    In terms of crop nutrition, Dr Bulmer says a 15t/ha crop has a theoretical nitrogen requirement of more than 300kg/ha and a phosphate and potash need that is double an 8t/ha crop. But simply applying more fertiliser is not the answer and it is vital to accurately assess soil nutrient status so applications can be tailored and timed to best match crop requirements.

    “Accurate soil monitoring is really still only in its infancy and there is much more we can do to use this information in conjunction with other historical and in-season data, such as yield maps and crop growth analysis. That’s where software such as Omnia [see panel below] could really help growers develop more tailored agronomy, based on a variety of information.”

    The importance of sulphur should not be underestimated when looking at crop nutrition, he adds. “It’s a major factor in the ability of crops to utilise nitrogen and many soils have seen background levels fall due to less atmospheric deposition over recent years.”

    The simplest way of checking sulphur levels is to have a grain sample analysed, and nitrogen levels can also be assessed at the same time, he notes.

    Protect potential

    A robust fungicide and PGR approach is another feature of high-yielding crops, with two SDHI applications, plus chlorothalonil forming the backbone of many programmes, Dr Bulmer says.
    “Disease control has been very challenging over recent years, especially with the declining efficacy of triazoles.

    “Some growers are still taking too many risks, whereas those achieving the best yields tend to be more risk averse and can see the benefits of new chemistry for disease control and physiological effects. Fungicide inputs among this group are slightly higher than average, but are not excessive. Often it’s about having an outline plan that is flexible enough to be adapted and fine-tuned as the season progresses.”

    Choosing the right variety for the site and any management constraints, such as sprayer capacity, is crucial, although more information on this area is needed, he adds.
    “It’s a case of finding what works for your system and the specific soil and climate on that site.

    For more information on the YEN project go to www.yen.adas.co.uk

    Award winning Bulmer.JPG

    Award winning yields at Red House Farm Debenham. L to R Hutchinsons agronomist Matthew Read, farmer James Faulds, Hutchinsons YEN co-ordinator Dr Bob Bulmer.
  3. llamedos

    llamedos New Member

    hutchinsons.JPG
    Don’t overlook eyespot risk at T1

    Leading agronomy firm Hutchinsons is advising wheat growers not to overlook eyespot risk ahead of the key T1 (growth stage 31-32) fungicide timing this spring.

    The disease is often overshadowed by the need to control septoria and rusts at T1, but with a large amount of early-sown forward wheat in the ground and high levels in some crops last year, eyespot could well be a threat given the right conditions.

    With potential yield losses of up to 30% and additional harvesting difficulties from lodged crops, good control early in the season is vital, says Ayrshire-based agronomist Cameron Ferguson, who is in one of the highest risk areas for eyespot on the west coast of Scotland.

    “If you don’t get eyespot controlled by growth stage 31, there is not a lot you can do about it later in the campaign. Septoria and rust understandably get the focus, but don’t forget that eyespot is lurking at the base of crops or in the soil much of the time.”

    Recent colder weather will have helped reduce eyespot risk slightly, but inoculum carryover from the high levels seen last year and advanced state of many early-sown crops means there is still a reasonable threat this season, particularly in second wheats, says Dr Fiona Burnett from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

    Even varieties with more resistance, such as Grafton, are still susceptible to a degree if other risk factors are high, particularly wet weather over March, April and May, she says.

    Control of eyespot is hard even at stem extension and targeting the stem base gets ever harder thereafter, so Dr Burnett says early action is vital.

    [X-head] Fungicide options

    A few tweaks to robust fungicide strategies can ensure growers are well covered for eyespot, as well as septoria and rusts, advises Mr Ferguson.

    Prothioconazole is still one of the best active ingredients against eyespot, which with the backing of chlorothalonil and an SDHI such as fluxapyroxad or penthiopyrad, should form the basis of a strong all-round T1 spray, he says. Triazole rates should be kept to around 75% of label dose, he notes.


    Dr Burnett believes boscalid is one of the strongest treatments for high risk eyespot situations, although if the septoria risk is also high then bixafen + prothioconazole or epoxiconazole + fluxapyroxad will give better septoria control and reasonable eyespot activity. Chlorothalonil is a useful addition to manage septoria risk, she adds.


    On the east coast of Scotland, Hutchinsons colleague Iain Learmonth agrees that all growers should keep eyespot in mind when planning fungicide programmes, even if the perceived risk is not that high.

    Eyespot risk is heightened where wheat follows another cereal (particularly another wheat), crops are lush and forward, and spring rainfall is high, he notes.

    “But even if you’re growing a first wheat for example, eyespot can still potentially occur as inoculum can carryover on crop residues in the soil. There’s not that much variation in eyespot resistance among varieties, so you really need to make sure it’s covered at the T1 application.”

    He too favours robust doses (at least 75%) of either a prothioconazole plus penthiopyrad-based mix or boscalid plus epoxiconazole at T1 where eyespot control is needed alongside good septoria control.

    Mr Ferguson acknowledges that one of the biggest challenges for growers this season is the lower wheat price and the renewed pressure on margins.

    “Many growers are already questioning their fungicide spend for this season given the reduction in crop value. There may be scope to make some small savings through the campaign, but much will depend on the weather and disease risk. At the moment it looks like being another quite high risk season, so accurate timing will be crucial to get the most out of products.”
  4. llamedos

    llamedos New Member

    Exciting news for Scottish agriculture as Hutchinsons opens new,larger facilitiesinDundonald

    Demonstrating further long term and significant commitment to Scottish agriculture, crop protection specialists Hutchinsons, are making additionalconsiderable investment into the west of Scotland farming industry with the opening of brand new facilities in Dundonald.

    The new premises at Olympic Business Park in Dundonald will replace the current depot at Monkton, offering an increase in storage space along with easy access for pick-up of products and upgraded office facilities - this will make it much more convenient for growers wanting to collect agrochemicals and meet with any of the team.

    “Since the opening of our two depots in Monkton and Forfar back in 2013, we have been delighted with the support and uptake of the services from the farming community, however we now find ourselves in a position where we want to improve on this excellent foundation.This relocation to bigger premises in Dundonald will strengthen the range of products and services that we can offer to local farms and groups throughout the west of Scotland, via our agronomy and delivery teams,” says Cameron Ferguson of Hutchinsons.

    “We believe that this investment underlines the significance of Scotland as an important focus for our business and that as a company we are prepared to make the investment needed to support farmers now, and well into the future.”

    “The Hutchinsons company ethos is based on developing long term relationships between farmers and agronomists based on mutual understanding and trust – and having been in business for the last 75 years and still being the only family-owned business in the crop protection sector – we are pretty confident that this is what farmers are looking for in an increasingly commercialised market place,” he says.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  5. llamedos

    llamedos New Member

    Attention to detail at Cereals

    Maximising yields by addressing attention to detail is a key focus at this year’s Cereals event for leading crop production specialists Hutchinsons.

    Ø 2015 Yield Enhancement Network

    A fundamental part of this is learning about how different growers push their crops to minimise the difference between potential and actual yield, as in the Yield Enhancement Network - or YEN, organised by ADAS and industry partners.

    As one of the partners in the YEN, Hutchinsons experts are well placed to expand on their findings from last year, that saw them associated with 7 of the 12 total prizes in the 2014 competition.

    To find out more about this year’s competition and hear from some of the growers involved, visit the Hutchinsons stand over the course of the Cereals event.

    Ø Precision answers

    Over the last decade interest in precision technology for more accurate machine steering, controlling how we apply products to the fields and field mapping & recording has undoubtedly increased. To find out more about the unique Hutchinsons Omnia software developments, visit the stand and speak to one of the precision technology team.

    Ø Sixth year of the Cereals Challenge

    The Hutchinsons business strongly believes in investing in talented young people and a key part of this activity is the joint Hutchinsons and Velcourt Cereals Challenge which aims to encourage a new generation of agronomists and farmers into the industry by offering them a real-time crop to manage and sell.

    Located at Patrick Dean Farms, Boothby Graffoe in Lincolnshire, the site of the 2015 Cereals event, six plots of rye have been handed over to the student teams to manage through to the final judging during the 2015 Cereals Event.

    Successful teams from Newcastle University, The Royal Agricultural University, Nottingham University, Bishop Burton College (Riseholme Campus), Writtle College and Easton & Otley College qualified in a competitive process against a total of eleven entries to win a place in this year’s Challenge. The winning team will receive a trophy and a prize of £1,000 to share, the winning college is also awarded £500.

    The student teams have complete responsibility for the plots from mid-February until the day before the Cereals event in June, when they will be judged by Keith Norman, technical director at Velcourt, Dick Neale, technical manager of Hutchinsons, and a representative from the Cereals team.

    The competition will look at each team’s agronomic recommendations (based on appropriateness and timeliness of recommendations), input cost management, estimated crop yield and the quality, as well as the marketing of the crop.

    Last year’s tightly contested challenge saw only one point between the winners Easton & Otley College and runners up Harper Adams University College.

    Ø The winning team will be officially announced at 11am on Wednesday 10th June at the Velcourt stand, so do join the teams to find out who will be the 2015 winners.

    Visitors to the Hutchinsons stand at Cereals will also have access to Hutchinsons technical experts and agronomists, who will be available to talk though and provide solutions to any range of technical arable issues from grass weed control incorporating the best chemical and cultural methods, an update on SDHI fungicide performance to the best variety choices for autumn 2014.
  6. llamedos

    llamedos New Member

    cere.JPG
    Easton & Otley College wins 2015 Cereals Challenge for the second time

    For the second year running a team of four students from Easton & Otley College in Suffolk, has won the Cereals Challenge.

    Teams from Newcastle University, The Royal Agricultural University, Nottingham University, Bishop Burton College (Riseholme Campus), Writtle College and Easton & Otley College qualified in a competitive process to manage a plot of rye from mid-February until the day before the Cereals event, when they were judged by Keith Norman, technical director at Velcourt, Dick Neale, technical manager of Hutchinsons, and Alastair Priestley, managing director of Patrick Dean Ltd, this years’ Cereals host farm.

    The team of four from Easton & Otley College who are studying for a Foundation degree in Agricultural Management secured their win by a comfortable 4 mark lead over runners up Bishop Burton College (Riseholme Campus), and 13 points over the Newcastle University team who took third place.

    The Easton & Otley College team goes away with a trophy and £1000 prize money to share between the team members plus an additional £500 for the College.

    “Growing rye proved to be more difficult for the teams than in previous years when they had more mainstream Cereals to grow; this meant that they had to go out of their comfort zones to find out about growing and marketing the crop, “said Dick Neale of Hutchinsons during the prize giving at the Cereals event.

    “There were big differences between the plots particularly with regards to levels of Nitrogen applied, timings of application and product choice. Disease management also proved interesting as some teams treated for diseases such as Rhyncosporium which is not a disease of rye!”

    “The Easton & Otley team won by sheer attention to detail across every area of their programme. Rye needs a good PGR programme and they got this right, nutritional recommendations were also appropriate. However what really stood out was the time and effort that the team put into the justifications for their actions – which is an important part of the challenge,” added Keith Norman of Velcourt.

    This year’s winners worked closely together and agreed all inputs and management decisions alongside the guidance of lecturer Anthony Wilson, who believes that winning the Cereals Challenge will provide the students with the confidence to look at careers in agronomy or farm management that they may not have previously considered.

    Ryan Thompson, winning team captain agrees and is keen to encourage other students to join the challenge in the future. “It’s been a fantastic learning experience and has given us all a flavour of real time agronomy - we are absolutely delighted to have won.”

    Since the Challenge was launched six years ago, Hutchinsons has taken on 5 students into their successful Agronomy Foundation Training Programme whilst Velcourt has employed six students.
  7. llamedos

    llamedos New Member

    Achieving Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle control in Oilseed Rape

    Following the decision by the European Commission to implement a two year ban on the use of neonicotinoid seed dressings in oilseed rape from 1st December 2013, last autumn was the first opportunity to assess the impact of this decision on control of one of our major autumn oilseed rape pests, cabbage stem flea beetle (CSFB).


    Dr David Ellerton, Hutchinsons’ technical development director, summarises lessons learnt from surveys this season and suggests strategies to minimise the impact of the pest this coming autumn.


    The weather last autumn was very mild compared to the 30 year mean and September was particularly dry with an average of only around 10% of the mean monthly rainfall. This meant that many oilseed rape crops struggled to grow due to moisture stress and this, combined with high levels of flea beetle due to warm temperatures, meant that the risk of pest damage to oilseed rape was very high in many parts of the UK.


    Insecticide Resistance

    Despite increased use of pyrethroids applied for control of flea beetles, these were in many cases largely ineffective due to either overwhelming numbers of flea beetles or KDR resistance which had been identified as widespread in adults and larvae tested the previous autumn and spring and confirmed in adults tested last autumn.


    In some cases pymetrozine, applied mainly for peach potato aphid control may have had some effect. Eventually, in late September two further options became available – a label clearance for thiacloprid for use in the autumn and a 120 emergency clearance for acetamiprid. However in most cases this came too late for applications to save already seriously damaged crops.


    Initial estimates from an AHDB funded survey at the end of September estimated losses of 2.7% of the winter oilseed rape area in England and Scotland, equivalent to some 18,000 ha. However there was a significant variation between regions with the East and South East most affected and counties such as Herts, Cambs, Beds and Hants reporting up to 40% crop loss. In fact many crops were destroyed even before reaching the accepted threshold of waiting until ‘Adults have eaten over 25% of leaf area at the cotyledon to two true leaf growth stage or when adults have eaten over 50% of the leaf area at the 3–4 true leaf stage.’


    AHDB also concluded that crops drilled early up to mid-August, established quickly before dry weather set in and were often able to grow away from the pest while late drilled crops at the end of September were also often less affected as beetle migration had fallen by this time and rain fell soon after drilling. Most affected were crops sown at the traditional time of late August/early September which went into dry seedbeds at peak beetle migration.


    Impact Survey

    Hutchinsons’ staff carried out a survey amongst agronomists to gain a greater understanding of the impact of flea beetles this season. In total there were 97 agronomist respondents, covering an area representative of circa 15% of OSR grown in the UK - from Cornwall to Fife in Scotland - enabling a strong countrywide representation of the problem to be drawn.

    CSFB courtesy of Rothamsted.jpg
  8. llamedos

    llamedos New Member

    upload_2015-11-5_9-27-20.png

    Hungry for knowledge on how to increase the output and efficiency of their AD operations growers from across the country gathered at the recent Hutchinsons Energy Crop Technology Open Day at Great Livermere, by invitation of Strutt and Parker Farms.

    Assessing the performance of a range of new varieties with a particular focus on maturity and harvest date, Colin Button, Hutchinsons seed manager, pointed out that this year maturity has been difficult to predict with the effects of planting date and variable seeding rates, which were highlighted in the plots.


    “The range of development between the 15 varieties in the trial is really quite large. The earliest varieties showed good grain fill in the cobs with golden and firm grains, such as Pioneer’s P7892 and P7905.

    The trial clearly demonstrated the importance of selecting varieties best suited to not only the site, soil type, aspect and fertility but also the harvest date ideally required.”



    Harvest timing is critically important in order to prepare and leave soils in good condition for following crops noted Duncan Connabeer, Hutchinsons technical support manager.

    “Increasingly, AD operators are looking for quality from a variety in the shape of dry matter and starch. These factors effect gas yield and should be central to variety choice. “



    Guests from Agravis, a German company where the AD market is well established with over 8,000 AD plants, echoed this sentiment as German growers are increasingly looking at quality features of their maize varieties and earlier maturity in their variety choices.

    “Later maturing varieties will be good for sites and management systems that can cope with October or even November harvest dates and can be complimented with earlier varieties where the site and system require a different approach,” said Mr Joslowski, seed sales manager.



    Getting the crop off to a good start is crucial, emphasised Hutchinsons agronomist, Ed Stevens. “When faced with high numbers of weeds at cotyledon stage, early post emergence or pre-crop emergence bromoxynil and terbuthylazine have worked well. Where following crops are not a concern terbuthylazine and mesotrione continue to be popular active ingredients.”

    “A lesson from this season has been how reliant we are on crop competition for season-long weed control. Most crops needed a follow up spray this year as further flushes of weeds germinated on moist sunlit soil between the rows. Due to a cold spring, crops did not grow away quickly allowing weeds a longer window to develop.”

    A combination of active ingredients foramsulfuron, iodosulfuron-methylsodium and isoxadifen-ethyl as a post-emergence herbicide have given high levels of control of blackgrass but care must be taken to limit the exposure of populations to this active to minimise the chances of resistance developing. Continuing to rotate maize around the farm as part of an integrated cultural control programme is vital for all herbicides Mr Stevens stressed.



    “Maize is often referred to as ’the hungry crop’ pointed out Rob Jewers, fertiliser specialist at Hutchinsons, reminding growers nutrition that correct nutrition is key to the production of maximum yield and quality.

    “Our nutrition demonstration plots at Gt Livermere have given us an excellent opportunity to evaluate a wide range of nutritional inputs tailored specifically to maize. Maize nutrition begins in the seedbed and traditionally a starter fertiliser is incorporated at planting to encourage strong rooting and vigorous early growth. “

    “Phosphorous is particularly important at this stage and many of the seedbed products demonstrated in our plots contained Phosphate, and zinc, which is essential for early growth and photosynthesis,” he added.

    Also new for this year was a trial area to look at growing Maize under plastic, using different films with different varieties. With the cold spring early this year it was a good season to investigate this approach in the south, most commonly a tactic reserved for the colder north of the country.

    The results showed that a range of varieties grown under plastic in conjunction with Samco at the site developed two weeks ahead of the varieties in the open. Although they were drilled at the same time, the crop under plastic could have gone in two weeks earlier which would have moved harvest dates forward considerably.



    Technical manager at Hutchinsons, Dick Neale, demonstrated an investigation into row spacing questioning the conventional 750mm row spacings. 750mm rows were compared with 500mm rows and two plant populations 100,000 and 85,000 seeds/ha.

    Water with blue dye was infiltrated and holes dug to reveal that when planted at 500mm rows, the roots meet between the rows, fully utilising the soil moisture reserve and available nutrients while the 750mm rows left around 15% of the cropped area under-utilised by the roots.

    “One can see that the narrower rows are producing a larger cob yield,” said Mr Neale.

    Plants sampled from plots where seedbed fertiliser had been applied had visibly larger roots that held on to far more soil than the control plots suggesting better water and nutrition retention properties.

    All plots from the site have now been harvested and will undergo laboratory analysis which will be shared with clients in the following season.



    Anyone growing crops for AD will be interested to know of Hutchinsons Dry Matter Challenge which encourages growers to raise biogas yields and which will share best practice amongst the entrants. For more information visit www.hutchinsons.co.uk/drymatterchallenge2016


  9. llamedos

    llamedos New Member

    An introduction to Hutchinsons' cereal and oilseed rape crop variety demonstrations and trial work around the country this year.
    The open days for growers run from June through to early July


  10. llamedos

    llamedos New Member

  11. News

    News Staff Member

    Beware of another ‘perfect storm’ for BYDV

    Spring cereals across much of the UK could again be at high risk from Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) infection, leading agronomy firm Hutchinsons warns.

    Late drilling due to poor weather during March and April means many crops are much less advanced than normal, so could be more susceptible to winged aphid attack over coming weeks.

    Latest monitoring by AHDB and Rothamsted suggests aphid activity remains low, but field reports suggest aphids have started flying and the situation can quickly change, as many growers witnessed last year, Hutchinsons technical support manager Duncan Connabeer says.

    “Last spring was a perfect storm for BYDV, when a huge aphid flight coincided with the emergence of late-sown spring cereals. This resulted in significant BYDV symptoms in various regions, including places where it’s not normally an issue, such as parts of northern England, southern Scotland and the north Midlands.

    “This season could again play into the hands of aphids if we see numbers increase.”

    Although aphid-borne BYDV is typically less of a threat in northern parts of the UK compared with the south, Cumbria-based Hutchinsons agronomist Helen Brown says it was a problem in some crops last spring and she fears a repeat this year.

    “Aphid arrival tends to be much later in the north and last year we found it coincided with the emergence of spring cereals. The same could happen this year given the delays to drilling.”

    Miss Brown is leading research into possible varietal differences in BYDV incidence at the Hutchinsons Regional Technology Centre near Carlisle (see below).

    Evaluating risk

    Spring barley is most susceptible to aphids when plants are young, typically up to growth stage 31, after which time crops can usually outgrow infection.

    Early is therefore better than late if growers insist on treating crops with an aphicide, but Mr Connabeer warns that any spraying for aphids in spring is unlikely to be effective given rapid crop growth and repeated aphid flights.

    Rapid growth of spring barley can soon dilute active ingredients, which may also be broken down faster by high UV light levels, reducing their efficacy, he notes. Also, crops can often soon grow past the stage where virus causes any significant yield impact, despite visual symptoms being visible. This is unlike winter cereals where the yield impact from BYDV can be much greater.

    Hutchinsons trials at some sites last year showed multiple pyrethroid applications to spring cereals had no impact on visual crop yellowing caused by BYDV. Even in bad years such as 2017, there is limited evidence to show a significant yield impact from BYDV, and in many areas aphids are a threat growers and agronomists learn to live with.

    Mr Connabeer say effort is much better focussed on improving crop rooting and vigour through nutrition and disease control to boost growth quickly past the susceptible stage and mitigate any impact from the virus on final yield.

    Furthermore, issues with insecticide resistance in grain aphids (the main BYDV vector in eastern and northern areas) mean growers must be cautious if planning to use a pyrethroid, as spraying may be ineffective and could exacerbate the build-up of resistant populations.

    Longer-term, the use of integrated pest management is vital to manage BYDV risk. This includes:
    • Earlier drilling
    • Removing green bridges
    • Selecting more resistant varieties (see below).
    Growers are urged to monitor aphid risk by following the AHDB/ Rothamsted alerts (https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/monitoring/aphid-news.aspx)

    Exploring varietal differences

    Research at the Hutchinsons RTC near Carlisle is investigating whether crop colour at emergence has any impact on BYDV susceptibility, as aphids are naturally attracted to more yellow plants.

    The work follows on from trials at two other sites last year that suggested there could be significant differences in varietal susceptibility to BYDV.

    Visual infection of 23 barley varieties at sites in Cornwall and another further north was assessed through the season and each one given a resistance score, similar to the BYDV rating previously included on the Recommended List.

    This revealed a wide disparity between the best and worst varieties, with the lowest performer scoring four (equivalent to 60% infection) and the highest ranked nine (5% infection).

    “It’s only one year’s results from two sites, but I’m confident there will be varieties that are naturally resistant to BYDV by parentage, so we’re looking into this again this year,” says Mr Connabeer.

    This year’s research at Carlisle aims to better understand whether the differences are due to true varietal resistance, or a physical effect of crop colour, explains Miss Brown.

    Ten spring barley varieties are being assessed. Aphid traps within the plots are checked twice a week and physical characteristics, such as crop colour, stress, vigour at emergence, are also being recorded.

    “We want to identify whether there are any differences in the arrival of aphids into crops with different physical characteristics as well as see if last year’s varietal differences in tolerance/resistance are repeated.

    “Interestingly, we’ve just seen the first aphids arrive and they were in the most yellow variety.


    “Improving our knowledge of varietal differences will be vital if aphids and BYDV are more of an issue in this region in the future and chemical control options become even more limited,” she adds.


    Find out more about the research at the Carlisle RTC open day on 19 June. Go to http://www.hlhltd.co.uk or email bookings@hlhltd.co.uk
  12. News

    News Staff Member

    Managing the new water rules with Omnia

    From 2nd April 2018 all farmers in England have been required follow a new set of farming rules for water. Separate from cross compliance the rules will be regulated by the Environment Agency.


    There are eight rules of which five are about managing fertilisers and manures, and three about managing soils, says Farmacy agronomist Jim Woodward, who also sits on the River Stour Advisory Board.


    “The fertiliser rules require farmers to test their soils at least once every 5 years, then plan and apply their fertiliser or manure to improve soil nutrient levels and meet crop needs. They include details of minimum storage and spreading distances from water and require the farmer to assess the weather and soil conditions to reduce the risk of runoff and soil erosion.”


    “The three soil rules require farmers to manage livestock by protecting land within 5 metres of water and reducing livestock poaching.”

    Jim Woodward 1.jpg

    Mr Woodward believes that the new rules will not mean many fundamental changes for most farmers – but they are a wake-up call to ensure they can demonstrate that they are not exceeding their N-max and justify their practices, he says.


    “The new rules just formalise the whole process -making a plan and recording what has been done and why – and to this end many farmers will be looking at some form of decision recording.”


    With 14,000 free range hens, nitrate management is nothing new for Robert Webb of Leys Farm, Sudbury in Suffolk. “We grow winter and spring crops and have several water sources on the farm, so we have always been sensitive to how and when we apply our manure with regards to water quality and the new rules will not change our well-established practices.”

    Robert Webb.JPG

    However, with the requirement for a decision recording system we have started to use the Omnia system on the advice of our agronomist Jim Woodward.


    “Mapping our fields and entering water sources such as the pond and borehole, we have been able to generate accurate risk maps with the back-up justifications based on our bird numbers and manure volumes.”


    “Omnia is an easy way for us to access records when we need them. We will enter all of our soil sampling results as a map layer. Jim and I have discussed also generating a soil type layer on top of this, which will give us a better insight to what we are working with and justifications for our decisions.”


    “In this way its possible to accurately calculate how much inorganic fertilser is needed for optimum crop production – and only using it where needed will bring some cost savings.”


    PANEL


    Stephen Derbyshire, Catchment Advisor, Essex and Suffolk Water

    The new Farming Rules for Water are about standardising ‘best practice’. The great majority of farmers and landowners (particularly those in NVZ’s and assurance schemes) are already doing this and will see no real change to the how they currently work, but these new rules will ensure that all farmers do so and compete on a level playing field.

    Stephen Derbyshire.jpg

    Each year I run the Agrochemicals & Water workshop with Jim Woodward to illustrate how pesticides and fertilizers in fields can influence the water quality in your local rivers.


    A particular challenge for farming is diffuse pollution, small scale losses that together adversely affect the water quality of our rivers. Cleaner water reduces treatment costs and helps protect biodiversity, reducing soil erosion and runoff from pesticides, fertilisers and manures means fewer nutrients and other pollutants going into the water environment.


    Farmers and landowners have a key role to play in water quality protection and in doing so are helping us supply our customers with clean, clear water that tastes great!
  13. News

    News Staff Member

    Hutchinsons celebrates eight decades of service to UK agriculture at Cereals

    2018 is a milestone year for Hutchinsons, marking eight decades of service to UK agriculture as one of the country’s leading agronomy companies.

    Recognised as providing the highest standards of agronomic advice to farmers and growers, together with the range of high quality services and products that they require, Hutchinsons agronomists know that cutting edge advice backed by great service, all geared to your specific farm situation, is key.

    Good technical agronomy that brings about profitable and sustainable crop production is at the heart of the Hutchinsons business, and fundamental to this is the relationship between the agronomist and his farmer client says Ed Barnatt, Business Development Manager.

    “Being a good agronomist is not just about walking crops and making the right recommendations, my clients want me to be involved in all aspects of the farm so that decisions are made on a fully informed basis. After all it’s a team effort focussed on taking that particular farm business forward.”

    However, to do this, he recognises that the complexity of agronomic decision-making in today’s climate of tighter environmental regulations, climatic challenges and changing disease threats, makes it vital for an agronomist to have access to a wide range of technical expertise and information.

    “By being part of a leading national agronomy company, Hutchinsons agronomists are better placed to access this level of support, whilst still delivering the highest quality and most up-to-date technical advice to farming clients in today’s volatile environment,” he says.

    Hutchinsons brand new Omnia precision agronomy app “Connect’ will be launched at this year’s Cereals Event.

    Connect is a cost-effective solution that has been designed to simplify precision farming by connecting you to your machine to enable variable rate control. The iPad app allows you to seamlessly and instantly send variable application maps created in Omnia to the field, and also controls the spreader, sprayer or drill.



    “The advantage of this process is that it streamlines precision farming operations, giving you greater control and improving your efficiency,” says Oliver Wood, Hutchinsons Precision Technology Manager.

    What’s really significant and valuable about the app is that Connect is compatible with a wide range of machinery including Amazone, KRM, Kuhn, Vaderstad, Horsch, Mzuri, Sky, RDS and more.

    Soil Health Live!

    Hutchinsons Healthy Soils is the new and innovative service that measures and monitors soil health and will be a major focus at the Cereals Event. Healthy Soils Live! will see Hutchinsons Healthy Soils expert Dick Neale, below ground in his very own soil pit!

    With samples of different soils, vast numbers of worms and a spade, Dick Neale and his team of soil health experts will be available during the course of the Cereals event to talk through any questions or issue that you may have with your farm’s soil health, and how to manage it to improve crop production on your farm.

    Virtual Winter Wheat for the 2018 Cereals Challenge

    Teams from Nottingham University, Newcastle University, Harper Adams University, Writtle University College, Hartpury College and the Royal Agricultural University are all competing in this year’s Cereals Challenge to grow the best virtual plot of winter wheat on land that has a resistant black-grass challenge and is following a crop of oilseed rape leaving Clearfield volunteers to manage.

    Now in its 9th year, the Cereals Challenge aims to encourage a new generation of agronomists and farmers into the industry by offering them a ‘crop’ to manage and is organised jointly between by Hutchinsons and Velcourt.

    The winners of the Cereals Challenge will be announced and presented with a trophy, £1000 to share as well as £500 for their College, on the Hutchinsons stand at the 2018 Cereals Event at Chrishall Grange farm in Cambridge on Wednesday 13th June 2018.

    Follow the 2018 Cereals Challenge on Twitter #CerealsChallenge2018

    Delivery Notification & Isotrak – on display at Cereals

    At peak times of the cropping calendar knowing that an expected delivery has just been made can be extremely important.



    All delivery vehicles in the Hutchinsons fleet have been equipped with the Isotrak delivery notification system, which tracks their position by GPS and recognises when a vehicle arrives at an expected destination. It then sends a message to the designated recipient to say the delivery has arrived and is being offloaded at the farm.

    The GPS signal also shows the progress of each vehicle on the road, which can be used to give updated expected time-of-arrival for the vehicles on farm.
  14. News

    News Staff Member

    Trio of reasons why targeted T3 sprays maximise yield potential


    A well-timed T3 ear wash spray could hold the key to helping wheat crops fulfil yield potential in what has been a roller-coaster season for many.


    The T3 is the final fungicide most crops receive, so getting it right is vital to protect milling or feed crops from disease and build yield in the weeks to harvest, leading agronomy firm Hutchinsons says.


    The T3 serves three important roles which should be considered in any spray plans. These include controlling ear diseases such as fusarium, topping-up foliar disease control and extending green leaf retention (see below).


    Product choice should be tailored to these factors, but perhaps more important is spray timing, says Leicestershire/ Northants-based Hutchinsons agronomist Sally Morris, who believes T3 fungicides are sometimes applied too late, reducing their efficacy.

    Sally Morris.jpg

    “Some people wait until flowering is well underway before applying the T3, but it’s too late by then. Fungicides should be applied as soon as ears complete emergence and flowering is about to start.


    “Flowering is variety-specific, but tends to begin in the middle of the ear and spread outwards.”


    Extra vigilance is needed to monitor crops for the correct timing as many cereals have raced through growth stages in recent weeks as they make up for a slow start earlier this spring, she warns.


    “In this region, T3s are normally applied around the Cereals Event in the middle of June, but we’re seeing a real mix of growth stages this year, more than normal, so decisions must be made on a variety and field-by-field basis.”


    [X-head] Controlling ear diseases

    Where settled weather has allowed timely and effective T2 applications, the T3 can focus specifically on controlling ear diseases rather than topping-up flag leaf sprays, says Hutchinsons technical development director, Dr David Ellerton.

    Dr Dave Ellerton Wheat.jpg

    Fusarium and associated mycotoxins remain the priority, although disease development depends on weather during flowering, so asses the risks and tailor sprays accordingly, he advises.


    Fusarium species are favoured by warm, wet weather during flowering, so where this is likely, he recommends products based on prothioconazole, tebuconazole or metconazole.


    In contrast, cool, wet conditions promote Microdochium nivale, which although does not produce mycotoxins, can have a significant yield impact in bad years such as 2012, Dr Ellerton says. Prothioconazole is more effective than tebuconazole against Microdochium, he notes.


    Other ear diseases such as sooty moulds, mildew, yellow and brown rust and Septoria nodorum should be considered, although these are generally controlled by fusarium chemistry.


    Products based on phosphites applied at ear emergence have also been found to reduce DON production.


    [X-head] Top-up foliar disease control

    Although T2 fungicides (mostly based on SDHIs) have, or should, perform well given dry, settled weather around flag leaf emergence, T3s may still need to bolster foliar disease control, especially Septoria tritici, says Dr Ellerton.


    The need will be greatest in susceptible varieties, where earlier sprays have been compromised, and/or where unsettled weather increases disease pressure in coming weeks, he notes.


    “Where Septoria tritici has not been fully controlled at T2 ear sprays should concentrate on products containing epoxiconazole or prothioconazole.”


    Despite dry conditions during much of May, Miss Morris says Septoria and mildew are still present on lower leaves near the base of some crops, so disease pressure may increase with wet weather.


    “Likewise, if it remains warm and dry, brown rust could be a problem, in which case it may be worth including tebuconazole to target rust, alongside prothioconazole for fusarium.


    “This adds another active ingredient to programmes [for resistance management] and may be slightly more cost-effective than straight prothioconazole.”


    [X-head] Extend greening

    Finally, both agree there is value from including a strobilurin at T3 to help extend green leaf retention, especially as crops typically produce 60% of total biomass between flag leaf emergence and maturity.


    During grain filling there is a large redistribution of nitrogen within the crop as proteins are degraded and nitrogen is transferred from the canopy to form grain protein, a process which progressively slows photosynthesis.


    “Anything that keeps crops alive and green canopies working for longer, could make all the difference to yield by harvest,” says Miss Morris, who also recommends including magnesium with ear wash sprays where required.


    T3 advice

    • Apply at full ear emergence just before flowering starts
    • Ear disease priorities include: fusarium (warm & wet), microdochium (cool & wet), sooty moulds, yellow & brown rust, Septoria nodorum
    • Top-up foliar disease control (especially Septoria tritici)
    • Tailor treatments to disease risk, variety and earlier chemistry - maximum of two SDHIs or strobilurins per season
    • Consider strobilurins to boost green leaf area retention
    Begin AHDB mycotoxin risk assessment before applying T3 - https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/mycotoxins
  15. News

    News Staff Member

    cerealschallenge.png

    2018 Cereals Challenge draws to a close

    With the Cereals Event just around the corner, the 2018 Cereals Challenge is drawing to a close.

    Five teams from Universities and Colleges from across the country have grown a virtual crop of winter wheat in what must be one of the most challenging seasons since the Challenge was launched 9 years ago.


    Teams from Nottingham University, Newcastle University, Harper Adams University, Writtle University College, and the Royal Agricultural University were challenged with growing the best plot of winter wheat on land with a resistant black-grass challenge, following a crop of oilseed rape leaving Clearfield volunteers to manage.


    The virtual plots have meant that there was no geographical bias for teams closer to this year’s Cereals site at Crishall Grange Farm, Duxford, Cambridge. The wheat plots have still been grown and managed as if a real crop - from choosing which variety to grow, cultivation and drilling details through to making the real-time agronomy decisions on inputs, explains Paul Hobson of Hutchinsons.


    During the course of the season the teams were presented with crop updates via a video blog on the Hutchinsons facebook page. Starring Hutchinsons technical manager and soil health expert, Dick Neale and Velcourt’s technical director Keith Norman, the videos have reflected what a difficult season crops have faced, and for the teams this posed the key question of how they would manage to keep crops clean and standing whilst remaining cost-effective.


    Guy Stovin, team captain of the University of Newcastle team who is reading Agriculture with honours in Agronomy, believes that his team’s approach of not skimping on fungicides or PGR’s will prove invaluable.


    “Due to the bad weather, our crop had a delayed T0. Conditions were not much better as the crop approached the T1 so we decided to use an SDHI at T1 as well as at T2 which was not initially the plan. “


    “With so much disease around as T2’s are applied, I am glad that we went for a robust fungicide programme.”


    The team from the Royal Agricultural College led by Tania Coxon, also decided to include SDHI’s at T1 and T2 on their crop of Evolution, “although timings so far have not been as accurate as we would have liked.”


    The final task in this year’s Challenge involved writing a technical piece on Farm Diversification where land is no longer viable for profitable combinable cropping, that would be suitable for publication on a farming website. Diversification options such as wine making, mob grazing grass leys and building a reservoir have been offered up as alternatives.


    This will be judged separately by a representative of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists and has a separate prize of £400 per team and £100 for the College.


    PANEL

    Set up as a joint initiative between Hutchinsons and Velcourt to offer an insight into careers in agronomy or farm management, the Cereals Challenge has proved a success in its 9-year history with 8 students joining Hutchinsons successful Agronomy Foundation Training Programme, whilst Velcourt has taken on 6 students into its management training scheme, four of whom are now managing their own farms.


    The overall winners of the Cereals Challenge will be announced and presented with a trophy, £1000 to share as well as £500 for their College, on the Hutchinsons stand No 400 at the 2018 Cereals Event at Chrishall Grange farm in Cambridge on Wednesday 13th June 2018.


    Follow the 2018 Cereals Challenge on Twitter #CerealsChallenge2018 where you can meet the teams and find out which team will be the 2018 winner.
  16. News

    News Staff Member

    Timing is everything for T3 sprays


    As wheat ears emerge in crops across northern Britain, Hutchinsons emphasises the importance of accurately timing T3 sprays to protect yield potential of milling and feed crops in the run-up to harvest.

    Fusarium Ear Blight.JPG

    The season has been a roller-coaster for many, resulting in a wide range of growth stages that could make for trickier timing of the final fungicide most crops receive, Northumberland-based Hutchinsons agronomist Tom Whitfield says.


    The T3 ear wash spray serves three important roles which should be considered in any plans. These include controlling ear diseases such as fusarium, topping-up foliar disease control and extending green leaf retention (see below).


    Product choice should be tailored to these factors, but most important is spray timing, especially given the wide range of drilling dates and crop growth stages this season, Mr Whitfield says.


    “Many cereals have raced through growth stages in recent weeks as they make up for a slow start earlier this spring. The most forward crops were at full ear emergence in the first week of June, while more backward, later-sown crops were at early booting or had just received their main flag leaf (T2) spray.


    “Timing T3 sprays accurately will be key. Sometimes they are applied too late, when flowering is well underway, which reduces efficacy.


    “Fungicides should be applied as soon as ears complete emergence and flowering is about to start.”


    Flowering tends to start in the middle of the ear and spread outwards, but varies for different varieties.


    Mr Whitfield expects most T3 applications will be spread over the next fortnight or so, but stresses that decisions must be made on a variety and field-by-field basis.


    [X-head] Controlling ear diseases

    Where settled weather has allowed timely and effective T2 applications, the T3 can focus specifically on controlling ear diseases rather than topping-up flag leaf sprays, says Hutchinsons technical development director, Dr David Ellerton.


    Fusarium and associated mycotoxins remain the priority, although disease development depends on weather during flowering, so asses the risks and tailor sprays accordingly, he advises.


    Fusarium species are favoured by warm, wet weather during flowering, so where this is likely, he recommends products based on prothioconazole, tebuconazole or metconazole.


    In contrast, cool, wet conditions promote Microdochium nivale, which although does not produce mycotoxins, can have a significant yield impact in bad years such as 2012, Dr Ellerton says. Prothioconazole is more effective than tebuconazole against Microdochium, he notes.


    Other ear diseases such as sooty moulds, mildew, yellow rust and Septoria nodorum should be considered, although these are generally controlled by fusarium chemistry.


    Products based on phosphites applied at ear emergence have also been found to reduce DON production.


    [X-head] Top-up foliar disease control

    Although T2 fungicides (mostly based on SDHIs) have, or should, perform well given dry, settled weather around flag leaf emergence, T3s may still need to bolster foliar disease control, especially Septoria tritici, says Dr Ellerton.


    The need will be greatest in susceptible varieties, where earlier sprays have been compromised, and/or where unsettled weather increases disease pressure in coming weeks, he notes.


    “Where Septoria tritici has not been fully controlled at T2 ear sprays should concentrate on products containing epoxiconazole or prothioconazole.”


    Despite dry conditions during much of May, Mr Whitfield says Septoria is still present on lower leaves near the base of some crops, so disease pressure may increase with wet weather.


    [X-head] Extend greening

    Finally, both agree there is value from including a strobilurin at T3 to help extend green leaf retention, especially as crops typically produce 60% of total biomass between flag leaf emergence and maturity.


    During grain filling there is a large redistribution of nitrogen within the crop as proteins are degraded and nitrogen is transferred from the canopy to form grain protein, a process which progressively slows photosynthesis.


    Mr Whitfield says anything that keeps crops alive and green canopies working for longer, could make all the difference to yield by harvest. He also recommends including magnesium with ear wash sprays where required.


    [Panel] T3 advice

    • Apply at full ear emergence just before flowering starts
    • Ear disease priorities include: fusarium (warm & wet), microdochium (cool & wet), sooty moulds, yellow & brown rust, Septoria nodorum
    • Top-up foliar disease control (especially Septoria tritici)
    • Tailor treatments to disease risk, variety and earlier chemistry - maximum of two SDHIs or strobilurins per season
    • Consider strobilurins to boost green leaf area retention
    Begin AHDB mycotoxin risk assessment before applying T3 - https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/mycotoxins
  17. News

    News Staff Member

    2018 – what went wrong with black-grass control?

    With 2018 suddenly showing itself to be the worst year for black-grass seed return since 2012, some fields are at crisis point. However, it’s really important not to give up on cultural black-grass control approaches and to look at what went wrong and why, is the advice from Hutchinsons, Dick Neale.

    Black-grass levels ar surprisingly high this yearJPG.JPG

    For many it is no more or less than expected but for others it is a shocking realisation of what a few surviving plants seen in February can morph into come June- very frustrating when all the variable expenditure is in place and the prospect of spraying off is too much to bear, he says.


    Those who have implemented many of the learnings that have come out of our Black-grass Centre of Excellence at Brampton may be somewhat frustrated by a spike in surviving black-grass plants this year, but in the main continue to see significant progress being made in black-grass control across their farms.


    What is important however, is for individual growers to conduct an immediate post mortem and recognize what went wrong and why.


    “Ask was the wrong choice of cultivation made? Was the field returned to winter wheat too soon? Was it drilling a bit too early or missing out the pre-drilling glyphosate? Was there a delay in pre-em application?


    BOX

    2018 What went wrong with black-grass control

    • Underestimation of the multiplication of seed return from low head numbers in 2017
    • Failure to abandon 1st wheat aspirations after infected OSR or beans
    • Ploughing up dormant seed generates a protracted germination which dilutes residual performance
    • Failure to apply residuals at true pre-emergence timing
    • Over reliance on herbicide stacks in preference to cultural controls
    • Cherry picking the cultural control toolbox
    • Wet, cold spring favoured black-grass survival while compromising cash crop growth

    Tackling 2018

    Mr Neale urges growers to consider some key messages that were learnt from Brampton when approaching the next season.


    As a starting point he suggests zoning fields red for heavily infested fields or green where black-grass is minimal- amber is a red in denial!


    “In doing this, it is possible to identify the fields that require the most severe measures.”


    Have patience, he says. “Whilst growers will be keen to sow ex -OSR seedbeds first, it has been regularly observed these are amongst the last to see dormancy break.


    “An OSR or bean crop with significant black-grass seed return will almost inevitably lead to poor control in the a following 1st wheat. “


    “Balanced rotations have to be shelved in the short term in order to focus on the long term need for good black-grass control, and with this in mind, spring barley is the new winter wheat.”


    “For the very worst of infected fields, a plan of two spring barley’s or a 3-4-year grass ley are in reality, the only viable options. Our work at Brampton has established that whilst a spring wheat may be a viable crop with far less black-grass return than in winter wheat, it still returns seven times more seed than a spring barley crop – making it unviable as a long-term control solution.”


    He points out that other spring cropping options such as spring beans, sugar beet, linseed and peas are uncompetitive and limited with regards to chemical black-grass control options.


    “Ploughing down again will only bring up what was ploughed down previously, and extended dormancy makes the resulting population very difficult to manage. “


    “Disturb as little soil as possible at drilling, so ensure seedbeds are prepared at least two weeks prior to mid-October for winter wheat or winter bean sowings. “

    Remember, germination does not commence in significant numbers until mid-Sept, so leave seeds on the surface during August and September as if it is dry they will degrade in sunlight and be predated, if wet it will grow readily on the surface and be predated, he says.


    “Shallow tillage at 50mm will only move the very top layer of soil, thereby optimising the number of germinating seeds, but remember that too early a seed bed creation will result in too fine a seed bed for late October sowing or over wintering.”


    “If its moist on the surface a double rib rolling will have a significant impact on germination, often increasing it by 50%.”


    He adds that where possible leave the crop residue on top to protect the finer aggregate seedbed. If the straw is removed replace it with a catch or longer-term cover crop- use vetch/peas, linseed and phacelia pre-Cereals or oats, linseed and phacelia pre-pulses.


    “It’s also possible to use volunteer OSR as a catch crop until mid-September, adding in vetch and linseed.”

    Herbicide application technique

    Even after all the hard, cultural decisions have been made, application technique can be the weak link. Weather pressures and in modern sprayers, isolation from the business end of the machine and their sheer size means that forward speed increases are all too easy and comfortable for the operator while true boom height is easily misjudged.

    “Anything faster than 12kph and a boom higher than 50cm can see control reduce by as much as 15-20%.”

    He recognises another area of frustration is sprayer mis-application, dirty corners, auto on/off inaccuracies and under application through the sweeping corners and these only become worse as sprayer width increases.

    “The outer boom speed in a sweeping corner is twice as fast as with 36m as it was with 18m.”

    “It’s actually quite ironic that as the desire and the opportunity for precision application increases, the resolution at which it can be applied, or measured is diluted by ever increasing width.”

    After all this the basic fundamentals remain the same - if you have dry seed beds? Don’t drill, and if you can’t spray it, don’t drill it!
  18. News

    News Staff Member

    Achieving the most appropriate and effective desiccation in OSR

    When it comes to desiccation timing is critical. It is not just about ensuring a smooth and efficient harvest, it is also about maintaining the crop’s true yield potential, says Hutchinsons Neil Watson.

    “Desiccating too early not only curtails seed growth prematurely, it also adversely impacts the crop’s oil content. Finally, you also risk having a higher percentage of immature “red seed” within the sample, potentially leading to rejection if this exceeds 5% of the sample.”

    Mr Watson points out that It is not the pod colour but the seed colour that is the best indicator of maturity.

    “During periods of high temperatures, pod colour can often overestimate the crop’s maturity, from a sun burn/bleaching effect on the exposed upper canopy, whilst during periods of slow senescence it can underestimate the crop’s maturity.”

    When taking representative samples from the plant, choose areas of the field that are representative of the crop itself, he says.

    “In most crops, take pods from the main raceme primarily as most of the yield will come from here. In thin crops or where growth regulators have been used, a higher proportion of the yield is likely to come from the side branches, consequently, sampling needs to be adjusted to take this into account.”


    “If there is some minor variability in the crop’s maturity, target the timing to the more backward section of the field. If there are major variations in the field, the different parts of the field will need to be treated as separate fields and time the desiccant appropriately.”


    hutch.png
  19. News

    News Staff Member

    Optimise seed rates for higher yields


    Many cereal growers are not sowing at high enough seed rates, potentially jeopardising yield potential from the outset, according to Farmacy agronomist Andy Hutchison.


    All too often establishment and tillering ability is overestimated, which means plant populations, subsequent ear numbers and grain yield are lower than they should be. The problem is most acute for later drilled crops, but he believes all growers should review seed rates and establishment.


    “There’s more leeway for lower seed rates with September-sown wheat, as establishment typically averages around 85% and plants have more time to tiller. However, establishment falls to 60-65% by mid-October and maybe just 50% by November/December, with much less tillering capacity.”


    Indeed, most wheat only generates 1.8-2 tillers/plant on average, so seed rates must be high enough to reach the target plant population and ear number for maximum yield, he adds.


    For September drilling, that target is 150-200 established plants/m2, while October-sown wheat increases to 250-300/m2. “Work back from there, accounting for germination percentage and a realistic estimate of establishment to calculate the seed rate required.”

    Autumn drilling.JPG


    In-field variations in soil type, seedbed, topography and weed pressure can result in uneven establishment, which is where variable seed rate plans generated using precision farming system Omnia really help, he says.


    “Ten years of variable seed rate work shows average rate increases are 35-50% where necessary, so we’re not talking small adjustments. But crops and yield will be more consistent, with the greatest benefits on the most variable fields.”


    Mr Hutchison acknowledges thicker crops require careful disease and canopy management, but insists this is better than limiting yield from the start.


    Barley yields are also strongly determined by ear number, so higher seed rates may be needed. Mr Hutchison recommends at least 300-350 seeds/m2 for autumn sowing.


    “This is usually ok for conventional varieties, but cost and pack size can be prohibitive for hybrids. That makes it even more important to identify where the greatest benefits from increasing rates will be.”


    [Case study] Omnia helps Cambridgeshire grower improve consistency

    Two seasons of using Omnia to map and manage in-field soil variations has already had a noticeable benefit on crop consistency at Daniel White’s 260ha farm near Bottisham.


    Working with agronomist Andy Hutchison, soil analysis has been conducted over the whole farm, with results uploaded to Omnia to create soil zone maps used for variable rate seed and fertiliser applications.


    “Soil is predominantly medium loam over chalk, but we’ve got some heavier land and patches of black fen soil, so there’s quite a variation in some fields, which can have up to four different zones,” Mr White says.


    The seed rate for his mix of Group 1 and 2 wheats (including Skyfall, Crusoe, KWS Siskin and KWS Lili) is adjusted according to soil type and likely establishment, and typically varies from 300-450 seeds/m2.

    ipad seed plan.png


    “It’s our second year using variable seed rates and it has definitely made the established plant population more even across our fields,” Mr White says.


    “Once you’ve got good, even establishment, it helps take out the variability of managing the crop through the season.”


    He is similarly impressed with the variable rate spring phosphate and potash applications, also based on application maps prepared in Omnia and transferred via SD card to the Trimble 750 system on the tractor and KRM Bogballe spreader.


    “We used to blanket treat everything with 0-26-26, but now buy straight fertiliser products which are only applied where needed, based on soil sampling every four years and crop off take calculations each season.


    “It’s worked very efficiently and because our soil indices are generally quite high anyway, we’ve found the spreader switches off completely in some parts of the field where additional fertiliser isn’t needed.”


    Mr White adds: “I’ve found it quite straightforward to learn how to use Omnia and I’m very happy with the results.”
  20. News

    News Staff Member

    Exciting new appointment to boost Hutchinsons Precision Team


    Crop Production Specialists Hutchinsons have appointed Lewis McKerrow as Digital Farming Manager.


    Mr McKerrow will join Hutchinsons’ Precision and Field-based IT team to provide technical, IT and services support to the regional agronomy teams and their clients in Scotland and Northern England.


    As part of the Precision Farming team, Mr McKerrow will help to optimise the planning, development and implementation of Omnia Nutrition, Omnia Precision and Omnia Connect. He will be a key member of the IT Innovation Strategy Group to ensure that the future development of Hutchinsons Field Based IT Systems continues to lead the sector.

    Lewis McKerrow.jpg

    Mr McKerrow has a farm management background, followed by more than 10 years of experience as a successful agronomist. Since 2012 Mr McKerrow has led a precision technology team, with responsibility for precision farming initiatives including mapping, sampling, digital information delivery, weather stations, decision support and technology management throughout the arable, vegetable and fruit sectors.



    “It’s an exciting time to be joining such a dynamic, forward-thinking and innovative business as Hutchinsons and I am very much looking forward to being part of their technology team. My aim is to help develop the next generation of digital solutions, that will support and provide vital insight into the future of crop production for our clients and our agronomists. It is essential that such new technology delivers real value to both farmers and agronomists and ultimately ensures that our clients are able to farm more sustainably and profitably for the future.”



    “These are dynamic times for our industry, therefore planning for the future is challenging. The Hutchinsons business is fully committed to continued investment in the development of innovative but practical technologies, systems and crop management services for our growers and our agronomists. We are delighted that Lewis is joining us to help us develop and deliver this vision for the future,” says managing director, Andrew McShane.

Share This Page

Create your own directory listing