Online updates from Hutchinsons agronomy trials goes LIVE

Hutchinsons’ Fieldwise LIVE initiative ensures growers are not missing out on the latest research, expert advice and crop reports directly from the Regional Technology Centres (RTCs) around the country from Alnwick to Cornwall, the Helix farms in Northamptonshire and Suffolk, plus the Lincolnshire Brassica demonstration and the Fenland Potato site.

From now as the first reports come in, through the remainder of the season, Hutchinsons agronomists will be posting regular updates on the dedicated Fieldwise LIVE section of the Hutchinsons website.

Variety and disease insight

Variety comparisons take centre stage at many RTCs, allowing growers to see first-hand which new and established cereal and oilseed varieties perform best in the climate, soil types and growing conditions unique to specific areas.

Agronomists are monitoring crop development, disease pressure, lodging and final grain quality, with a view to each variety’s suitability for local, or national end markets.

In Yorkshire, David Stead’s April video update focusses on the latest yellow rust situation in the Group 4 winter wheat Shabras. Although rated 7 for yellow rust on the AHDB Recommended List, he says the disease was a concern in some crops earlier in the season.

“We found yellow rust in Shabras before we applied the T0 fungicide about four weeks ago, but it [the T0]did a really good job, so we’re now in a protectant situation going into the Growth Stage 32 T1 spray.”

Richard Watkins reports in his April update that crops in the Ludlow variety trial generally look well going into the important GS 32 (T1) fungicide timing, with little sign of new disease given dry weather through much of March and April.

“Despite quite a lot of reports about rust elsewhere in the region, none of the varieties in this trial are showing any yet, but there is a bit of Septoria on old leaves at the base of crops, so the focus of T1 sprays is on Septoria control.”

 

 

New approaches to yield optimisation

The Helix national development farm is a different concept and aims to develop new technologies and knowledge to facilitate better advice and ultimately increase efficiency, productivity and profitability for growers. This year, the regional Helix East demonstration farm is being launched in mid-Suffolk.

At the National Helix site in Northamptonshire, dose response trials of different nitrogen, sulphur, phosphate and potassium products are being trialled in hybrid and conventional winter wheat.

Meanwhile, at Helix East in mid-Suffolk, Hutchinsons trials and technical manager Bob Bulmer and crop nutrition specialist Rob Jewers are examining how to optimise yield in spring barley.

“The key to yield in spring barley is ear number, because it doesn’t have much capacity to set a lot of grains per ear,” Dr Bulmer says.

With that in mind, some plots were direct drilled with a Weaving GD in early April at a range of seed rates; 300, 400 and 500 seeds/m2, to see how this affects plant count, biomass development and final yield.

Further trials work is investigating ways to improve phosphate use efficiency, which is typically just 10% in spring barley, well below the 60% for nitrogen.

“We’re also looking at using soil bacteria to improve rooting and thereby increase phosphate uptake during establishment.”

Fieldwise LIVE video updates will also showcase:

  • Technologies such as the use of climate systems that can enhance planning of input applications.
  • NDVI imagery for better monitoring and variable rate inputs, plus ongoing development of Terramap – the remote soil mapping system.
  • Hybrid wheat development and the use of yield and cost of production mapping to improve field profitability are also amongst the many other projects.

 

 

[Box] Get involved with Fieldwise LIVE

Videos from Hutchinsons’ trials sites will be posted on the dedicated Fieldwise LIVE section of the revamped website www.hlhltd.co.uk at regular intervals throughout the remainder of this season.

Viewers can follow crop development and listen to the best advice on how to manage them, from our leading technical experts and agronomists.

There will also be regular updates on the Hutchinsons Twitter (@Hutchinsons_Ag) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/HLHutchinsons/) pages.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.