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  1. Dick NealeThe importance of good soil health cannot be overstated, but the key is to achieve it. Strip seeding pioneer Jeff Claydon, who farms in Suffolk and designed the Claydon Opti-Till System, explains how.

    In my last article for Direct Driller I mentioned briefly the importance of good soil health in producing high-yielding, profitable crops and here l want to consider the subject in greater detail as it is critical to maximise the benefits of strip seeding. Soil health is a fascinating subject, as many of the 100-plus farmers who attended the Claydon open days at our factory and farm in Suffolk in May found out from leading experts.

  2. Harper Adams - Cereals Challenge WinnersA team of Harper Adams University students has won Hutchinsons’ 2019 Cereals Challenge. Runner up Newcastle University won the company’s separate Environmental Challenge. The Royal Agricultural University was third.

    Five colleges – Harper, Newcastle, Riseholme College, the Royal and Writtle University College – competed to grow the best virtual crop of spring barley while managing problematic blackgrass.

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

    There are now 2,900 hectares under vines in the UK, three times what there was in 2000. An estimated 3 million more vines have been planted this year. Good weed control in the first year is a prerequisite to successful establishment – herbicide options are limited so don’t overlook the use of biodegradable film mulch, which can be laid after planting.

  4. Harper Adams - Cereals Challenge WinnersHarper Adams University have won the 2019 Cereals Challenge by growing the best virtual crop of spring barley to manage problematic black-grass. Newcastle University took second place and also won the separate Environmental Challenge.

    The winning team from Harper Adams University made up of Dan Hawes, George Atkey, Danny Richardson and Tom Kirby were presented with the prestigious Cereals Challenge trophy and £1000 prize money to share, plus an additional £500 for the College, by David Hutchinson, Hutchinsons chairman and Matt Cobbald of Velcourt, at an awards ceremony on the first day of the Cereals Event. 

  5. TerraMap - SoilOptix Passive SensorHIGH resolution soil scanning based on gamma-ray detection technology will deliver 'game-changing' soil mapping, according to agronomy business Hutchinsons, which has launched a new service to growers.

    TerraMap delivers resolutions of more than 800 points per hectare, compared to typically eight data points/ha using hectare grid sampling, providing high definition mapping of all common nutrients, pH, soil organic matter and cation exchange capacity (CEC), as well as elevation and plant available water.

  6. Old Leake Brassica Open Day - Farm BusinessFollowing the success of the first open day last year, Hutchinsons’ Brassica Demonstration Site day will be held at Bayholme Farm Old Leake, Boston, on July 11 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 practice, explains Hutchinsons vegetable technical support Peter Waldock.

  7. Helen Brown - Thumbnail CropwatchJust as we were starting to shout for rain up in Cumbria, our usual weather patterns returned. We have now had a few very wet weeks, causing some quick growth in all crops, and are hoping the rain knows how to stop again.

    Winter cereals are now all out in ear and the last of the T3 fungicides are being applied in winter wheat.

    In general, winter wheat and barley are looking well and the gates are being shut until harvest time.

  8. 1262019-Beet-Yield-Winner-Left-to-Right-Darryl-Shailes-of-Hutchinsons-with-Mark Means is the winner of the second British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) Beet Yield Challenge, managing to deliver a winning yield of 109.7t/ha, achieving 97% of crop potential in what was a very challenging year. 

    The impressive yield was achieved in a season that saw crops being drilled later than usual followed by a summer drought.

  9. Oliver Wood with TerraMapPrecision technology is improving all the time - but does that mean it's getting easier to use, or are we moving further away from the plug and play aspirations of the ISOBUS standard?

    It was a commendable target - to create an industry standard with which all manufacturers would comply, meaning that any brand of tractor would work with any other implement. But has ISOBUS really delivered? The answer, it seems, could come straight off a school report: Could do better.