The annual Hutchinsons Carlisle crop demonstration open day promises a fascinating insight into how yields can be improved through variety selection, targeted agronomy and precision technology.
The event is being held at Midtown Farm, Kikbampton, on Tuesday June 18, by kind permission of the Brown Family.
Demostrations will cover 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" said Hutchinsons agronomist, Helen Brown.
“We have run a tramline through the middle of the trials and turned the boom off on one side, while the other side has been treated with a farm standard programme, so it's 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."
Soll health issues such as drainage, pH, compaction and fertility can often be major causes of yield variations, but Helen says there can be "quick wins" to address many common problems, which will be discussed at the open day.
"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," she added.
"The impact of seed rate on crop performance, under certain conditions and for different varieties should not
"We have established these seed rate trials to allow us to look at the impact of seed rate on tillering, biomass, disease and final yield.
"We will also 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 local conditions.
Lewis McKerrow, Hutchinsons digital farming manager, said: "With more foragers in the area having the ability to yield map, we will look at how farmers can use this technology to improve their productivity and how it fits
into the Omnia system."
Hutchinsons will launch TerraMap at the open day. Using gamma ray detection technology that delivers resolutions of more than 800 points per hectare, this soil analysis service provides the highest definition nutrient soil analysis by measuring and mapping all common nutrient properties, pH, soil texture organic matter and a range of other properties.