Omex has expanded its worldwide research and development hubs with a new 5ha dedicated field trial site at an established research facility at Heckington in Lincolnshire.
The site was contracted to OMEX in 2019 with upwards of 300 farmers and agronomists expected to visit and see its own winter wheat and spring oat replicated trial plots, as well as on-going AHDB RB209 trials. With COVID19 restrictions in place since the start, it will be June this year before smaller groups can start attending the site for the first time.
The site also has polytunnels that are being set up to run large scale horticultural (soft fruit) trials, and a 30 person meeting room on site can be used to host conferences and demonstrations.
The replicated winter wheat trials are looking specifically at nitrogen timings, efficacy and efficiency; reduced rate applications; foliar nutrition – especially manganese and magnesium – and the impact that urease and nitrification inhibitors can have on reducing carbon footprints. Further demonstration trials are designed to give visitors a good visual representation of the effects of different inputs on a range of crops.
Omex technical director David Booty says, the drought prone non-irrigated sandy loam soil at the site was deliberately selected because it is not a flagship winter wheat growing area, and is therefore perfect for generating meaningful data that growers from all over the country can relate to and benefit from.
“Not much information or meaningful data is available on optimum nitrogen applications with spring cropping, so Omex will be investing significant resources in how to make more efficient use of nitrogen in the early season, before potentially adverse weather hits.”
Omex already has a dedicated research and development operation at its Kings Lynn Saddlebow site where more than 100 glasshouse/controlled environment cabinet and replicated trials (50:50 lab/field split) are managed. This is in addition to a number of farmer field scale trials, which produce a unique set of data in real growing situations.
“Having a dedicated trial site at Heckington too will generate even more scientifically validated data to further enhance product development and our range of environmentally friendly products,” says Mr Booty. “As more vital crop protection products are withdrawn and the available armoury is further depleted Omex is at the cutting edge of finding complimentary products as part of an effective ICM programme.
“For example, Omex is investigating how adding silicon to fungicide mixtures can improve plant health, by making them more robust and less prone to disease.”