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Integrated Crop Management and New Technology (Borders)

21 November 2017

Jorin and Aidan Grimsdale of Mountfair Farming have seen a significant reduction in soil compaction following the introduction of controlled traffic farming in their arable fields. The business has been operating a non-inversion (no plough) cultivation system for almost 20 year to improve productivity and crop margin.

The advent of GPS technology and RTK controlled tractor self steer has enabled the cultivations, sowing and drilling to be completed using the same field tramlines year after year. Primary field tramlines are set at 36 metres for spraying and fertiliser applications during the growing season with crop establishment equipment operating at 6 or 12 metre. Wheelings left by the 12 metre combine and grain trailer are removed during cultivations by hydraulically controlled track eradicators.

Even crop establishment, improved soil water filtration, reduced cultivation depth and reduced fuel use are just some of the benefits being realised.

Soil specialist Bryan Griffiths talked about improving soil health and the practical steps farmers can take. Actions include analysing soil organic matter levels, worm counts and how to visually evaluate soil structure using the VESS guide.

With fewer pesticides available pest specialist Andy Evans recommended early ploughing of grassland to reduce food supplies for over wintering leather-jackets to reduce their impact on spring sown cereals. Milder winters mean greater aphid survival and an increase in barley yellow dwarf virus which is best prevented by a seed dressings.

Consultant Donald Dunbar highlighted an integrated approach to reducing the impact of cereal root disease Take-all with drilling date, rotation, nutrient supply and not just chemical seed dressing.

Attendees also got an update on greening cross compliance from consultant Moira Gallagher on how changes to EFA options can be used to benefit farm wildlife by providing the Big 3 for farmland birds. A safe nesting site, summer food and winter food and shelter.

Related Downloads
Pests Presentation, Andy Evans
Update on Slugs, Leatherjackets, BYDV and Pollen beetles
Take-All Presentation, Donald Dunbar
Greening Update Presentation, Moira Gallagher
Soil Health Presentation, Bryan Griffiths
Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) Score Chart
This is a downloadable copy of the Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS) score chart for use in-field.
Topics: Soils
Soil Sampling Protocol
Soil Quality
Assessing Soil Texture
Topics: Soils

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