As well as the many new pieces of kit on display at LAMMA 2017, experts were on hand to discuss the latest arable news.
A foliar phosphite used to stimulate root development in oilseed rape has been developed for use in sugar beet with early trials said to show promising yield advantages.
Beet Raiser contains phosphorus in the form of phosphite, plus nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium, boron, molybdenum and zinc.
ILex Envirosciences sales manager, John Allen, said: “We tried it on sugar beet with fantastic results. Four farms trialled it and all yielded over 90t/ha at lifting
Untreated beet, lifted in September, yielded 65t/ha said Mr Allen. More trials are planned this year.
Kathryn Laverack, marketing and sales support manager at iLex, said: “With phosphites there is growing awareness of their effect on rooting and maximising utilisation of what is in the soil. A solid root base sets the crop up.”
Crops treated with foliar phosphite also tend to be more uniform, according to ilex.
The company recommends applying no more than 3 litres/ha of Beet Raiser over the growing season either in two applications at 4-6 true leaves and 14-21 days later or in a single application at 6-8 true leaves.
It is said to have excellent tank mix compatibility, allowing incorporation into a standard spray programme. Cost is less than £20/ha, according to ilex.
The maximum residue level (MRL) of insecticide, deltamethrin, commonly used to treat stored grain, has been reduced from two parts per million (ppm) to 1ppm with effect from May, 7, 2017.
However, Bayer, which markets deltamethrin-based K-Obiol, said its product is already within the new MRL.
Dave Ross, Bayer global market segment manager, said: “Deltamethrin-based K-Obiol from Bayer is one of relatively few products that can be applied directly to grain. With regard to this change, the product is already well within the newly prescribed MRL limits, meaning application rates will stay the same.”
Premium Crops launched its 2017/2018 production contracts for high erucic acid (HEAR) winter rapeseed production at Lamma, offering a £35/tonne premium over 00 winter oilseed rape.
At a 00 price of £330/t, HEAR delivers a gross margin of just over £950/ha compared with about £860/ha for 00 rapeseed, according to the company.
Chris Spedding, commercial director for Premium Crops, said: “Managing risk is a key element of our new HEAR contract. Our HEAR contracts operate on a pool system that delivers value and takes away the pricing risk that growers face in a volatile commodity market.
“An option for harvest movement into store and a regular monthly cheque also provides Premium Crops HEAR growers with a regular cash flow, avoids having to sell at harvest, which is usually when prices are lower and optimises their use of on-farm storage.”
Irrespective of the temptation to reduce input costs amid low commodity prices, Yara warned of the risks associated with cutting back on phosphate and potash application, a cost cutting exercise sometimes referred to as a ‘P and K holiday’.
Yara agronomist Natalie Wood said: “Such decisions are valid, providing the ‘cut back’ doesn’t expose productivity to higher risks and longer term sustainability issues.
“But Long term soil statistics clearly show how cutting back on P and K negatively affects our soils and puts future yields as risk.”
Having skipped P and K application in the past, Worcestershire farmer, Gary Williams, knows all too well the time it takes to restore soil nutrient levels.
He said: “Following on from the poor crop yields we experienced in 2016, I decided to skip P and K application on 150 acre block of barley the following season, partly because previous yields were poor and so offtake wasn’t massive but also because of financial pressures.
“I got away with it in the first year with barley averaging similar to long-term averages. But it took three years to get the nutrient levels back up to where they started and in that time I definitely suffered a yield hit which I suspect had a greater financial impact than the saving I made in fertiliser.”
Where growers have not replenished soils with P and K for a whole season, Mrs Wood advised growers to opt for a spring NPKS strategy whereby nitrogen, phosphate, potassium and sulphur are applied together at rates that can be tailored to meet individual objectives.
See also: Boost yields with spring P and K
She said: “If you’re just concerned with in-year crop performance, then applying a minimum amount to address current nutrient demand would be the best solution.
“If you want to safeguard all future harvests then you’ll need a longer term nutrient replenishment strategy.”