Regional Technology Centres

On show at 11 sites around the country during June and July were a host of demonstrations that honed in on four main topics, including the latest cereal and oilseed rape varieties, soil health, precision farming and the biological components of yield.

Every location featured treated and untreated comparisons of a wide range of new and existing varieties and provided a great opportunity to evaluate agronomic performance under local conditions and soil type.

Maximising Yields

Other areas examined practical ways to maximise yields, including examples of how our unique Omnia precision farming service can be used to identify long-term yield variations within fields to target agronomy more precisely and improve profitability.

Among the multiple functions within Omnia, we showed how it can be used to incorporate yield maps collected over several years with cost of production data to tailor management decisions within individual fields.

Soil health issues such as drainage, pH, compaction and fertility are often major causes of yield variations, but Mr Bulmer says there can be “quick wins” to address many common problems, which were 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.”

There was also a chance to hear how plant and ear numbers can be manipulated to improve yields, drawing on our latest research from the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) project.

Detailed information on crop development (such as plant and tiller counts), disease resistance and plant and soil nutrient levels had been collected at various sites and was explained at the demonstrations.

Grain and tissue analysis is another area being used to build a picture of crop/ soil health, so look out for some interesting findings from our own analyses within YEN.