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The Crop it Like it’s Hot Podcast

The podcast is a collaboration between Arable Farming magazine and The CropTec Show, hosted by Alice Dyer, journalist by day, farmer by night. Whether you’re thinking of trying a new system, concerned about crop protection or you just want to know what’s going on in your neighbour’s fields, we’re going to cover it all over the next few months.

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Growing a resilient rotation

It has been a difficult few years for oilseed rape growers, with many finally throwing in the towel for 2021. Particularly for those on heavy land, they now face the conundrum of finding a replacement break crop to fit into their rotation.

In this episode of Crop It Like It’s Hot – Growing a resilient rotation, Arable Farming journalist, Alice Dyer explores what other options are out there, what is driving crop rotation decision making on-farm and what emerging markets could growers tap into.


Using biology in the fight against crop pests

Some would argue that growers have been using integrated pest management (IPM) in crop production for centuries, but with less chemical solutions readily available, increasing issues with resistance and mounting political and consumer pressure, there has never been a greater need for farmers to reduce their reliance on chemistry.

In this episode of Crop It Like It’s Hot, IPM – using biology in the fight against crop pests – Alice looks at how swapping some of that chemistry for biology could help to reduce pests numbers. This includes plant-based solutions with findings from the ASSIST project which looks at encouraging beneficial insects into crops, and crop mixtures – the practice of growing two crops side-by-side to deter pests and aid establishment.

Alice also hears how developments in biological control products used by our colleagues in the horticulture sector are likely to have a place in arable production moving forward, as well as the risks associated with relying on Mother Nature and dropping insecticides completely.


Introducing livestock into your arable rotation

Livestock were once commonplace on many farms, but over the years as businesses have specialised into one sector, many arable enterprises have lost the power of the golden hoof.

Many growers are now reconsidering animals as a useful tool to widen rotations, improve soil health and spread the cost of cover crops.

In this episode of Crop it Like it’s Hot – Introducing livestock into your arable rotation, Alice hears about the many options available to growers from short-term leys to utilising cover crops.

Offering a farmer’s perspective, Callum Weir, farm manager at the National Trust’s organic Wimpole Estate in Cambridgeshire discusses how herbal leys have improved soil health and weed burden, while spreading cost and boosting lamb finishing rates, and new entrant Suffolk sheep farmer, Robert Spink explains how he is teaming up with local arable farmers in the area.

Taking a closer look at cover crops and soil health, Conor Campbell, agronomist at Hutchinsons offers advise on getting the best from grazed cover crops and lessons he has learned along the way, while beef and sheep consultant Dr Liz Genever, explains how to team up with other farmers in your area.


Getting to grips with carbon capture and trading in arable systems

With Government setting a legal target for the whole of the UK to be carbon neutral by 2050, the task ahead may seem daunting.

In this episode, Alice finds out how arable enterprises can prosper from the situation through carbon trading and the production of value-added commodities. She also talks about the small but practical steps arable farmers can take now to start the move towards a carbon-neutral future.

Soil-based farming consultant, Neil Fuller and director of farms at Newcastle University farms, James Standen outline where they see opportunities for carbon neutral crops and why the conversation needs to start now.

And offering more practical tips on how to cut carbon on your own farm, ADAS’ Dr Daniel Kindred and Yara’s Dr Mark Tucker talk all things fertilisers, cultivations and why going for gold when it comes to yields could have a much more positive effect on a crop’s carbon footprint than scrimping on inputs.


Replacing chemistry with biology and the role of biostimulants

Alice Dyer explores how certain products could have an important place in the future of crop production and protection. With recent law changes to biostimulant regulations, Murray Smedley of the European Biostimulant Industry Council explains how this is helping to remove the potential for manufacturers making false claims. Offering an insight into products in practice, agro-ecological farmer, Tim Parton, whose system focusses on regenerative agriculture techniques discusses how since introducing biostimulants to his system eight years ago, he has broken yield plateaus, abolished chemical fungicides and disease bills now average £40/hectare.

For the more conventional arable farmer, bioagronomist, Jamie Stotzka of Frontier explains why such products could still have an important place in crop establishment and disease control, alongside chemistry. Supporting these claims, Newcastle University’s Prof Robert Edwards discusses the results of three years’ worth of independent farmer-led trials data, which shows how biological products could be the first thing growers reach for to combat cereal disease control in the future.


Everything you need to know about marketing your grain this season

It has been a season that many arable farmers would like to forget, and with less crops in the ground than most would hope and some rocky global markets, grain marketing this harvest will be more key than ever. Offering both a UK and global outlook, James Webster, senior analyst at AHDB Cereals and Oilseeds, tells us what being at import parity is likely to mean for UK wheat prices going forward and CRM’s Peter Collier outlines potential export markets for barley and countries we could be looking to export to post-Brexit.

Rupert Somerscales, senior analyst at ODA, gives his top tips on how to market your grain this season and tactics growers should be taking to ensure the best price. With growers set to be potentially holding on to grain for longer post-harvest, Ken Black of Bayer’s pest control team, highlights the importance of getting your grain stores harvest ready to ensure every grain is protected.

EPISODE 2 – MAY 2020

The future for sustainable arable weed management in the UK

Alice hears from the experts at Rothamsted Research and NIAB, including trials manager, Will Smith, who discusses new research into mechanical control methods, and some important insights relating to drilling dates and weed control.

Rothamsted weed scientist, Dr David Comont, sets the scene by updating us on the latest resistance figures for the UK, following the concerning news last year that glyphosate insensitivity has been found in some black-grass plants. Dr Jonathan Storkey, Rothamsted ecologist, tells us why it is so important to understand not just chemistry, but biology when it comes to weed control and the importance of integrated control practices, while Laura Crook gives the lowdown on an app that can be used to monitor weeds on your farm.


No-till: The good, the bad and the not so ugly

The first episode is for those considering or using no-till techniques. Guests Philip Wright from Wright Resolutions and Paul Davey, a farmer managing 440ha of arable land across five farms in north Lincolnshire. They discuss what to expect, both good and bad, and provide some thought-provoking insights into the no-till experience.


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