Cereals Challenge Task Details

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Task 5 - Environmental Challenge

This challenge is being judged by Matt Ward (Hutchinsons) and The Wildlife Game & Conservation Trust and has a separate prize of £400 for the winning team and £100 for the University or College they represent.

Deadline for this task is 31st May.


Using the features that currently exist around the edges of the fields, what we’d like you to do for this task is:

  1. Identify what features from the Arable Offer you suggest are the most suitable to use – taking into account the growers wishes.
  2. Where you would site them to meet the scheme requirements
  3. The size/scale of the features you would introduce when meeting the scheme requirement
  4. Provide a suitable written justification for the approach you have taken and why you believe the farm would benefit from the enhanced environmental features you’ve chosen to adopt.

To help we have provided you with the following:


Task 4:

There’s lots of really useful information Matt Cobbald shares in the video - watch it and glean the key information and advice that he provides, including…

  • What’s happening in-crop at the moment – dependent on when your crop was drilled and it’s stage of development
  • Key considerations to make for your approach to disease management in the crop…which then drives your fungicide programme selections
  • Problem diseases that your treatment choices need to address – and your views on how to preserve fungicide performance if we lose key active ingredients in the future.

Ensure you know what the challenges are Matt wants you to answer, and gather all the details he’s shared in the video.

Task 3 Update!:

The Teams are already focussed on how they will manage weeds within their Spring Barley and also how to use PGR’s to manipulate the crop to produce a robust plant architecture to maximise yield.

But things have just got a little more complicated in Cereals Challenge Task 3 – with some “new invaders” developing in spring barley crops over the past week or so.

Dick has been looking in to local crops of spring barley that are now at 1-2 true leaves and made some interesting observations – just as an agronomist would be doing as they walk their clients crops.

  • Listen to the description and detail that Dick Neale provides (in the video below) about these new crop details and decide:
  • How you will approach handling the control of these early germinating spring wild oats?
  • What changes (if any) will you make to herbicide treatments/input programme, now that you know there are large flushes of spring oats appearing in your crop?
  • Will the presence of a few aphids arriving in the crop require treatment or will you adopt a different approach – what will that be?


Your closing date for submission of Task 3 with the new information and decisions to advise upon remains as 5th April.


Task 3:

  • Manage weeds within their Spring Barley to ensure they do not compete with the crop and damage yield or reduce grain quality, and
  • Use PGR’s to manipulate the crop to produce a robust plant architecture that will maximise yield.
  • Listen to the description and detail that Dick Neale provides (in the video below) about the crop and the current circumstances, and decide:
  1. how you will use PGR’s (and perhaps other inputs?) to manipulate this crop
  2. how you will approach the management of weeds within your crop, and what treatments you would make if you decide to do anything further around black grass management
  3. how you would advise the sprayer operator to set up his sprayer for best coverage/crop penetration for herbicide treatments (think about nozzle choice, water volume, forward speed etc)
  • The period of time to consider for your spring barley crop with these inputs is from now (early emergence) through to when the use of PGR’s is no longer possible – which is typically around early stem extension for chlormequat based products and up to flag leaf for other materials.

Your closing date for submission of Task 3 is 5th April