The FAS Lanarkshire crops trials open evening was recently held at Drumalbin farm. In a marked change from last years weather sunglasses and sunscreen were the order of the day rather than umberellas.
After a welcome and introduction from SRUC Professor, Fiona Burnett, Julian Bell gave an overview of the world grain market explaining that world stocks are expected to be at a 5 year low which by the laws of supply and demand will help to drive prices up. Whilst this gives cause for optimism for the arable farmer, the mixed farmers in the audience had less to be optimistic about. With the price of animal feed to be on the rise, drought conditions and less grain, this all points to straw being in short supply and prices expected to be higher than last winter.
The group then went into the field to the trial plots where Steve Hoad talked through the variety trials for winter wheat, winter barley and spring barley.
Fiona Burnett gave a talk on fungicide and how effective different programmes have been. Martin Richards talked through a trial on annual meadowgrass control at different timings and rates. The key to this was applying a pre or peri-emergence chemical to give the best control.
Jennifer Brown gave an overview of the cover crop options which looked well despite of the dry weather. The mixes on show would be eligible for use as EFA as well as helping to improve soil condition.
Finally Neil spoke about IPM and the promising effect of elicitors in crop protection trials. This prompted some good discussion from the group now that there are commercially available elicitors and some farmers are hoping to use them next season. Neil also explained the shift in the population of Ramularia with increasing resistance meaning control can now only be achieved with Cholothalonil..
More information on the evening and the varieties can be found below.
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