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  1. Winter wheat growers are being urged to get some nitrogen fertiliser on their crops as soon as possible to help tillers survive and encourage rooting after a very wet winter.

    Heavy rainfall has limited the root development of wheat plants, and will also have led to vital nutrients needed for early growth being leached away.

  2. Dick Neale blackgrass dormancyHigh rainfall as the 2019-20 season kicked off is causing headaches for weed control in autumn-drilled cropping. Paul Spackman seeks advice on how to manage the situation for cereals and oilseed rape.

    It is shaping up to be a tough spring for controlling weeds, as the legacy of the wet autumn and winter means many crops are at greater risk of yield losses if weeds are allowed to get established in the coming weeks.

    Significant areas were left uncropped in the wettest parts of the UK, resulting in more unplanned spring cropping on land that will take time and effort before it's ready for drilling.

  3. Sprayer_croppedA difficult autumn means that plant growth regulators (PGRs) are going to be a vital tool for many growers this spring, but using them to best effect requires tactical application.

    More commonly used to reduce the risk of lodging in lush crops, plant growth regulators are also a vital tool to aid root growth and manage tillering in cereal crops.

  4. Cam MurrayThe weather has continued to play havoc for Scottish cereals growers.

    After autumn rain halted drilling operations January delivered a country average of 209.5 mm, 135% of the 1961-1990 mean and the Foehn effect saw temperatures reach 18.7°C at Achfary, in December (a UK record), and 15.5°C on January 7.

    The result is now big differences in late drilled winter wheat and barley, and root structure could limit the capture of nutrients and needs to be the focus for Scottish arable farmers over the next few weeks.

  5. Andrew CromieVarious desiccation strategies were put to the test at Hutchinsons Fenland trials site, situated at A L Lee Farming Company's Friesland Farm, near Mildenhall in Suffolk last September.

    The work focussed on different timings and sequences of the two main chemical alternatives, Spotlight and Gozai, with and without flailing (see table below) in an 18ha field of Markies on black fen soil.

    Results across all treatments were better than expected, but agronomist Andrew Cromie stresses this was mainly due to conditions favouring desiccation. "Unusually, canopies were already starting to senesce by Sept, while warm, dry weather was ideal for chemistry to work quickly.

  6. Rob SaundersHealthy soil is fundamental to maintaining a good quality and profitable vineyard. Hutchinsons' Rob Saunders and Dick Neale highlight three key areas to focus on.


    Waterlogging is detrimental to any crop and vines are no exception. Saturated soil suffocates roots, reduces vigour, and can increase the risk of diseases such as downy mildew and botrytis. Wet soils are also slower to warm in spring and will hamper harvesting activity in autumn.

  7. Peter BrundellConsider varietal choice carefully and place seed orders early for Maize this spring is the advice from leading crop production specialists Hutchinsons.

    There are several factors that will affect the maize market this spring, making variety choice and early ordering of seed more important than ever, says Peter Brundle, national energy seed crops manager for Hutchinsons.

    With the shortage in winter cereals being drilled following the wet autumn, and a shortage of some spring cropping options, predictions are that the amount of maize grown will rise.

  8. David BouchCrop production specialists Hutchinsons are offering growers the opportunity to defer payment on seed purchased before 31 March 2020 for leading oilseed rape varieties LG Aurelia and Acacia.

    “Seed for these varieties purchased before the end of March this year will not have to be paid for until June 2021,” explains David Bouch, Hutchinsons seed manager.

  9. TerraMap-Closed-Gatefold-Leaflet-V5.1-copy-1024x784A new soil mapping service has the potential to deliver soil data at a level previously unseen. Geoff Ashcroft sought the views of growers and agronomists about the accuracy and capability of the system.

    Taking 800 data points per hectare, Hutchinsons TerraMap service appears to be revealing more about soil than any other sampling system which has gone before it.