The Scottish Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) group held its inaugural meeting this month in Kinross, a central point for group members whose business locations range from the Borders to the Shetland Islands.
Donald Ross, vice-chair of the group, from Rhynie Farm, Tain in Ross-shire, said: “We are a group of farmers who have all entered crops in the ADAS YEN competition and are all keen to learn from one another and share ideas.”
The group has been largely self-formed with the AHDB facilitating and funding it. Sarah Kendall, ADAS crop physiology consultant, who attended the meeting said: “Due to the location of some YEN meetings, this Scottish group will provide an opportunity for YEN growers to meet up. It will also enable those involved in the network to come to Scottish YEN meetings, transfer knowledge and findings to help make a real difference on farm.”
With many crops have large unfulfilled potential for growth and yield formation, the YEN aims to encourage anyone who is trying to decrease the gap between current and potential yields.
Mr Ross explained: “Average UK wheat yield is 8t/ha whist the potential yield is 18-20t/ha. Even the best producers are struggling to realise 60 per cent of that potential. We as individual growers, and now as a group, are looking at how to minimise the gap between the actual yield and the potential.”
All YEN registered crops are analysed in terms of light and water capture and growth and yield components. Results are set against benchmarks to help growers determine causes of yield shortfalls.
Mr Ross said: “I would encourage other growers to take part in the YEN; the information I get is just pure gold, enabling me to make small changes to increase my yield.” This year Mr Ross received an overall silver award for achieving 98 per cent of his potential yield in a crop of winter wheat.
Spring barley is of particular interest to the new Scottish group and Mark McCallum, St Martins, Black Isle said: “Going forward it would be great to see quality as well as yield recognised, as this is very important for malting varieties.”
Last year, Scottish growers won four awards in the overall winter wheat and barley competitions and three awards for innovation, including Innovator of the year for Jamie Leslie, Scholland Farm, Shetland, so it seems fair to say that this group are already realising their potential.