Benchmarking, new technology, science and research are key themes running through this year’s CropTec seminar programme, which has been developed specifically to help UK arable farmers to be profitable in the increasingly dynamic, volatile and competitive world of global crop production.
Technical excellence is one of the keys to future-proofing any farm business, the need for which has been exacerbated by Brexit, according to Stephen Howe, The CropTec Show’s development director.
“Growers and their suppliers are, quite rightly, concerned about the run up to the UK leaving the EU in less than two years,” he said. “There are also concerns about the level and form of support payments once we are operating outside of the CAP.
“Whatever the future holds, CropTec’s seminar programme is designed to arm growers with the knowledge they need to make the right technical decisions to drive down production costs while increasing productivity.”
The CropTec Show opening presentation by Adama Agricultural Solutions UK Ltd
Opening Address: Understanding your Competitors
A snapshot of cereal and oilseed production costs and some constraints faced by the UK’s main competitors. Discover how benchmarking can help you modify your farming business to make it fit for the future.
Speaker: Jack Watts AHDB, lead analyst, AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds
Crop Breeding Sponsored by Bayer CropScience
Session Chair: Russell McKenzie, Cambridgeshire farmer and Nuffield Scholar
Variety recommendations: where to find the information you need?
How to navigate the minefield that is new variety selection? What are the critical factors? What information is available and where?
Speakers: John Purslow, Farmacy Norfolk (day1); Peter Riley, Farmacy Norfolk (day 2)
Selecting for margin, yield or quality?
Selecting varieties based on financial performance achieved under local conditions.
Jock Willmott, partner, Farming, Strutt & Parker
Breaking down resistance
Why resistance breaks down and how new technologies might provide the answer.
James Brown, project leader Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre
Session chair Russell McKenzie says:
“Selecting a variety of wheat used to be a straightforward process. Pick the highest yielding variety on the list and the rest took care of itself. Nowadays, it is a revolving door process and the speed of replacement is much quicker, but is performance better than before or are we running to stand still?
“This exciting session will explore if there is more to variety selection than the status quo, how to get the best margin and returns for varieties under local conditions and how new technologies can help growers pinpoint and avoid potential weaknesses in new varieties.”
Crop Establishment Sponsored by Horsch
Session Chair: Robert Lockhart, Staffordshire farmer and vice-chairman NFU Combinable Crops Board
Soil Health: The keystone of profitability
Looking after your soil’s health and biology is key to maintaining profitability.
Jacqueline Stroud, soil scientist, Rothamsted Research
What’s the drill for drill selection?
Our independent specialist provides technical answers for specific scenarios.
Philip Wright, Independent Consultant
Containing cultivation costs
Getting crops off to the best possible start while keeping an eye on costs.
Brian Barker, Suffolk arable farmer
Session chair Robert Lockhart says:
“This session highlights the importance of looking after and getting the best from farming’s most basic asset, soil. The higher our expectations of the soil, the more we must put back into it for sustainable production.
“Matching drills and cultivation to our soils, and the constraints they impose with regard to weed control, is difficult, especially as farming operations grow and take in different soils.
“Costs of establishment are always a concern to all. Balancing the theory with on farm practice is down to the skill of the farmer and operator, with an eye to work rates and timely establishment.”
Crop Nutrition Sponsored by Yara
Session Chair: Mark Tucker, head of marketing and agronomy, Yara UK
Nutrient management strategies
Long-term or short-term? Which is the best nutritional strategy?
Natalie Wood, country agronomist, Yara UK
Targeting phosphorus for yield and profit
Guidelines on best farm practice.
Roger Sylvester-Bradley, head of crop performance, ADAS
Measuring, managing and utilising nutritional data
Maximising nutritional value and cost savings from cover crops and organic materials.
Ian Matts, farms director and agronomist, Brixworth Farming
Session chair Mark Tucker says:
“The Crop Nutrition panel will outline and discuss the latest advances in soil fertility and guidelines on the best farm practices in soil management, in particular how to target phosphorus for yield and profit discussing how targeting can help you manage soils at Index 1 rather than Index 2.”
“Visitors to the nutrition seminar can expect to leave with up-to-date knowledge on how they can most effectively use nutrients to boost crop, efficiency, performance and yield, allowing them to assess which is the best nutritional strategy for their business for the long term and short term.”
Crop Protection Sponsored by Belchim Crop Protection
Session Chair: Guy Smith, Essex farmer and NFU vice-president
What’s in the pipeline?
Potential novel solutions for crop protection in the UK.
Emma Hamer, senior plant health adviser, NFU
Guidelines on nozzle selection, closed transfer systems and other ways to speed up spraying.
Tom Robinson, independent consultant
Pest and disease forecasting
Benefits of accurate monitoring and forecasting for pests and disease on field scale crops.
Francesca Salinari, R&D projects co-ordinator, Agrii
Session chair Guy Smith says:
“The challenges today’s farmers face to produce profitable crops don’t seem to diminish – loss of key actives, increasing pest, disease and weed resistance, climate change, political insecurity and burdensome legislation to name but a few.
“It’s always good to hear from the experts, and I look forward to finding out more about potential solutions in the pipeline, to help offset our dwindling pesticide armoury.
“We are sure to pick up some valuable tips from the application session, while developments in pest and disease forecasting can only be positive.”
The CropTec Show takes place at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, on Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30thNovember.
The event remains free for farmers and agronomists to attend, provided tickets are booked in advance.