YEN 2017 Competition winners - farmer profiles

Cereal YEN 2017

 

 

Donald Ross

 

Best % of potential yield

Best Field Yield

Gold

Silver

Sponsor

AHDB

Location

Ross-shire

Variety   

Vicount

Proportion of yield potential

Yield

83% of 17.8 t/ha

14.8 t/ha

 

Donald farms 35 miles north of Inverness in Easter Ross on a 700 acre mixed arable farm.   The farm is split with 350 acres cropping  (Spring barley, Winter wheat, Oilseed Rape, and Oats plus 30-50 acres rented for seed potatoes), suckler cows and sheep. 

The livestock enterprises include 100 suckler cows with all progeny finished on feed barley and OSR pellets and a small flock of 250 commercial ewes.  In addition Donald has 8 let cottages and a biomass boiler. Donald is Chairman of the Specialist Malting Barley Co-op Highland Grain and a Director of independent agronomists Scottish Agronomy.The farm is in excellent heart says Donald, attributing the excellent soil fertility to having a continuous supply of muck from the livestock enterprises.  He has mapped his soils since 1999 and has worked to improve soil health over the years.   

This year he got a good start with a warm dry autumn where the plants got away well and put down roots. The spring was open,  fertiliser was applied early allowing the wheat to be fed ‘little and often’ through the growing season. A split dose of Moddus at T0 and T1 definitely helped as he noted the control area was noticeably poorer. A warmer than normal spring, dry weather at flowering and a sunny dry May helped with yield potential. Low disease pressure and proactive use of fungicides against Septoria at T0 and Eyespot at T1 also contributed to the positive result. Lastly Donald thinks that cutting the wheat when ripe rather than leaving it and a fair bit of luck secured him the winning crop. 

 

 

 

Edward Vipond

 

Best % of potential yield

Silver

Sponsor

Syngenta

Location

Northumberland

Variety   

Dickens

Proportion of yield potential

Yield

77% of 16.0 t/ha

12.38 t/ha

 

Neil farms in partnership with his father and brother a total of 1,200 hectares split between own land,  tenanted land and in a contract farming arrangement.  His rotation includes Group 3/4 wheat , winter oilseed rape , 6 row winter barley, vining peas and he also rents land for potatoes and carrots.  In addition to the cropping Neil keeps 120  Aberdeen Angus suckler cows on farm with followers,  and has some land in the HLS scheme.  Neil’s strategy is to push for high yields with 85% of his wheat first wheat and using mintill after all break crops for establishment.  Neil ploughs before winter barley and root crops.  Careful use of farmyard manure, compost and break crop residues helps to improve field organic matter, P and K and soil structure .   Soil mapping, yield mapping on combine with tracks, and using GPS on tractors/ challengers  for accuracy all contributed to his  positive results.  

 Most crops have to be dried and cut with average MC of between 16-19%  in a normal year and about 3 weeks behind farmers in the south.  Neil thinks that the daylight  has really helped push higher yields in the North East this year.

Neil attributes his winning crop to good establishment and early drilling, T0 Spray, N and S liquid fertiliser, plenty of PGR and trace elements and lastly crop walking and attention to detail.  

Neil is keen to try and set a farm bench mark and is open to discussion with like-minded farmers.   

 

 

Edward Vipond

 

Best Field Yield

Bronze

Sponsor

BASF

Location

Suffolk

Variety   

KWS Santiago

Proportion of yield potential

Yield

69% of 20.9 t/ha

14.6 t/ha

 

Edward farm’s 1,215ha in hand covering 15 miles with variable soil types ranging from Breckland sand to heavy clay. Edward’s rotation included wheat, oilseed rape, spring beans, sugar beet, combining rye, forage rye & forage maize.

Edward attributes his high yields to high ear numbers that managed to fill in spite of very dry conditions this year . The fungicide approach used was to split the conventional T1 & T2 timings with an intermediary spray (T1.5) to control foliar disease that either could be seen by the human eye or not.

 

Oilseed YEN 2017

 

 

Martin Smart

 

Best Field Yield

Best % of potential Yield

Gold

Gold

Sponsor

CF Fertilisers

Location

Wiltshire

Variety   

SY Hanass

Proportion of yield potential

Yield

72% of 9.0 t/ha

6.4 t/ha

 

Wiltshire farmer Martin Smart grows around 240 hectares of oilseed rape a year, as part of his 1,200ha arable rotation on land ranging from heavy clay to free draining brash.

As well as his own farming operations, Martin operates an on-farm trials programme for other farmers and agronomists to evaluate crop varieties. His YEN crop was grown alongside this extensive on-farm variety trials site.

Martin’s aim was to quickly develop strong healthy plants, with roots that can get down to pick up whatever water and nutrients are available - along with having a big canopy to capture all available light, and turn it into yield. Martin achieves this by ensuring good nutrient supply in the spring and keeping the crop greener for longer.

Tackling black-grass in oilseed rape is also a priority, especially on the farm’s heavier soils. Volunteer cereals and broadleaved weeds are targeted to reduce early competition, with treatments and timing tailored to individual field pressures. Drilling at 12.5 cm row width Martin’s experience has suggested that more open plant spacing can improve spray targeting of exposed grassweed seedlings with autumn treatments.

“Reviewing the efficiency levels achieved with the YEN crop has been really valuable in thinking about how we manage all the OSR across the farm,” says Martin. “It’s certainly a process that we would look to repeat, possibly on a field on heavier soil that will see how we are performing across the range.”

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