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Farmer Innovation Groups (FIGS) testing yield enhancing ideas on farm

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Fifty farmers, agronomists, researchers and industry participants met to discuss their YEN Yield Testing project following the annual YEN Awards Meeting in Harrogate in November. All those present are interested in testing yield enhancing ideas on farm, with funding from EIP-agri.

Farmer Innovation Groups (FIGS) testing yield enhancing ideas on farm

Since the start of the project in spring, YEN entrants formed three Farmer Innovation Groups (FIGs) focussing on 1) Amino Acids, 2) Spring Potash and 3) Canopy Longevity.  Farmer participants in these groups all designed and performed tramline trials to test the effect of particular treatments on yield. Growers gained an understanding of how their treatment performed on their own farm, and benefited by comparing their results with other farmers. ADAS helped in laying out the trials and analysing the yield data, using their new Agronomics methodology which accounts for underlying spatial variation in the field. These FIGs will continue into 2019, and new FIGs are being set up in 2019 to investigate three more topics: Oilseed Rape Cross Drilling, Crop Momentum and Deep Rooting.  

New Farmer Innovation Groups in 2019

Oilseed Rape Cross Drilling FIG 

The Oilseed Rape cross drilling work is aiming to test the benefit of optimised plant spacing. Three farmers have drilled an area of their field in both directions, with 50% of the seed rate in one direction and 50% of the seed rate in the other direction. Tom Bennett and Catriona Walker of University of Leeds are part of this group and will be measuring the impact on branching.

Crop Momentum FIG

The Crop Momentum group is testing the hypothesis that high yields are associated with “high attention to detail”. Crops will receive lots of small applications of nutrients and other inputs throughout the season. Growers are choosing their applications from an agreed “Momentum Monthly Menu” such that crop growth is supported throughout the season.

Deep Rooting FIG

Whilst accepting that development of deeper rooted crops must be a long term strategy, this group has set up comparisons of treatments such as use of organic manures that should encourage numbers and activity of deep-burrowing worms.

Anyone who is interested in joining a FIG (there are still spaces for 2019) can find more information on the YEN website and can contact the organisers at yen@adas.co.uk             

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