Auto Trader Ltd
Farminguk
02 July 2016 | Online since 2003
Less co2 Limited


14 February 2014 01:57:05|

Nuffield Scholar to research direct drilling in extreme weather conditions


Cambridgeshire-based arable farmer Russ McKenzie has been selected as the next HGCA-sponsored Nuffield Scholar, researching direct drilling in extreme weather conditions.

Russ, 39, farms 750ha on predominantly heavy clay on the border between Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire, usually growing a rotation of wheat, OSR and spring beans. He grows seed on contract as well as soft and feed wheat, with varieties for harvest 2014 including Skyfall, Evolution, Santiago, Kielder, Cougar, Diego and Revelation.

For the next 18 months, Russ will be investigating the impact of extreme weather conditions on direct drilling. The research Russ carries out will prepare the way for other growers to meet the challenge of unpredictable and extreme weather.

Russ said: “In recent years, we have seen two extremes in weather patterns that have made establishment challenging, from either being too dry or too wet. My initial experience was that in dry years, where less soil was moved, establishment was better, as what moisture there was, would still be retained at drilling. However, in the wet season of last year it was more difficult to remove excess water.

“At this point I considered that, although conditions may be different in other countries, their extremes of weather would be more severe, and there must a way of coping with the swing from either very dry to very wet while having a reliable system of establishment.

“We’ve been looking at direct drilling or single pass establishment for a number of years. The dry years are easy; it’s the wet years where the question is – can you make the system work? Or are there mechanisms that allow you to utilise that system in a wet year.”

The scholarship includes an allowance for travel to see how growers meet these challenges in other parts of the world. “I’m hoping I’ll be able to come back and bring something to the business that will be a lot more flexible and more friendly with our soils,” Russ added.

“2011 was really dry and, where we used it, direct drilling paid off that year. Where we cultivated we had to wait for rain to get crops underway. In 2012, we direct drilled a quarter of our area and after a wet autumn some crops didn’t look their best. The trouble with direct drilling is that the crops can look a bit ropey through until about April compared to conventional techniques and this can be a bit of a psychological barrier. But by harvest last year the direct-drilled crops were among our best performing. So for us the crucial thing will be refining how we do direct drilling.

“What we’re up against now is not knowing quite what the season is going to throw at us.”

Download



0 Comment


Name

Please enter your name


Email

Comment

Please enter your comment


Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.


Comments

No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment


USA | 1 July 2016
100 Nobel Laureates urge Greenpeace to end GMO-bashing

A team of over 100 Nobel laureates have, in an open letter to Greenpeace, urged the environmental group to “cease and desist” its campaign against genetically modified crops and food. In the lette...


Australia | 1 July 2016
Farmers will not last longer than 12 months at current low milk price

There is no clear reason why Australia's largest dairy processor Murray Goulburn is paying farmers significantly less than its competitors this season, according to an industry consultant. Earlier ...


USA | 1 July 2016
US farmers surprise with bigger corn acres as prices slump

U.S. farmers planted more corn than they intended in March, sowing the third-highest crop since World War II and surprising analysts who had expected a decline. Prices fell to the lowest since April. ...


South Africa | 1 July 2016
SA unveils revised livestock export rules

The South African government has finally unveiled the new stringent livestock import requirements which include quarantine periods and pre-export health certification for all cattle, goats and sheep c...


Spain | 1 July 2016
Spanish government to invest €1.7m promoting dairy

The Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Interprofesional Láctea (INLAC) have begun the second phase of their promotional campaign, "Lacteos de aquí cada día", (local dairy e...



Trending Now

Viewed
Discussed

Farms and Land for sale

PropertyLocation
PropertyAgent
PropertyMinimumPrice
PropertyMaximumPrice
PropertyCategory

Holiday Rentals search

AccommodationKeyword
AccommodationType
AccommodationCounty
AccommodationStarRating


Top stories you may have missed
closeicon
Username
Password