Building yields will be thefocus of a free event for Borders cereal growers taking place at the Lodge,Carfraemill on Tuesday 13th January. The first of three being organised jointlyby Scotlands Rural College and industry body HGCA the one day workshop willconsider, pest and disease control, variety choice and management, in additionto reviewing the impact of world markets for grain and the new CAP regime fromEurope.
Weve put together a programmedesigned to help growers and their technical advisers drive arable businessesforward, says Gavin Dick, HGCA Regional Manager. The presentations are basedon the latest research and will be of real interest and practical use. Inaddition this year were featuring a presentation from a local farmer tostimulate debate on how to use this information on farm.
Disease management in cropsis becoming harder and in the morning session Neil Havis and Fiona Burnett fromSRUC will present the lessons learned in 2014 and the best strategies for thenew year.
Although generally good,yields in 2014 were compromised by disease pressure and we saw issues withfungicide resistance really start to bite, especially in wheat, says Fiona.So it is vital that 2015 management options use the best of what is available,and that they are used in the best possible way.
With the same pressures inmind SRUC expert Dr Steve Hoad will review the latest list of approved cerealvarieties and discuss the choices between varieties offering the highest yieldand those with the best natural disease resistance. From HGCA Paul Gosling willconsider the best ways to control weeds like Black Grass in the current climateand how to avoid problems in England spreading north of the Border.
Finally, before the freelunch, SRUCs Dr Andy Evans will add to the debate with the latest informationon Integrated Pest Management, which combines conventional and natural pestcontrols to best effect. Andy will highlight need to adhere to treatmentthresholds to avoid issues with resistance, consider unnecessary insecticideapplications, encouraging natural control of pests, and include a brief reviewof the pest issues in 2014, particularly in relation to the loss of theneonicotinoid seed treatments in oilseed rape.
The afternoon programmewill look at the crop option choices for farmers based on global markets, EUlegislation and local conditions. There will be keen interest in the review byJulian Bell of SRUC considering cereals prices around the world and the effectsof recent weather on the plans of farmers in the southern and northernhemisphere. Just as important will be his steer on the new CAP regime. Thecurrent uncertainty about interpreting the rules is making it hard for farmersto plan ahead.
Cover crops have been usedby farmers for generations for controlling disease, avoiding wed build up,improving soil structure and conserving water, says Gavin Dick of HGCA. Butthere are lots of different choices depending on the specific on-farmconditions and what benefits you want to achieve. A presentation by RobinWalker and David Lawson of SRUC will look at different cover crop options andthe decision making process to ensure they deliver real benefits to the farm.
The meeting will finishwith a talk by a local farmer who will outline his approach to getting morefrom his farms resources, including the detail on rotations and farmmanagement.
This event at Carfraemillon January 13th is one of three in the planned programme. The otherstake place at Perth Racecourse, Scone Palace Park on Thursday January 15thand at Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, Aberdeenshire on Tuesday 20thJanuary.