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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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EPISODE 15 – JULY 2021

Regenerative agriculture – fad or the future?

Regenerative agriculture seems to be the buzzword of the moment, but whether it can or will be the mainstay of food production remains to be seen. In this episode of Crop it Like it’s Hot – regenerative agriculture – fad or the future?, Alice Dyer explores what is fuelling this green revolution in farming.

With an esteemed panel of guests, including a soil scientist and two of the UK’s pioneering farmers of regen ag, listeners can get to grips with the science behind ‘good’ soil biology, get pointers for making changes to their farming systems and take lessons from the organic sector.


Crop it Like it’s Hot EXTRA: IPM, Resistance Management and the future of weed control in the UK

Join a team of growers, agronomists and the BASF team bringing a new mode of action to life. Giving new hope to those battling black-grass in the UK.

Many feel they are finally moving the needle with black-grass, but the as ryegrass and other resistant weeds begin to rear their ugly heads it’s time to discuss long term solutions to sustainable weed management. This is especially important with the backdrop of government rhetoric around IPM and the very real issue of resistance management. The team discuss how the industry can use IPM and new chemistry to fight the good fight against problematic weeds.

EPISODE 14 – JUNE 2021

Fitting fruit and veg into the arable rotation

The UK currently produces just 18% of its fruit and 55% of its vegetables according the NFU, and self-sufficiency for both fruit and veg and potatoes has declined 16% in the past 20 years. But has Brexit, the Covid pandemic, a greater focus on homegrown produce and agroecological farming created greater opportunities?

In this episode of Crop it Like it’s Hot, Alice Dyer explores if we really do need to be producing more fruit and veg, how production can slot into the arable rotation using practices such as agroforestry, and what lessons the arable sector could take from the fresh produce industry.

EPISODE 13 – MAY 2021

How can arable farmers be more resilient to adverse weather?

Weather is possibly the biggest challenge out there for farmers, and just in the last few years we have seen one of the hottest summers on record in 2018, one of the mildest and wettest winters in 2019, and two exceptionally dry springs in a row.

In this episode of Crop it Like It’s Hot, Alice Dyer finds out how weather patterns are changing, what this means for the crops we grow, and how we as farmers can be more resilient to the changing climate by improving soil health and using data to farm better.

EPISODE 12 – April 2021

Let’s talk crop nutrition

With improvements in fertiliser efficiency an ambition for both economic and environmental reasons, the latest episode of Crop It Like It’s Hot covers crop nutrition from all bases. Frontier’s Edward Downing offers practical tips to consider for boosting nitrogen use efficiency, while Leicestershire farmer, Michael Parker talks us through how he is tweaking his approach to crop nutrition to reduce the need for pesticides and get better returns.

Yara’s Mark Tucker gives an update on the latest innovations coming forward in the fertiliser sector, while AIC’s Jane Salter explains how regulations are likely to look as we move forward into a carbon zero future following the advent of the Clean Air Strategy, the consultation on urea and the new Sustainable Farming Incentive.

EPISODE 11 – March 2021

Gene edited crops – quick fix or sustainable solution?

Defra’s public consultation on gene editing means the UK may be on the brink of having access to plant breeding technology that could revolutionise farming. However, if regulations for gene editing are relaxed, there will be many hurdles for the industry to overcome. Foremost is whether consumers are willing to eat gene-edited food, but there are also concerns over the impact on biodiversity and whether farmers will have even less access to genetic diversity. The technology undoubtedly presents opportunities too, including crops with better weather resilience, higher yields or improved resistance to diseases. In this episode of Crop It Like It’s Hot, Alice Dyer gets all of your questions answered on what gene editing could really mean for the arable sector.

EPISODE 10 – February 2021

Paving a career path in arable farming

Agriculture is a notoriously difficult industry to get started in, particularly if you aren’t from a farming background, but there are many ways you can ‘be your own boss’ in the arable sector.

In this episode of Crop It Like It’s Hot – pathing a career path in arable farming – we hear the inspiring stories of four self-made young people who have forged their own careers in the world of arable regardless of their background. From taking on farm tenancies while working full time, setting up a contracting business from scratch, becoming a highly qualified agronomist or having a complete career change after serving in the army, this episode covers it all.


Building business resilience during uncertain times

Changes to the subsidy system, Brexit uncertainty and price volatility are just a few of the current and future challenges arable farmers face. In this episode of Crop It Like It’s Hot – Building business resilience during uncertain times – Arable Farming journalist, Alice Dyer hears from three experts about how to take a step back and assess the performance of your business. She finds out the key drivers of a high performing arable farm; and where savings can likely be made, from making changes to farm machinery, utilising Government grants, and cutting crop inputs to finetune cost of production.


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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