Hutchinsons trials in Cumbria are showing how a low-cost way of undersowing maize with Italian ryegrass could have significant benefits for soil health.
The trials at the firm’s Smalmstown Farm demonstration site near Carlisle, kindly hosted by Mr & Mrs R Fisher, aim to find a cost-effective way of preventing the potential issues that can arise when bare maize stubbles are left over winter.
With rust and mildew about, the first beet fungicides are going on.
The open gardens went well and we had some lovely comments, although thanks must really go to the previous owners as we are only trying to maintain what they laid out.
In many things, timing is everything and, luckily for us, the moles that have since plagued us came after open gardens. We didn't see any last year – the garden flooded a couple of times so I think that kept numbers down – but now it is a bit like the Jasper Carrot sketch from many years ago – a good listen for those who've never heard it.
We're pleased to announce that our article on the value of an integrated approach amid higher disease pressure was the second most-read story on Agronomist & Arable Farmer's website in July.
The article focuses on the value of using a robust fungicide programme and selecting varieties with good resistance, sharing Helen Brown, Stewart MacIntyre and Bob Bulmer’s key insights from the Carlisle RTC event.
Carefully targeting cultivations and selecting more competitive varieties will help wheat growers maximise cultural black-grass control this autumn.
Trials at the Hutchinsons Mollington Regional Black-grass Centre, at CA & A Hall & Son's farm near Banbury, Oxfordshire, first reported in A&AF in June, are now showing there can be significant benefits to weed control from using well-timed, shallow cultivations and growing more competitive varieties.
But as fields begin to be cleared this harvest, Hutchinsons Technical Manager Dick Neale urges growers to be patient with cultivations to maximise their benefits.
With a focus on good soil health, herbicides, insecticides, biostimulants, fungicides, and nutrition, Hutchinsons’ second brassica demonstration day was held Old Leake, Boston, on July 11 in conjunction with the Allium & Brassica Centre.
The aim of the plots is to refine understanding of soil health, including exploring novel approaches for vegetable farming, such as strip-till and cover crops, explained Hutchinsons area business manager Will Sharpe.
“We plan to provide vegetable growers with a leading source of information on brassicas,” he said, pointing out that the trials field was very typical of the area, with similar soils being found around the horse-shoe area of south Lincolnshire and north Norfolk. “By setting up demonstration plots, people can see what works in these fields, and then make decisions on whether they might work at home for them.”
The value of using a robust fungicide programme and selecting varieties with good disease resistance has been clearly demonstrated in Hutchinsons trials near Carlisle.
Disease pressure at the firm’s Regional Technology Centre has been far higher than during the dry conditions of last spring, giving growers attending a recent open day the perfect opportunity to investigate which varieties best suit this region.