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  1. Chris CooperThis month Chris Cooper and Rob Saunders, vine specialists in the Hutchinsons Horticultural Team, are making observations on the current status of the vine crop.

    Most vineyard owners and managers we see are very open to new ideas and motivated to take a “softer” approach to pest, disease and weed control. More growers are investing in cultivation machines to keep herbicide strips clear, using bio-film in establishing vineyards, and a plant-derived material as a contact weed control and to burn off the lower unwanted buds and investigating organic mulches and cover crops.

  2. David Bouch (2)Winter barley growers are spoilt for choice this autumn, with the largest range of varieties on the AHDB Recommended List for some years.

    Of the 24 varieties, there are a dozen two-rows, along with the largest range of hybrids ever recommended, with seven to choose from.

    Just four years ago, there was only one hybrid, Volume, on the list.

    For growers in the North, straw yield and earliness of maturity are as important as yield, while hybrids have proved popular in the East as farmers battle blackgrass.

    But what about the South...

  3. Darryl Shailes HLH. jpegIt has been an interesting and challenging spring and early summer, both in the fields and the garden.

    Despite the deluges of last week, the water isn't much higher than normal in the River Waveney and certainly not as high as it was in June 2016 when the Waveney Valley flooded, including the gardens at the Open Gardens event which, as I write this, is approaching rapidly.

  4. Brassica Demo dayFollowing the success of the first open day last year, Hutchinsons' Brassica Demonstration Site Day will be held at Bayholme Farm Old Leake, Boston, on 11th July in conjunction with the Allium & Brassica Centre, by kind permission of F Daubney & Sons.

    Visitors will have the opportunity to view how new near-market brassica-related herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides are performing and compare them with current commercial practise, explains Hutchinsons Vegetable Technical Support Peter Waldock.

  5. Oliver Wood with TerraMapA new soil nutrient scanning and mapping system, until now only available and in operation overseas, has been launched in the UK and is claimed to set a new standard for accuracy in precision agriculture.

    TerraMap uses gamma-ray detection technology that delivers resolutions of over 800 points/ha, providing high definition mapping of all common nutrient properties, pH, soil texture, organic matter and CEC as well as elevation and plant available water.

  6. Nick Strelczuk precision technology specialist for HutchinsonsThis month sees the launch by Hutchinsons of a new, highly accurate soil mapping service, TerraMap. It is said to revolutionise soil nutrient mapping in the UK, setting a new standard for accuracy in precision agriculture. TerraMap uses gamma-ray detection technology that delivers resolutions of over 800 points/hectare, providing high definition mapping of all common nutrient properties, pH, soil texture, organic matter and cation exchange capacity as well as elevation and plant available water.

  7. 1742019 12936The requirement for growers to be more transparent and to justify their practices will only increase, requiring resource and a new management approach – that was the core message from Hutchinsons Managing Director Andrew McShane to a group of visitors to the Hutchinsons Helix Project in June.

    The Helix Project is a farm-scale research project looking at how new technologies can improve farm productivity, profitability and efficiency, and is being hosted courtesy of Andrew and William Pitts at JW Pitts & Sons in Northamptonshire.

  8. Andrew Goodinson HSGrowers should not worry about the loss of metaldehyde from the slug control product armoury, says Herefordshire-based Hutchinsons agronomist Andrew Goodinson, as good quality ferric phosphate alternatives are as every bit as effective in trials and provide a better environmental footprint.

    Mr Goodinson highlights that ferric phosphate is a good insurance against OSR crop loss caused by poor establishment – ultimately it is about protecting plants that have been drilled into poor seedbed conditions and are at high risk from slug grazing, including crops that are showing flea-beetle damage.