Farmers across East Anglia have a valuable opportunity to catch up with some of the most innovative agronomy in the arable sector at Agrovista’s new regional trials site near Framlingham, Suffolk this summer.
The effect of different cultivation techniques on wheat variety performance and soil health are among several ground-breaking trials that will be on show at Kettleburgh Lodge Farm, on 1st and 2nd July, in partnership with machinery specialist and host farmer P Tuckwell Ltd.
Visitors will be able to examine a host of other work, including new chemistry to help control blackgrass, the changing landscape of fungicides and bioscience inputs as well as an in-depth comparison of existing and new wheat varieties.
“Some of this work is really at the forefront of our thinking and is aimed at helping us to become much more tailored and site specific,” says Agrovista technical manager Mark Hemmant.
“It is a fascinating journey and is currently throwing up as many questions as it answers, so there will be lots for growers to see and discuss.”
One flagship project is the wheat variety/cultivation trial, which aims to discover whether varieties perform differently under low till or more intensive cultivation.
Four wheat varieties have been established either direct drilled with a John Deere 750a or cultivated using a combination of Vaderstad TopDown/Ferox cultivator/CrossKill rolls before drilling with a Vaderstad Rapid.
The varieties include one fast- and one slow-developing variety and the two of the highest yielding Group 4 varieties, including Sartorial, a robust new offering from Agrovista that has already proved itself across a range of establishment regimes and sites.
“We’ve seen differences in uniformity of emergence, with some varieties more affected by low till than others, and the same is true of spring growth,” says Mark.
These trials have been overlaid with a range of fungicide and PGR inputs as well as various biostimulants to tease out any differences and help fine tune recommendations for different systems and sites.
New soil husbandry trials will assess the effect of five different cultivation systems on soil health, ranging from ploughing to direct drilling. Several soil health parameters are being measured on the 150x30m plots to assess the impact of the different strategies on physical, chemical and biological properties of the soil.
“We are trying to put some real science behind this to see how soils might change under these systems, which could have a significant effect on best practice in the future,” says Mark.
“It will take several years to see the full effects, but we saw big differences in plant establishment last autumn, mainly related to soil moisture, and further changes this spring.”
Agrovista is also assessing various options and mixtures of established and new chemistry to control black-grass. “These are turning out to be two excellent trials,” says Mark. “We are picking up some very interesting differences and some of the novel active ingredients are looking very good.”
New chemistry is also under test in the wheat fungicide trials, alongside various commercial programmes. Alternatives to active ingredients that are about to be withdrawn, such as chlorothalonil, are also being examined.
The wheat screening trial features 23 key varieties, including those within Agrovista’s extensive portfolio.
The site, hosted by Tuckwell Farms, is at Kettleburgh Lodge Farm, Framlingham IP13 9RY. The open days, which will include static displays of machinery from P Tuckwell Ltd including kit used in the trials, take place on 1st and 2nd July between 09.30 and 16.30. All growers are welcome to attend.
Framlingham regional trials site
Open days 1st and 2nd July
- Wheat establishment trials
- Soil husbandry trials
- Black-grass chemistry
- Cover crops advice
- Wheat fungicide and bioscience programmes
- Wheat variety trials