Regional Technology Centres

Regional Technology Centres

On show around the country during June and July will be a host of demonstrations that hone 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 features treated and untreated comparisons of a wide range of new and existing varieties, providing a great opportunity to evaluate agronomic performance under local conditions and soil type, says trials manager Bob Bulmer.

“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 in your area and discuss all aspects of variety selection and markets with Farmacy specialists.”

Maximising Yields

Other areas will examine 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 will show 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 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.”

There will also be 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 has been collected at various sites and will be 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.

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