The annual Hutchinsons Carlisle crop demonstration open day to be held at Midtown Farm, Kirkbampton, Carlisle on Tuesday 18th June, by kind permission of the Brown family, promises an exciting insight into how yields can be improved through variety selection, targeted agronomy and precision technology.
A host of demonstrations will hone in on four key topics; the latest winter wheat, barley and spring barley varieties, seed rate trials, the role of forage yield mapping and the newest precision farming tools from Hutchinsons.
“Variety choice is a major decision, but with the issues around fungicides and evolving disease resistance, there’s increasing focus on using genetics to ease crop management. This is an ideal chance to see how varieties perform under local conditions and soil type, and discuss all aspects of variety selection and markets,” says Hutchinsons agronomist, Helen Brown.
“We have run a tramline through the middle of the trials and turned the boom off on one side, whilst the other side has been treated with a farm standard programme- so a really good opportunity to see the varieties laid bare compared to their performance under standard farm input programmes.”
“We have also measured the biomass of the plots throughout the season and will be taking these to harvest, with a view to better understanding how biomass relates to final yield.”
Soil health issues such as drainage, pH, compaction and fertility can often be major causes of yield variations, but Miss Brown says there can be “quick wins” to address many common problems, which will be discussed at the open days.
“Our aim is always to resolve the issues and restore productivity of low-yielding areas, but we are also exploring ways farmers can maximise the environmental benefits from unproductive areas of land.”
Seed rate trials
“The impact of seed rate on crop performance, under certain conditions and for different varieties should not be underestimated,” says Miss Brown. “We have established these particular seed rate trials to allow us to look at the impact of seed rate on tillering, biomass, disease and final yield.”
“We will also be look at how conventional and hybrid barley performance is affected by seed rate, and what the best seed rate is for Laureate spring barley for our local soils and conditions.”
Forage Yield mapping – what can the data tell us
With more foragers in the area having the ability to yield map we will take a look at how farmers can use this technology to improve their productivity and how it fits into the Omnia system, explains Hutchinsons digital farming manager, Lewis McKerrow.
One of the challenges facing precision farming is the connectivity between data and machines, however we will demonstrate how easy it is to send plans from the office to the tractor without having to make a large investment in kit, using Omnia Connect.
Game-changing high definition soil scanning service TerraMap
Today’s precision farming requirements demand greater accuracy- and currently UK growers do not have access to a system that can provide this – until now.
At the Carlisle open day Hutchinsons will launch TerraMap which is a unique and exciting soil analysis system that sets a new standard for accuracy in precision agriculture, revolutionising the way in which soil nutrient analysis is currently undertaken in the UK.
Using gamma ray detection technology that delivers resolutions of over 800 points/ha, TerraMap soil analysis service provides the highest definition nutrient soil analysis, by measuring and mapping all common nutrient properties, pH, soil texture, organic matter and CEC as well as a range of other properties.
“We will discuss how TerraMap can be integrated into both arable situation and grassland systems, and the key nutritional benefits from having a farm mapped,” says Mr McKerrow.