Anglia Farmer - July 2024

Page 1

Anglia Farmer




Caution over early autumn drilling

Safety & security

Tips for busy harvest period


Welcome relief from early cut silage

Professional Services

Planning boost for diversification

Fen Tiger

How to keep ramblers on the right track


Richard Hellyer Farm Manager on a 700ha heavy clay farm at Hatley St George, Bedfordshire

labour and fuel costs. The Triton has allowed us to drop spring drilled crops from the rotation. The Triton drill has exceeded our expectations with a dramatic reduction in costs and with wheats averaging 11tha which is higher than we were getting from our previous heavy cultivation and plough system. It is true to say that the Triton will drill clay effectively in virtually any conditions and gives the confidence to drill wheat later to reduce black grass.

We purchased the Triton 6m drill in 2021 to replace heavy cultivations and reduce labour and fuel costs. The Triton has allowed us to maximise our winter wheat acreage and drop spring drilled crops from the rotation. The Triton drill has exceeded our expectations with a dramatic reduction in costs and with wheats averaging 11tha which is higher than we were getting from our previous heavy cultivation and plough system. It is true to say that the Triton will drill clay effectively in virtually any conditions and gives the confidence to drill wheat later to reduce black grass.

labour and fuel costs. The Triton has allowed us to drop drilled from the rotation. The Triton exceeded expectations with dramatic reduction in costs and with averaging which is were previous heavy cultivation system. It is true that Triton will drill clay effectively in virtually any conditions and the drill wheat later reduce grass.

Twin hold roll pin blade removal system and backward leaning air borne upper blade for trash lift and ease of trash flow

backward leaning air borne upper blade for trash lift and ease of trash flow

Twin hold roll pin blade removal system and backward leaning air borne upper blade for trash lift and ease of trash flow

Seed depth tail 40mm deep holding the seed at correct depth and placing seed on either side of seed terrace

Seed depth tail 40mm deep holding the seed at correct depth and placing seed on either side of seed terrace

Seed depth tail 40mm deep holding the seed at correct depth and placing seed on either side of seed terrace

Next Generation Patented Drilling Blades

Next Generation Patented Drilling Blades

Next Generation Patented Drilling Blades

Triton launched its unique deep soil engagement direct drill in 2018 to give plough based yields from direct drilling. Six years later we are

Triton than from ploughed trials on our own land. The Triton is the only all weather seed

whilst reducing blackgrass from late drilling. A number of other manufacturers are now SOIL

Triton launched its unique deep soil engagement direct drill in 2018 to give plough based yields from direct drilling. Six years later we are consistently achieving higher yields from the Triton than from ploughed trials on our own land. The Triton is the only all weather seed drill on the market that gives the flexibility to grow maximum profit autumn sown crops whilst reducing blackgrass from late drilling. A number of other manufacturers are now claiming all weather capabilities – don't be caught out, get a demo against a Triton.

Triton launched its unique deep soil engagement direct drill in 2018 to give plough based yields from direct drilling. Six years later we are consistently achieving higher yields from the Triton than from ploughed trials on our own land. The Triton is the only all weather seed drill on the market that gives the flexibility to grow maximum profit autumn sown crops whilst reducing blackgrass from late drilling. A number of other manufacturers are now claiming all weather capabilities – don't be caught out, get a demo against a Triton.

Downward facing upper blade does not hook grass weed seed up from below stale seed bed and field surface

Downward facing upper blade does not hook grass weed seed up from below stale seed bed and field surface

Triangular tungsten tiles for reduced draught and soil disturbance

Triangular tungsten tiles for reduced draught and soil disturbance



Drilling at 40mm depth

Drilling at 40mm depth

14cm deep lower blade takes blade deep below ground for air drainage and rooting Downward facing upper blade does weed seed up from below stale seed bed Triangular tungsten tiles for reduced draught and soil disturbance

Downward facing upper blade holds field surface in place minimising soil eruption in the stale seed bed

Downward facing upper blade holds field surface in place minimising soil eruption in the stale seed bed

14cm deep lower blade takes blade deep below ground for air drainage and rooting

14cm deep lower blade takes blade deep below ground for air drainage and rooting

Triton UK: 01223 891888 (East Anglia & Midlands)

Triton UK: 01223 891888 (East Anglia & Midlands)

Triton North & Scotland: 07712 831718 (Steve) (S.T. Gowan Agri) Southern agent: 07970 549012 (Richard Peck)

Triton North & Scotland: 07712 831718 (Steve) (S.T. Gowan Agri)

Triton UK: 01223 891888 (East Anglia & Midlands) Triton North & Scotland: 07712 831718 (Steve) (S.T. Gowan Agri)

Abington Farm Park, Great Abington, Cambridgeshire CB21 6AX

Abington Farm Park, Great Abington, Cambridgeshire CB21 6AX

Abington Farm Park, Great Abington, Cambridgeshire CB21 6AX

Anglia Farmer



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Anglia Farmer is a controlled circulation magazine published monthly for farmers and growers in the eastern counties. To be included on the circulation list, a farmer must have a minimum of 70 acres of land, or 50 dairy/beef stock, or 50 breeding sows/250 growing stock, or 15,000 laying hens/broiler chickens. Intensive horticulture units are required to have a minimum of two hectares. Subscription is £18 a year (including postage). No responsibility can be accepted by the publishers for the opinions expressed by contributors.

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OPINION Johann Tasker

New government must rebuild trust

Promises made and promises broken. That was largely the hallmark of the last government when it came to farming.

Time and again British farmers and growers were promised a better and brighter future by the Conservative administration. But the Tory government under successive Prime Ministers did little to deliver on those pledges.

Shameful legacy

Take just a few: the promise to maintain the budget for farming at current levels after the UK left the European Union. Broken. The promise that British farmers wouldn’t be undercut by food imports produced using methods that would be illegal in this country. Broken. And the promise that trade with the European Union would be as seamless now as it was before Brexit. Broken again.

Little wonder then that support drained away among farmers for the Conservatives in the two years running up to the General Election.

Those promises are in the past. Made by politicians no longer in power. But their consequences will be felt for years to come – not just on farms across the country but by everyone who depends on British farmers.

We have said before that farmers face huge challenges as they strive to produce high quality food and drink at an affordable price for consumers while delivering for the environment.

Looking forward

The new government has a duty to put right the wrongs of the previous administration. It should start by recognising the importance of food security and by encouraging food production – not at all costs, but in a way that is sustainable for farmers, consumers and the planet. And that means financially, not just environmentally.

The new government must also avoid the temptation to use agriculture as a cash cow. That means increasing the budget for agriculture, not just maintaining it. It also means avoiding unfairly milking the industry for tax.

Agriculture has much to offer – not just in terms of food production. Politicians would be wise to remember that it also supports jobs, maintains the landscape and is key when it comes to mitigating climate change.


New government ‘must secure farming future’

• Coherent policies needed for farming

• Warning not to overlook UK agriculture

• Food must be ‘affordable for everyone’

Industry leaders have urged the new government to set out how it will ensure a certain future for UK food and farming.

The reminder to make sure food security is top of the political agenda is contained in a joint open letter from the NFU, British Retail Consortium, UK Hospitality and Food and Drink Federation – representing the breadth of the supply chain.

Amid widespread agreement that “food security is national security,” the letter says our food system is robust and efficient – despite the challenges of Covid, war in Ukraine, and post-Brexit trading arrangements.

Severe strain

“At times, those supply chains have come under severe strain, leading to shortages of some food and drink products and increasing costs at all points of the chain from producer to consumer,” says the letter.

And it warns: “It would be foolhardy to assume that our food system will always withstand shocks,

especially against the backdrop of in creased geo-political instability and climate change.”

The letter says it is the basic respon sibility of any government is to ensure its citizens are safe and properly fed. And it describes the lack of focus on food in the run-up to the general election as a “worrying blind-spot”.

farming policies right has wider benefits, say industry leaders

Getting these policies right has multiple benefits for our country and the public beyond simply guarantee-

6 priorities for food and farming

The letter sets out six priorities for the new government:

1) A planning system that allows investment

2) A plan to achieve UK net zero targets

3) A coherent and joined-up industrial policy

4) An agricultural budget that also works for the environment and biodiversity

5) A trade policy that reduces non-tariff barriers

6) A long-term partnership to tackle obesity

With over two thirds of land used for agriculture, the letter argues that productive and profitable food and farming businesses mean the countryside can be managed sustainably to protect the environment and help meet climate ambitions.

Healthy food

“A well-functioning supply chain also gives consumers access to a wide range of fresh produce and healthy food, is a crucial aspect of improving diets, alleviating pressure on the health service and improving health outcomes for our citizens.”

The letter concludes: “These policies are critical to the future health and prosperity of our nation. We should never take our food security for granted, and whoever forms the next government will need to address

‘Framework needed for organic sector’

Organic farmers have set out a framework for radical policy change – arguing that the sector can deliver better health, ecology, fairness and care.

Published by Organic Farmers & Growers, the framework calls for a government plan to deliver healthy food, more funding for organic farming, transparent supply chain contracts and trade policies that ensure a level playing field for farmers.

OF&G chief executive Roger Kerr said: “The nation’s seen huge upheaval in the last eight years. A flawed food system has left the

country at the tipping point of catastroph ic environmental and human health crises.

“Decisive action cannot come soon enough. We need policies that create jobs, improve rural livelihoods while delivering sustainable and economically viable food and farming systems.

“Restoring this balance and equity re quires ambition and vision from government. The long-term effects of recent policies are still unfolding, but the need for action is ur gent. One thing is clear: we must aspire to ac complish more.”

Roger Kerr: huge upheaval for eight years


Highly recommended for all regions of the UK, this topperforming conventional variety boasts the highest yield. Featuring large pods and abundant seeds, it ranks as the No.1 choice. Developed in Britain specifically for British farmers, its superior yield, vigour, and establishment surpass even that of Campus.

OBEs for agri-scientists in Birthday Honours List

Two of the region’s leading agri-scientists were recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours list for their outstanding achievements.

Professor Diane Saunders, of the John Innes Centre; and Agri-TechE director Belinda Clarke both received OBEs – joining hundreds of eminent people from all walks of life who also received awards.

Dr Saunders was recognised for her outstanding scientific achievements and dedication to women in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

‘Cereal killers’

Based at Norwich, Professor Saunders investigates plant pathogens that pose a threat to agriculture. Her team’s pri mary focus is on wheat rust pathogens, sometimes dubbed “cereal killers” due to the damage they cause.

She said: “This recognition reflects the remarkable research accomplish ments and dedication of each and every person who has worked in the incred ible team that I have the privilege to lead at the John Innes Centre.”

John Innes director Graham Moore said the honour reflected Prof Saun ders’ contribution to plant pathology and her dedication to advancing un derstanding of plant diseases.

He added: “Her work has made a significant impact on both the scientific community and agricultural practices around the world, and we are incredibly proud to work with her at the John Innes Centre.”

Inspiring network

Dr Clarke was awarded an OBE for services to agri-technologies and farming. Based at Cambridge, the AgriTechE network connects farmers and growers interested in agriultural tech-


Belinda Clarke: significant global impact


Diane Saunders: outstanding achievements

bers were leading the world in innovative farming practices and progress towards food security, agricultural productivity, and environmental sustainability.

Open Farm Sunday puts farming in the spotlight

More than 225 farms opened their gates to the public last month to celebrate the best of British agriculture.

The industry’s 18th annual Open Farm Sunday on 9 June saw events take place across East Anglia. Organised by the Linking Environment And Farming (LEAF) charity since, the day put farming centre stage for thousands of visitors.

OFS manager Annabel Shackleton thanked everyone who opened their gates to show visitors the incredible story behind the journey British food takes from field to fork.

“It has been a truly tremendous celebration of the hard work that farming’s guardians of the earth do day in day out to farm sustainably in harmo-

ny with nature. The feedback we’ve re ceived has been phenomenal.”

Media coverage included local and regional radio stations, highlighting the work farmers and encouraged vis itors to discover the farming stories on their doorstep.”

Huge support

An overwhelming majority (94%) of think growers and livestock produc ers are important – but only 12% are well-informed about what farmers do for the countryside, according to a LEAF-commissioned study.

“I am humbled and honoured to be awarded an OBE and would like to pay tribute to the inspiring network, alongside whom I have the daily privilege of working.”

Founding vision

Sentry Farms director John Barrett, who chairs the Agri-TechE stakeholder board, said a transformational number of agri-tech businesses had been introduced, supported and promoted through Agri-TechE.

He added: “The founding vision of Agri-TechE was to introduce disruptors and new technologies into agriculture, and to bring farmers and tech innovators together to do things differently – and this has been achieved.”

last month

“Our survey findings demonstrate why an event like Open Farm Sunday is so important to our industry and in contributing to the wider education of local communities”

production, added Ms Shackleton. "The most powerful voices to share their knowledge and experiences are those of farmers themselves.”

Next year’s Open Farm Sunday will be on 8 June 2025. For full details, visit


Lodge Works, Great Ashfield, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP31 3HA

Lodge Works, Great Ashfield, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP31 3HA


Caution urged when drilling early in autumn

• Warm conditions encourage infection

• Late-sown cereals are less susceptible

• Retain habitats for beneficial insects

Farmers drilling crops early to avoid a repeat of last autumn’s wet conditions could face an increased risk of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV).

Warmer conditions could exacerbate the risk of the virus being spread by bird cherry-oat aphids, which migrate from early September to late October, says Bill Lankford, herbicide and pesticide specialist at Adama.

Pest management

“Growers who remain determined to drill winter wheat and winter barley in September must be prepared to take steps to hinder the establishment of aphids and thereby minimise the area of BYDV infection.”

Green bridge destruction and retaining attractive habitats for beneficial insects are also important for integrated pest management (IPM). Late drilling is among the most effective IPM techniques.

Dr Lankford says: “Where crops have been drilled early, the application of an insecticide which is not only less detrimental to populations of beneficial insects, but which will also remain effective in warm early autumn

Where cereal colonising aphids are active and justify insecticide applica tion, Dr Lankford suggests a pesticide with a lower residual impact on natu ral aphid predators – including ground and rove beetles.

Fast action

“Where a pyrethroid insecticide is deemed to be the most appropriate mode of action, Mavrik (240 g/litre tau-fluvalinate) provides fast-acting contact control with a lower residual impact on beneficial insects compared to other pyrethroids.

“This reduced toxicity enables beneficial organisms to recover more quickly after crops have been sprayed, therefore ensuring there’s a strong population of predators ready and able to overcome any subsequent influxes of aphids.”

More effective

Trials carried out in Germany suggest Mavrik is more effective versus grain aphids than lambda cyhalothrin CS at temperatures of 15°C and above, says Dr Lankford. This means faster knockdown and mortality, he explains.

“This improved activity at higher

tial shape and chemical composition of tau-fluvalinate – a Type I pyrethroid –which makes it more stable and therefore more effective at higher.

“This inherent stability also makes tau-fluvalinate less susceptible to metabolic resistance within target organisms, further adding to its efficacy and long-term sustainability.”

Pea week celebrates ninth anniversary

Great British Pea Week – the annual celebration which encourages people to eat more peas – celebrates its ninth anniversary this month.

With 160,000 tonnes of vining peas grown and harvested by about 700 growers and contractors, Great British Pea Week (1-7 July) celebrates the vegetable and those who work around the clock each summer to deliver frozen peas to the nation.

The UK is 90% self-sufficient in pea production, with the average British adult eating around 9,000 peas a year, says the British Growers Association, the organisation behind the Yes Peas! campaign.

Great Britain remains the largest producer and consumer of frozen peas in Europe, to maintain the country’s track record of being 90% self-sufficient in pea production, with most peas frozen within 150 minutes of leaving the field.

Holly Jones, of the Yes Peas! campaign, told Anglia Farmer: “Nearly all peas in supermarket freezers are grown on a British farm by a British farmer. We want to encourage the nation to not make peas a side dish, but the main event in any meal.”

Crops are more susceptible to disease in warm and wet weather
Below: Growers are advised to take steps to reduce BYDV

Mobile irrigation management system

• Monitoring of Rainstar operation

• Optimize your irrigation management

• Automatic Error messages

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Agricultural applications: Separation of cow, pig and chicken manure

• Food industry: Separation of vegetable waste

• Slaughter houses: Separation of paunch content

Adrian Tindall 07708 919597

• Pharmaceutical industry: Separation of poppy seed mush

Biogas plants: Before and after fermentation

• Distilleries Rob Jackson 07939 410417

Buy-back premiums for low-cost milling wheat

• Good nitrogen use efficiency

• Low requirement for fungicide

• Demand from key national miller

Demand is surging for a low input milling wheat capable of high protein levels with a reduced nutrition programme.

Elite or E-quality winter milling wheat Nelson is gaining popularity with growers due to its strong disease profile requiring fewer fungicides. The crop also requires less fertiliser due to its good nitrogen use efficiency.

Premium contracts

Seed and grain specialist Cope wants to expand the area drilled with Nelson this autumn. It is working with Heygates mills to offer premium buyback contracts to growers in East Anglia and the East Midlands.

ty and functionality that will displace imported wheat. Through baking, Nelson shows a white crumb, no evidence of weakness, and produced loaves of good volume.

“We aim to expand the acreage of Nelson to supply Heygates within the catchment area of their mills,” says Cope farm trader Harry Dean-Allen.

“Our buy-back contracts offer a premium over group one milling varieties, based on the higher protein level.”

Trials by NIAB suggest Nelson has a significant cost saving element in its armoury of traits. With nitrogen rates as low as 175kg/ha, Mr Dean-Allen says the exclusive variety can achieve 14% protein while still yielding 8.1t/ha.

Miller’s view

George Mason from Heygates says there is increasing demand from millers for UK-grown milling wheats. Nelson has attributes that until now have usually been found only in imported wheat, he adds.

"We are committed to using the maximum amount of homegrown wheat wherever possible. However, for some of our flour, we require wheat with specific characteristics or functionality that we cannot achieve with home-grown grains.

“We have identified that Nelson grown to 14% protein brings us quali-

“By offering a buy-back contract that incentivises growers, the combination of an additional quality premium and the benefits of the variety onfarm, we are finding the variety very popular.”


years in

Ian Monson has been growing Nelson for three seasons at Oxborough, in south west Norfolk. Mr Monson is set to drill his fourth crop this autumn – on account of its good all-round performance.

“Nelson is a strong high protein milling wheat capable of 14%, with fantastic vigour and excellent disease resistance,” says Mr Monson.

The 356ha farm is mainly arable –except for 40ha of woodland and 20ha of grassland to make hay for horses. “We decided to plant Nelson to supply a local market – Heygates, and it’s been a good all-rounder.

“It goes down well, with good vigour at germination, rooting strongly in the autumn, and we find the best time to drill is early October. It’s resisted disease brilliantly and has no sign of mildew.

Nelson coped admirably with this

We’re aiming to expand the acreage “

season’s wet winter, says Mr Monson. “It’s totally clean right down to the bottom leaves. It’s tillered well this spring and is very responsive to nutrients. It has bold strong heads with good bold seed that combines well.

“We’re continuing to grow Nelson simply because we continue to be pleased with it.”

Looking robust

Lee Oakes drilled a crop of Nelson at 180kgs/ha last year using a Horsch Avatar on 2 October at Foxburrow Farm, near Dereham. By the start of June, it had received 150kgs/ha of N22+SO10% in two doses and a T1 treatment – with a T2 to come.

“It’s looking robust with a huge flag leaf, strong root structure, and massive ears ready for the next growth stage,” says Mr Oakes.

“We just need some sunlight and heat now. Nelson is a strong consideration alongside Sustainable Farming Incentive options. It aligns well with our regenerative practices and we can't wait to see the results at the weigh bridge.”

As well as a premium over regular group one varieties, growers are praising Nelson’s other agronomic benefits. It has a wider drilling window than some wheats, an early harvest date, tall and stiff straw, bold grain and high untreated yield.

Lee Oakes with his crop of Nelson milling wheat

Could Bamford redefine the UK soft wheat sector?

High-yielding soft wheat Bamford is generating some serious attention as one of the newest varieties on the recommended list. The Group 3 variety from Elsoms has proved to one of the most fascinating additions to this year’s winter wheat line-up, with its very high treated and untreated yield figures. We asked four seed experts for their opinion.

Bamford was the stand-out variety in last year’s trials. It was miles ahead of other Group 3s and actually out-performed most Group 4 feeds.

WThere’s no doubt it has been at the top of many to-see lists for growers this year. It offers the joint highest yield with the opportunity for a premium.

There’s no such thing as a perfect variety, so the fact it doesn’t have orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) resistance isn’t a major negative for me, so long as growers are fully aware. Many popular varieties don’t have OWBM resistance either so it’s not a barrier to success.

Most wheat growers I talk to spread their risk, so pairing a non-OWBM resistant variety with one that has resistance is a sensible strategy.

The only potential negative is the stigma among growers towards Group 3s in recent years caused by historically lower yielding varieties.

But if growers focus on the strong agronomics and marketability, it has a tremendous future.

the highest yielding Group 4 wheats, Bamford is an excellent option for any feed wheat grower – and it would be wrong to pigeonhole it simply as a Group 3 wheat.

Bamford also brings much needed improved agronomics to the soft wheat sector.

Its high untreated yield is re-enforced by a 6.7 score for septoria and it offers good lodging resistance, both of which were lacking in some of the older varieties.

Good grain quality, including the highest specific weight of any soft wheat, also gives growers some comfort in difficult harvests.

But for me, it’s the good marketability with potential premiums without compromising either yield or agronomics that makes Bamford a stand-out variety.

Gthe water until Bamford’s arrival. For me, the variety has redefined the landscape for soft wheats to the extent that I no longer think that using Group 3 or Group 4 is the right terminology anymore.

There was always a premium for Group 3s over soft 4s – that doesn’t exist anymore. And soft 4’s generally had a yield advantage over soft 3s – and that doesn’t exist anymore either.

So, in my head, there is now only milling wheat, high- or low-quality soft wheat and hard feed wheat. Bamford is the catalyst that has blown apart the traditional definitions of what a soft wheat should be – it’s a vigorous, showy, big biomass variety.

Last year, across 15 different regional Agrii trials, Bamford was the overall highest yielding wheat in both our treated and untreated categories

Given that 2023 was a bad Septoria year, I think those results reflect well on its score of 6.7 – the best Septoria rating

Tis very timely, if a little overdue. It’s the best Group 3 soft wheat since the halcyon days of Consort and Riband in the 1990s – and arguably the best winter wheat on the current recommended list. Its strong disease profile, backed by a very high untreated yield, is an eye-opener, and, as the industry moves towards greater sustainability and less reliance on agrochemical inputs, Bamford’s agronomic credentials look strong enough to deal with that sea change.

It’s the equal highest yielding winter wheat variety in the UK, it offers you multiple market opportunities to achieve a premium and comes with fewer risks and question marks than many other varieties on the current recommended list

On export opportunities, it’s a bit too early to confirm if Bamford is what the European soft wheat market wants, based

New hard wheat varieties bring security for growers

• Sector remains important as ever

• Mix of strong agronomics and yield

• More varieties under development

Hard feed wheats are set to feature heavily again in autumn cropping plans – as growers look to bounce back from a rain-hit season.

Winter wheat remains the highest gross margin crop on most arable farms, with yield still seen as king for maximising returns. And hard varieties already account for more than half of the UK wheat market.

But achieving high yields when faced with more extreme and unpredictable weather will require varieties with strong agronomics and proven, consistent, performance across multiple seasons.

Genetic gains

“Farmers are increasingly looking for security on-farm,” says Ron Granger, arable technical manager for Limagrain UK. “You need a variety that delivers the right agronomics, as well as high yield.”

Limagrain has a range of new hard wheat varieties coming through its UK breeding programme. Launched two

You need a variety that delivers “

years ago, they include LG Typhoon, newcomer LG Beowulf and 2024 recommended list candidate variety LG Rebellion.

LG Typhoon is rated 9 for yellow rust resistance and 7.2 for Septoria. It also has orange wheat blossom midge (OWBM) resistance, good specific weight and a slow, prostrate growth habit that suits both early sowing and wide-row direct drilling.

Typhoon joined the recommended list in 2022 with a range of beneficial traits. “These characteristics have seen it deliver excellent consistency across different seasons and regions, and suitability for the on-farm placement we have advised.”

The variety’s suitability for ear-

ly drilling could be particularly pertinent this autumn, given the likely desire by growers to avoid a repeat of last year, when many drilling plans were halted by heavy rain during October onwards.

Strong parentage

Newcomer LG Beowulf takes genetic gains a stage further. Building on its strong Costello x Gleam parentage, it delivers a range of desirable agronomic characteristics that make it the highest yielding variety on the recommended list.

With proven performance across a range of situations, soil types and regions, LG Beowulf is rated 9 for yellow rust and 6.7 for Septoria. It has

New hard wheats from Limagrain

LG Typhoon

Agronomic characteristics for securing consistent yield performance over multiple seasons and regions on farm

LG Beowulf, the highest yielding variety on the recommended list

Prostrate growth with high tillering capacity suits early drilling, direct-drill regen situations

Excellent disease resistance (especially Septoria and yellow rust) - high untreated yield, OWBM resistance

+2 maturity versus Skyfall

Good specific weight

LG Beowulf

The highest yielding variety, offering high yield potential in all regions, including the north of England.

Wide drilling window and suitability for a range of situations (1st vs 2nd wheat), and differing soil types

Excellent disease profile (especially yellow rust and Septoria), OWBM resistance, and tall, stiff straw

Similar maturity to LG Typhoon

Excellent grain quality, combining a high Hagberg and specific weight

LG Rebellion (Candidate 2024)

High yield potential combined with the desirable agronomic characteristics of KWS Extase

Agronomics suit the main October and later drilling dates on farm. Very high untreated yield (97) reflects strong all-round disease profile

Excellent disease resistance profile - similar to KWS Extase, plus Pch1 eyespot resistance

Earlier maturing (-2 vs Skyfall)

Excellent grain quality, plusI ukp export potential

Winter barley candidates boast BYDV tolerance

Aground-breaking two-row winter barley tolerant to barley yellow dwarf virus was among three candidate varieties displayed by Senova at Cereals 2024.

Organa is one of the first two-row feed varieties to have the two genes associated with BYDV tolerance. It will be of particular interest to growers who want to be paid for integrated pest management under the Sustainable Farming Incentive.

With positive implications for managing risk, simplifying workloads and reducing input costs, the presence of the added value trait gives Organa a unique position in the two-row feed category.

Up for recommendation later this year, the variety has a 90% untreated yield and 102% treated yield. It combines this with a high specific weight of 70.0kg/hl, stiff straw and early ripening – along with good all-round disease resistance.

Ratings of 7 for mildew and brown rust, 6 for rhynchosporium and 5 for net blotch are backed up by resistance to Strain 1 of BYDV. The presence of both the YD2 and YD3 genes minimise the risk of BYDV infection.

Senova managing director Tom Yewbrey says: "There is some impact of BYDV in tolerant varieties but the yield loss is much less than that of susceptible varieties. Organa is a really positive development for growers who prefer two-row varieties."

Minimise risk

The other two winter barley candidate varieties from Senova also offer benefits over existing choices and will help growers to minimise risk.

Kitty has a yield of 106 and an unrivalled specific weight of 73.7kg/hl, as well as resistance to both Strain 1 and Strain 2 of Barley Yellow Mosaic Virus. It is one of only two winter barley varieties on the list to have this level of virus protection.

A Valerie cross, Kitty has short, very stiff straw and good all-round disease resistance, giving it immediate appeal to those growing feed barley. Unsurprisingly, there is early interest in the variety.

Nos Olena, a Bordeaux cross, is the third winter barley candidate from Senova. A yield of 105, very stiff straw, low brackling and medium maturity are backed up by strong disease resistance across the board and a good spe-

cific weight.

"All three of these winter barleys have something to offer and are challenging many of the existing varieties," says Mr Yewbrey. "It's an exciting time for us as we await their recommendation."

> Organa has the YD2 and YD3 genes associated with BYDV tolerance.

Group 4 Hard Winter Wheat

n Exceptionally stiff strawed

n Outstanding late drilled performance

n Excellent combination of yield, yellow rust and OWBM resistance

Spring barley gains full approval for malt distilling

High-yielding spring barley SY Tennyson has gained full approval for malt distilling in a boost for growers, says breeder Syngenta.

The new variety continues to progress through the approval process for brewing on the Malting Barley Committee list

seeds portfolio marketing manager Kathryn Hamlen.

“End users have wanted another dual purpose spring malting barley variety to use alongside the popular spring variety Laureate for some time. This is a perfect opportunity for SY Tennyson, which offers benefits to growers and end users alike.”

Right: Spring barley SY Tennyson is fully approved for malt distilling

Left: SY Vessel is progressing through the approvals process.

For distillers, Tennyson has the highest predicted spirit yield figure on the 2024 AHDB Spring Barley Recommended List at 436.8 litres of alcohol per tonne. High spirit yield is a key requirement for malt distilling.

“In addition, it also has the highest hot water extract figure on the 2024 AHDB RL. Hot water extract is important for brewing. Ms Hamlen says: “We hope it will gain full approval for brewing in the not-too-distant future as well.”

Meanwhile, winter barley SY Vessel continues to progress through the approval process for malt distilling. The non-GN variety is the only winter barley with potential for malt distilling on the MBC approved list.

“Clearly, spring barley dominates the market for distilling,” says Ms Halmen. “But having a

winter malting barley variety with potential for malt distilling offers both growers and end users flexibility and a way of managing risk.”

Full or provisional approval to a variety does not guarantee that a variety will be accepted by all malting, brewing and distilling companies. As a result, growers should seek full details from customers before drilling newly listed varieties.

‘Plenty to go at’ from expanded SFI offer

The latest Sustainable Farming Incentive offer from Defra deserves a closer look, says a farm consultant.

Tamsin Roark (right) took on the role of eastern region rural consultant for Agrovista erlier this year. Her remit includes meeting the increased demand from farmers requiring guidance on the SFI and other agricultural initiatives.

“The SFI is new to everyone and is constantly evolving, so there is plenty to go at,” said Ms Roark, who works closely with Agrovista agronomists to advise growers about which SFI options might work best for their farm business.

More actions

The SFI pays farmers to improve the natural environment and climate. This spring, Defra expanded the number of actions on offer from 23 to 102. It is due to open to most farmers by the end of July.

Ms Roark said: “No two farm businesses are the same and helping individual farmers to maximise the benefits of SFI alongside their ongoing farming operations is immensely satisfying.”

Although most of her work is SFI related, Ms Roark advises on capital grants and helps with nutrient management plans, which she will take on fully once she is FACTS quali fied. She aksi works with new farming cus tomers looking for support.

An agricultural graduate from Bishop Burton College Ms Roark initially spent 18 months working as a business and perfor mance analyst for three local authorities, before taking up her role with Agrovista Rural Consultancy.

No two farm businesses are the same

“I realised I wanted to return to agricul ture and saw this new position as a chance to develop my career and build on the busi ness experience I had gained – particular ly during my last role,” she said.

“It was very obvious through the appli cation process that the company wanted to support my professional development. It’s an exciting time to be getting back into agri culture – there’s so much happening across the industry.”

Nurture green leaf development

Key to stop disease taking hold

High disease pressure could restrict yield potential in late sown pulse crops racing through growth stages to recover from the wet spring.

Many which were slow to establish are now playing catchup. But increasingly high disease risks threaten to restrict green leaf area development and harvest yield, says Syngenta technical manager Simon Jackson.

“Rust is currently the major risk in spring beans,” says Mr Jackson. “Growers should tar get an effective treatment at first pod set, to stop disease getting es tablished.”

Experience of spring beans in similar conditions last season highlighted the benefit of a twospray strategy, with a follow up in mid-July to ensure sustained rust control and protect green leaf to complete pod fill.

Rapid growth

“Although late sown beans are growing rapidly – where grow ers might consider a one spray strategy may suffice – extending the growing season with robust

disease control will help them to achieve their yield potential.”

Bean crop prices have remained consistently buoyant, compared to other combinable crops, that warrants investment to maximise yields, says Mr Jackson.

If cool, wet conditions persist, growers should consider an initial application of Elatus Era to target rust and chocolate spot if cool. This could be followed with an Amistar application in to help maintain healthy green

agronomists should also consider including Vixeran biofertiliser with the initial fungicide application.”

“As an additional readily available nitrogen supply that will support crop development and maintain the green leaf biomass, Vixeran has proven especially useful in promoting bean crop growth.”

Pea performance

Mr Jackson highlights good results from Elatus Era treatment on combining peas. This season’s wet spring weather has

tion and pea staining.

Syngenta field trials in combining peas last year reinforced the importance of the early flowering (T1) timing for disease control.

The research in Yorkshire showed Elatus Era was by far the most effective T1 treatment for powdery mildew control, giving 84% reduction in infection, compared to untreated, while at the same timing Signum gave just 36% reduction.

“Elatus Era can be applied from growth stage 51 in pulses, right through to 20% of pods having reached full size (GS 72). That makes it highly flexible for protection of fast-growing pea crops,” says Mr Jackson.

Growers can make a single application of Elatus Era at a rate of up to 0.66 l/ha in field peas and beans. Syngenta biofertiliser trials have also shown effective results from Nuello iN endophyte seed treatment in peas.

It showed improvements in both rooting and crop growth.

“Supporting development of this season’s rapid crop growth with endophyte nutrient capture, will give peas the opportunity to reach their full potential.”


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Target slugs early in challenging season

Apply pellets before canopy reached

High slug populations and continued showers during June saw potato growers urged to apply molluscicides before crops reach the canopy stage.

Slug pressure has remained high since last autumn after favourable breeding conditions in September and October. The subsequent mild, wet winter and spring did little to dent slug populations on land destined for potato planting.

Independent potato consultant Graeme Ditty suggested growers should apply slug pellets two to three weeks earlier than usual in susceptible crops like Maris Piper to get on top of the problem.

Risk assessment

Other factors in his risk assessment include soil type and whether oilseed rape or cover crops feature in the rotation. Both have made slug pressure worse, particularly where brassicas are part of the cover crop mix.

After significant amounts of winter and spring rain, some potato seedbeds have been forced on more bodied

land and cloddy ridges will exacerbate the slug threat, explained Mr Ditty.

“A large percentage of my potato crops will receive at least one pellet application before plants meet between the rows, depending on variety and situation. In the riskiest spots, two applications might be justified.

“It’s a numbers game and we need to knock them back if we can. I just don’t want to take any chances this year with pressure so high.”

Ballistic properties

With many potato growers spreading pellets from their sprayers, Mr Dit ty recommends using a robust pellet with good ballistic properties to en sure adequate coverage right across the machine’s width.

Certis Belchim technical manag er James Cheesman agrees. He says it is important to know the capabil ity of the applicator and qualities of the slug pellet to achieve the optimum spread pattern.

The firm’s online Calibra tion Wizard tool allows spray er operators to check both.

A twin disc spreader like a StocksAg Fanjet Duo, for example, will typically spread a standard sized pellet like Sluxx HP to 36m.

A wet processed pasta-based formulation like Sluxx HP also offers the durability required in moist conditions beneath potato canopies, particularly where irrigated, says Mr Cheesman.

“This ensures that the pellets are working for longer than others when applied just before canopy closure.

“Growers should then keep an eye on populations throughout the season and ensure pellets are reapplied when fully developed tubers are vulnerable to slug attack during and after the haulm destruction process.”

Potato Days UK event to be held in September

Tickets are now available for a new potato industry event –due to be held on 4-5 Septem ber at Nocton, near Lincoln.

Called Potato Days UK, the two day event in the one of the country’s ma jor potato growing regions will be host ed by Dyson Farming and organised by DLG – the company behind some of the world’s major agricultural shows, in cluding Agritechnica.

Demonstration crop

It will include an extensive outdoor exhibitor zone, marquee space and a 12ha demonstration crop, including machinery courtesy of Grimme. Tri al plots have been planted and visitors will see new technologies in weed re duction, crop protection and inputs, different varieties and innovative ir rigation systems.

Ghow director Lars Huf said "These live crop trials give visitors the oppor tunity experience potato growing and

agronomy up close.

“Our trial plot exhibitors will be on hand to show you what’s going on and explain how their technologies, services and new approaches are helping the world of the potato grower advance and evolve sustainably and efficiently.”

Although new to the UK, Potato Days is part of a well-established Potato Europe family of events, says Mr Huf. They mix trade stands with crop plots, talks and discussions with machinery demonstrations.

“Potato Days UK is an event that will support farmers, growers and the wider value chain to succeed, through sustainable potato production to meet the increasing demands on the sector.”

“Our aim is to create the essential platform for industry professionals to meet, share knowledge and see the latest machinery and technology."

For full details and to secure a ticket, visit

Growers should take no chances with slugs, says James Cheesman


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Three-step plan to maximise sprout control in potatoes

Maintaining crop quality is important – now new research has identified the steps needed for maximum dormancy from maleic hydrazide this season.

In-store sprout control for potatoes has become much more complicated and costly since the loss of chlorpropham (CIPC).

But a cost-effective option is now available, so long as it is managed correctly: maleic hydrazide –marketed as Fazor by UPL.

Field trials and an extensive literature review by potato consultant Mark Stalham suggests potato store managers who pay attention to detail and abide by good practice will reap the rewards.

“If you get it right, you can save on in-store product applications. Over the last three years, we have been trying to give recommendations by repeating old work to prove it is still correct and doing new trials to add to our knowledge.”

Step 1: Get the timing right according to your variety

The ideal spray window begins five weeks before the onset of senescence. The uptake rate decreases significantly three weeks before the rapid phase of senescence begins, which will make getting the desired maleic hydrazide levels challenging.

We are looking for 12-14 parts per million (ppm) of aleic hydrazide in tubers, but we know that 6 ppm can control sprouting. There will be a variation of levels in tubers across a plant; what we need is for every tuber to be at least 6ppm.

The window is a lot closer to desiccation than

many growers think. The later you go, the less effect maleic hydrazide will have on yield.

Work we did last year showed that applying maleic hydrazide five weeks before senescence produced lower yields than three weeks, albeit not statistically significant.

All the varieties in the trials were longer-season processing varieties for McCains in groups three and four on the determinacy scale. The ideal spray window for determinate varieties probably narrows to three to four weeks before the onset of crop senescence.

Results from potato trials conducted by Mark Stalham

• Wider seed choice in 2025

Deal means more choice for sugar beet growers Processor ‘optimistic’ for sugar beet this season

• Flexibility from processor

• Recommended list changes

Sugar beet growers will have more flexibility in the seed varieties they choose following a ground-breaking deal with British Sugar.

Reforms announced by NFU Sugar and British Sugar mean growers no longer have to purchase seed via the official UK Seed Account. It means growers will have access to other seed sources from next year.

In a joint statement, both sides said the agreement would give growers more choice and flexibility, support innovation and address recurring issues with growers’ access to seed, while preserving the most effective parts of the existing model.

Changes will be made to growers’ contracts from 2025, following feedback from growers about availability of seed, as well as changes to how British Sugar markets seed via the UK Seed Account.

“We have listened to growers

As well as seed available via the UK Seed Account, growers will be able to grow varieties that are either on the Recommended List, were on the list in the past year or are on the Variety List and undergoing trials.

The changes include:

• Growers and seed breeders will be able to buy and sell seed direct, or via third party suppliers, as well as via the existing UK Seed Account, op erated by British Sugar and overseen by NFU Sugar.

• To supply British Sugar, growers will now be permitted to grow a wider choice of varieties which is expected to allow earlier uptake of new genetics and increase choice for growers.

• Seed sold through the UK Seed Account will be sold throughout the year and stocks will be re leased for sale as they become available – mean ing growers can buy their desired seeds when it’s right for them.

At the same time, the British Beet Research Organisation, NFU and British Sugar have set in motion changes to the Recommended List tri als, which will be moving to evaluating finished products, rather than genetics alone.

Important changes

The goal is that the revised recommended list will represent what farmers actually buy, trialled in

> Sugar beet growers will now have more flexibility and choice in the varieties they decide to drill

a way it will actually be grown, rather than in small batches tested in ways that fail to reflect farmed conditions out in the field.

Andrew Fletcher, joint seed lead on the NFU Sugar board, said: “We’re pleased to have worked together with British Sugar to agree these important changes to seed purchasing so that it remains fit for purpose in our sector, which is facing exciting opportunities.

“We’ve listened to feedback from growers about what did and didn’t work for them and believe that changes to the model will prevent a rush on buying seed, promote investment from breeders and reduce the risk of substitutions.

“This will ensure that we're able to continue to produce sugar beet for the nation sustainably and efficiently.”

Better performance

British Sugar Nick Morris head of agriculture said: “We’re delighted to have worked on this transformational change with the team at NFU Sugar, empowering growers with more choice and flexibility in their seed purchasing.

“Sugar beet seed is a fundamental part of our industry and we’re committed to evolving the buying model to meet grower demands, as well as supporting continued investment in seed breeding and seed technology.”

Mr Morris said the agreement would mean the sector could continue to adapt to emerging threats while seizing the opportunities afforded to growers and the processor through increased performance.

“The transition to using finished products in the BBRO Recommended List trials will further support growers by providing more relatable in-

British Sugar says it remains optimistic for this year’s crop – despite another late start to the season.

This is the fourth year in a row where drilling has taken place during mid-spring. Wet weather meant up to 10,000ha (25,000 acres) of an expected 100,000ha crop was still not in the ground during the first week of May.

British Sugar agriculture director Dan Green said: “I am optimistic about the coming season despite the higher Aphid pressure we are seeing this year and obvious concern over potential levels of Virus Yellows.

“Providing we have some favourable weather during the summer, we expect to see some good crops, good yields and some good margins for our growers. This should encourage further investment in the industry, which is what we all want for the long-term."

The 2023/24 sugar beet campaign was one of the longest ever – totalling 228 days. It concluded with Cantley slicing the last beet on Friday 19 April. British Sugar’s four factories processed more than 8m tonnes of sugar beet, producing some 1.1m tonnes of sugar.

Trials give fresh hope for sustainable wheat yields

Silicon can boost crop nutrient uptake

Better wheat yields could achieved by using biostimulants to reduce reliance on fertiliser and agrochemicals, suggests a trial.

Carried out by plant breeder KWS and biostimulants specialist Orion Future Technologies, researchers who treated wheat with silicon found that the crop was better at taking up essential nutrients.

These included iron, manganese, copper and zinc as well as silicon, said Orion agronomist Mike Stoker. “This makes the plant stronger and better equipped to resist climatic and biotic

Biostimulants help make the plant stronger

icon when it was applied in the form of bioavailable liquid Sirius. The wheat varieties were KWS Dawsum, Extase, Palladium, Ultimatum and Zyatt.

In scavenging for the added available silicon, Mr Stoker said the wheat naturally encountered and took up increased levels of other beneficial nutrients – as well as downregulating the uptake of substances like aluminium and sodium.

plant brought a yield increase of 7%.

Silicon at T2 helped reduce lodging and enhance drought tolerance

The variety KWQS Ultimatum had the highest accumulation of iron and showed the highest yield increase – a boost of 16%. Sirius was applied at 0.25 litres/ha and at 0.5 litres/ha to see if a higher dose would provide better results.


“Interestingly, most varieties responded similarly to both doses, showing that just a small increase in silicon uptake can provide considerable yield improvements,” said Mr Stoker, probably due to the way Sirius mixes in the tank.

“We often find lower doses remain efficacious because bioavailable silicon breaks apart in water, so using less provides the molecules more capacity to separate.

“It is also important to add that silicon does not have a detrimental effect on any other products being used, including fertilisers and plant protection products.

The most consistent improvements in the uptake of nutrients measured was found with the variety KWS Ex-

Uptake of boron, copper, manganese, zinc and iron all increased when Extase was treated with Sirius. Once absorbed, silicon was deposited within and between the cells of the plant which increased dry matter levels, and had a positive effect on yield.”

Iron deficiency is exacerbated by waterlogged soils like those seen in this growing season. Mr Stoker says that this can seriously diminish yield and the final nutritional quality of crops, particularly in alkaline soils.

He further suggests that manganese deficiency has been identified as the most widespread trace element problem in UK arable crops and is also commonly associated with persistently wet soils.

“As manganese is linked with both disease resistance pathways and winter hardiness, an autumn application of Sirius lends itself to stronger cereal crop performance the following spring.

“The trials have shown that applications at T2 will provide benefits such as reduced lodging, enhanced drought tolerance and better nutrient flow into the forming grains,” he concludes.

Courgettes show benefits from silicon too

Applying silicon to courgettes almost doubled the weight of the fruit – and helped strengthen the plant against powdery mildew.

The link between plant health, fruit weight and silicon uptake was identified by a postgraduate student undertaking a glasshouse study at Hertfordshire University. The trial used 40ml of silicon biostimulant Sirius at a concentration of 0.2%.

Research supervisor Avice Hall said: “The findings are very encouraging for any grower looking to boost plant health and courgette weight while mitigating the effect of powdery mildew.”

Silicon was applied to the soil on a weekly basis for eight weeks. It was compared to a control sample given deionised water in the same volume

as the treated plants received silicon to ensure both received the same amount of water.

“The average weight of courgettes treated with Sirius was 180g which, compared to the control at 95g, shows that the addition of silicon almost doubled the weight of the fruit,” says Dr Hall.

The study also charted the effect of powdery mildew on the plants. By leaf counting, the study identified that, in almost all of the eight weeks, the silicon enhanced plants had fewer infected leaves.

The addition of silicon also helped the treated plants produce more courgettes and, by week four, the average number of the fruits was almost six, compared with four fruits produced by the untreated plants in the same time.

Mike Stoker: higher yields

How heritage wheat genes could create new varieties

• Built-in traits could benefit farmers

• Resilient against pests and disease

• Less fertiliser and lower emissions

Genes from a historic collection of wheat seed could help farmers use less fertiliser – saving money and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, say scientists.

It follows a decade-long study of the A.E. Watkins Landrace Collection of local wheat varieties dating back to the 1920s and stored within the Germplasm Resources Unit at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.

No longer grown anywhere in the world, at least 60% of the genetic diversity found in the Watkins collection doesn’t appear in modern wheat – creating an opportunity to create new varieties with additional beneficial traits.

Key traits already found in this untapped diversity include nitrogen use efficiency, slug resistance and resilience against disease, said John Innes scientific group leader Simon Griffiths.

“There are genes which will enable plant breeders to increase the efficiency of nitrogen use in

can grow, they will need to apply less fertiliser, saving money and reducing emissions.”

The discovery was made during cross-institutional collaboration led by Dr Griffiths and Professor Shifeng Cheng, of the Agricultural Genomics Institute at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Shenzhen.

Better understanding

The work was underpinned by scientists at Rothamsted Research, who worked as a phenotyping hub to add understanding of the qualities and characteristics of the wheat, to connect the crop to the genetic sequence.

The team built a special map to show the genomic variation within the wheat. The landrace-cultivar comparison revealed that modern wheat varieties contain only 40% of the genetic diversity found in the Watkins Collection, said

Historic wheat genes could save farmers money, says Simon Griffiths

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PhomaBlocker rape varieties showcased

Plant breeder DSV showcased its latest PhomaBlocker and Powerful Pods oilseed rape varieties at last month’s Cereals event.

tions, the first UK varieties containing PhomaBlocker are now in AHDB candidate trials with potential recommended listings at the end of 2024."

Enhanced harvest protection is also under the DSV spotlight with its latest RL addition DSV Dolphin the first of a new generation of hybrid OSR varieties combining specific traits to protect against adverse conditions later in the season, she adds.

"Pod shatter genetics, contained in several DSV oilseed rape varieties and others on the recommended list, have done much to highlight the issue of harvest seed shed.

Different characteristics

"But it is widely understood how a variety performs during its growth and at harvest is the function of many different characteristics rather than just a single gene or property of a variety.

"DSV breeders have identified three key pod characteristics which when combined form the basis of our Powerful Pods technology. These are greater flexibility of the pod structure,

DSV Dolphin scores well for seed retention

Left: The first PhomaBlocker varities are in AHDB candidate trials, says Ms Hawthorne

improved function of the pod valve margins and greater space around individual seeds.

In DSV's own random impact tests, where pods from different varieties are bombarded with steel ball bearings in controlled conditions, DSV Dolphin achieved one of the best scores for seed retention, says Ms Hawthorne.

"Results from an AHDB analysis have also shown little difference in the performance of DSV Dolphin with regard to seed loss compared to many of the most popular pod shatter varieties."

How digital water trap helps growers tackle flea beetle

• Remotely monitors oilseed rape crops

• Continuously updates of threat levels

• Sends pest pressure details to growers

An innovative digital support tool means growers can now remotely monitor the migra tion of key oilseed rape pests.

Launched at Cereals 2024, Magic Trap from Bayer is a fully automated, nex- generation digital yellow water trap. It provides farmers and agron omists with continuously updated in formation on pest pressure.

The trap autonomously detects, categorises and quantifies a range of insects. It can distinguish between pests and beneficials, ensuring grow ers never miss a pest migration.

Available initially for oilseed rape, Magic Trap accurately detects cab bage stem flea beetle, weevil and pol len beetle. Traps have been in commer cial use in Germany for the past two

field was seen as particularly useful in our trialling, with 83% of users saying they checked trap data daily.”

More than half the users also found Magic Trap useful in supporting their decision-making. This included decisions around timing of drilling and insecticide applications, recognising use of insecticides is a last resort in an ef-

Independent agronomist and CCC Agronomy technical director Peter Cowlrick trialled a Magic Trap with one of his clients in Hampshire last autumn. He was pleased with the results. "You can't be on every farm every day," he says. "Trying to assess the migration patterns of something like cabbage stem flea beetle is pretty chal-

It provides images twice a day “

foliar damage, the remote monitoring supported a decision to apply an insecticide at the four-leaf stage of the crop.

Subsequent flea beetle larvae numbers in the treated crop were low, at 2-3/plant and didn't impact crop growth, whereas larval infestation numbers were noticeably higher in unsprayed fields on the farm.

Most recent data from underlines the value growers see in having an automatic record of autumn flea beetle levels in their oilseed rape crops, with 87% of respondents regarding this information as valuable and almost half considering it 'very valuable'.

Now in its fifth year, the study has amassed a wealth of data from some 900 growers and pin 93,500ha of winter oilseed rape, with several key findings set to inform management of going forward.

Above: Symptoms of verticillium, which can reduce yields by one third

Below: Neil Groom (left) and Mike Pickford in a rape crop

following several years’ independent trials and commercial experience.

Growing a variety with strong all-round disease resistance can save money, but variety selection is made prior to drilling. “Once the crop is in the ground, there is nothing else you can do to control verticillium,” says Neil.

“Working with plant breeder Mike Pickford, we have been focusing on breeding clean varieties for the UK to enable grow-

bridgeshire, susceptible varieties were scoring a high 70 Index which means 70% of the plants were dead from verticillium. On more tolerant varieties, we were seeing much lower scores of 20.”

AHDB trials

AHDB trials have been running for four years. Rather than the usual 1-9 rating, insufficient data differentiation means verticillium resistance is denoted in three categories – moderate resistance, intermediate and susceptible.

Pinnacle is categorised in the intermediate category. In trials, it looks clean and grow-

Charles, Lincolnshire

Off-patent herbicide now for linseed

Anew herbicide has been approved for post-emergence broadleaf weed control in linseed.

Laya which contains 200g/kg metsulfuron-methyl is a sulfonyl urea herbicide by off-patent manufacturers Life Scientific. It is a reverse engineered formulation of Ally SX.

Life Scientific specialises in bringing off-patent crop protection products to market with the goal of providing customers with more options to meet their plant protection needs. The approval for Laya in linseed reflects the success of the approach.

A niche crop, only about 21,000ha of linseed are grown annually in the UK. The largest buyer is believed to be Premium Crops, which says it remains popular with growers questioning the viability of oilseed rape due to cabbage stem flea beetle.

Premium Crops agronomist Hannah Foxall said: "The broad weed spectrum offered by metsulfuron-methyl is important for ease of harvest and cleaning up fields for the following crop.”

She added: “This approval is welcome news for linseed growers looking to control broad leaved weeds post-emergence, as since the loss of

able conditions but rarely exceeding 2.5t/ha.

Laya is available to growers through distribution partners Pro-

Stalwart oilseeds trader to retire

Owen Cligg is to retire after 15 years at farmer-owned cooperative United Oilseeds

During his time with the company, Mr Cligg has overseen the trading of some 7.5m tonnes of combinable crops – including peas, beans, linseed, oats and rye – as well as oilseed rape.

After joining United Oilseeds in 2009, he was instrumental in shaping and advancing the cooperative’s trading network and crafting its business strategy in a way that benefits its farmer members.

Working for growers

Mr Cligg said: "It’s been an honour and pleasure to serve farmers across the UK for the past 15 years on behalf of United Oilseeds. Naturally, it will feel a little strange leaving work after so many years, but there’s plenty on

my to-do list.”

He added: “I’m hoping to get more involved in local history, which has been a passion of mine for a while – and I’m particularly looking forward to en joying the delights of South America with my Chilean wife.”

United Oilseeds managing direc tor James Warner said: "Owen's de parture leaves a noticeable void in our team. His immense contributions to our cooperative extend far beyond his expertise in trading.

“We will sorely miss his witty per sonality and unique sense of humour, which have left an indelible mark on all who have had the pleasure of working with him. We all wish Owen a very happy and well-deserved retirement."

Nick Hobson, who joined United Oilseeds this spring, is stepping into the role of commodity trading manager. An experienced trader, he worked

for Cargill before co-founding the bi ofuels brokerage Sun Commodities. Mr Hobson sold the business in 2014. He has since split his time be tween managing his consultancy, es tablishing trading and brokerage enterprises in Geneva, and raising his young family.

Farm safety & security

Plea to keep safe on farm this harvest

Campaign calls for turning point

Farmers are being urged to help keep staff and children safe this harvest – making it a turning point for improving agriculture’s appalling accident record.

The call comes ahead of this year's Farm Safety Week (22-26 July), which will highlight ways of staying safe on UK farms. Organised by the Farm Safety Foundation – or Yellow Wellies charity – it works to improve the physical and mental health of the next generation of farmers.

Farming makes up just 1% of the UK's working population – but accounts for 16% of all workplace deaths. There are, on average, a further 23,000 reported cases every year of long-term ill health or serious injury within the agricultural industry.

Busy period

Harvest and the busy period into autumn are peak times for farm accidents. Many involve large machines driven and operated by inexperienced temporary farm workers and students on summer placements.

More than 120 industry representatives discussed the importance of farm safety and mental well-being during a recent 10th anniversary Farm Safety Foundation conference hosted by Yellow Wellies at Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire

Yellow Wellies manager Stephanie Berkeley said: “There couldn’t have been a better way for us to celebrate 10 years of challenging and changing be-

> One in 20 farm fatalities are children, says the Health and Safety Executive

haviours to risk-taking and poor mental health in our sector.”

Changing attitudes

Bringing together 120 people from across the UK and Ireland to and debate topics that people would have shied away from ten years ago showed that behaviours and attitudes to safety and well-being were starting to change.

“The fact that there are initiatives that are working – and the fact that government, the farming unions, retailers and key farming organisations

“We need to call out bad practice

Some 95% of farmers under the age of 40 agree that poor mental health is one of the biggest hidden dangers facing the industry today – with 90% agreeing there is a direct link between mental health and farm safety.

Child safety

Children account for 5% of all farm fatalities – including while playing in farmyards or falling from moving tractors. Farming advocate Joe Stanley described the fatality as a shocking mark on our industry’s conscience.

The conference

Mr Stanley added: “We need to be calling out incidences of bad practice when we see them. We have to make it socially unacceptable to be doing what are clearly dangerous practices.”

Chairman of Yellow Wellies trustees James Chapman used the conference to call on attendees to make the day a turning point. He emphasised the need to have meaningful conversations and collaboratively explore the way forward.

Defra farm minister Mark Spencer, who also attended the event, said: “There is no doubt that farming is often not an easy job with long hours in remote rural areas and I am pleased to see the growing awareness in recent years of farming mental health.”

Farm safety & security

Police training day to tackle farm theft

Police officers took part in a farm and construction equipment training day hosted by the rural insurer NFU Mutual last month.

Held at NFU Mutual’s head office in Tiddington, Warwickshire, the event was hosted by the National Construction and Agricultural Theft Team (NCATT). It was partially funded by NFU Mutual and CESAR and supported by security specialists.

The event was organised by the Combined Industries Theft Solutions forum (CITS), an organisation dedicated to reducing the effects of crime on farming communities and the construction industry.

The cost of rural theft increased by 22% last year as organised criminal gangs targeted farm machinery and GPS components – rising to an estimated £49.5m, up from £40.5m the previous year.

The training day sought to provide full-time police officers, special officers and staff involved in rural crime prevention with opportunities to learn about the latest crime trends and security measures.

Rural crime experts included NFU Mutual vehicle crime specialist Kirsty Hyslop and detective sergeant Chris Piggott, from the NCATT.

They spoke about the latest techniques to protect farm machinery and bring criminals to justice.

A showcase of security systems developed to protect farm equipment included a practical demonstration of Cesar’s machinery marking systems. Other participants included Hitachi, Clancy and Murphy.


Ms Hyslop said: “Rural crime is not only costly but highly disruptive and distressing for farmers and their families. We need to keep up-to-date on the latest trends and security systems to keep these determined criminals at bay.”

NFU Mutual is expected to publish the latest farm theft figures next month. CITS chairman Ian Elliott said: “We’re holding this event to help police forces tackle the organised criminal gangs that are making theft a huge problem for farmers.

Focus on safety for ForFarmers

The importance of safe working practices for people in agriculture was highlighted by international feed company ForFarmers – thanks to the Yellow Wellies charity.

The need to uphold farm safety and promote good mental health was included in a series of ForFarmers workshops offered to colleagues across the country, in conjunction with Yellow Wellies.

Machinery, livestock, working at height and work place transport all pose significant risks in agricul ture. And 92% of farmers under 40 say mental health and wellbeing is one of the biggest hidden problems in the industry.

ForFarmers managing director Mark Cole said: “We and our customers work in an industry full of risk. A lot of our customers work alone and can be very iso lated so we also take mental health very seriously for both customers and employees.”

Some 12,000 on-farm accidents are reported every year. Many more go unreported alongside an estimat ed 11,000 associated health issues.

Time pressures at busy times such as harvest and silaging are often among the causes.

CITS works with the police, crime-fighting organisations and machinery manufacturer – including Clancy’s, Hitachi and Leica – to provide officers with the knowledge and detection techniques needed to combat rural crime.

Farmers take on coast road for charity

Agroup of 14 farmers set off to drive 4,690 miles in a JCB Fastrac tractor run around Britain’s coast for charity.

Sticking as close to the coastline as possible, the challenge sought to raise awareness of the issue of poor mental wellbeing in the UK’s farm-

The brainchild of friends Taron Lee and James Caswell, the tractor run set out from Cleethorpes seafront on 10 June before culminating at the twoday Lincolnshire Show on 19 June. The marathon drive was dedicated to the memory of Alec Newlove, who died by suicide earlier this year. Taron said: He was an amazing lad, and it seems right that we complete this challenge in his memory.”

Marking machinery makes it easier to locate when stolen
Mark Cole: Taking farm safety seriously

CESAR SCHEME: an effective theft deterrent for ATVs and quads in the farming community

This year has seen a sharp rise in rural crime, with the cost of such incidents increasing by over 40% in the first quarter. Quad and All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) thefts have been particularly common exacerbating the £2.2 million lost last year. Factors like the ongoing manufacturing delays due to COVID-19 have increased the demand for new and second-hand farm machinery. As waiting lists grow and market values soar, quads and ATVs have become prime targets for thieves due to their high value, portability, and accessible resale market both in the UK and abroad.

To address the rising problem of equipment theft, the UK introduced the Equipment Theft (Prevention) Act in 2023, effective January 20, 2024. This law requires that agricultural equipment have anti-theft devices and unique identifiers and that sellers keep detailed transaction records. The Act aims to protect the farming community from this growing threat by deterring theft and making it harder to resell stolen equipment.

The security landscape for ATVs and construction equipment has taken a significant step forward with Datatag’s latest innovations in the CESAR Security Scheme, developed in partnership with the Construction Equipment Association (CEA). By leveraging Datatag’s state-of-

the-art security marking technologies, CESAR ATV offers an almost impenetrable identification layer that deters theft and aids recovery. Endorsed by manufacturers, the Agricultural Engineers Association and the National Farmers Union (NFU), CESAR is recognised as a formidable deterrent among criminals.

The recent upgrade in the system of the ‘Ultra Tag’ RFID transponder represents a significant advancement in security technology. Its robust design makes it immune to interrogation and compromise, effectively countering attempts at theft and tampering. The chip’s enhanced reading distance, a significant improvement when used with a Datatag scanner, ensures superior equipment identification and monitoring.

Complementing the ‘Ultra Tag’ is the introduction of RAPID, a sophisticated web-based application that culminates a year of dedicated development. This platform integrates data from approximately 645,000 construction and agricultural machines into a single, easily accessible database. RAPID’s reach is extensive, enabling potentially all 142,000 police officers in the UK and countless others globally to access detailed equipment data using a standard issue smartphone.

RAPID provides a secure amalgamation

of police, manufacturer, and insurance data. Law enforcement officers can quickly ascertain a machine’s status by entering part of a vehicle identification number (VIN) or related identifiers, a feature crucial for the rapid identification and recovery of stolen machinery.

The CESAR scheme’s benefits extend beyond theft deterrence. It requires no annual fees and is supported by a 24/7 UK Secure Contact Centre. Almost 650,000 machines are protected by CESAR, and its presence can lead to lower insurance premiums. The CESAR database also enables quick police access, facilitating instant identification of stolen equipment. Backed by the Plant Theft Action Group and supported by the Home Office and the National Police Chiefs’ Council, CESAR is the first and currently only industry-wide official scheme.

The unveiling of RAPID (Registered Assets Police Information Database) and the introduction of advanced ‘Ultra Tag’ RFID transponders are set to revolutionise the way construction and agricultural machinery are protected globally. These innovations are integrated into the already successful CESAR scheme, strengthening its position as a critical tool in safeguarding ATVs and construction equipment and extending its protective reach on a global scale.

Farm safety & security

Farmers are being urged to remain vigilant this summer

‘Alarm’ as gang of thieves targets farm GPS kit Discount available on premiums

Three men have been released on bail after being arrested in connection with the theft of farm GPS kits.

Lincolnshire Police said it recorded 16 incidents of GPS theft from farms in Louth, Spalding, Boston, Grantham and Lincoln. The thefts took place between February and March this year.

The men were arrested in connection with some of the thefts as part of a national effort in April. The damage caused, as well as the amount lost to the theft of the equipment, is believed to amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds.

GPS equipment and their components have become one of the most targeted pieces of farm equipment because of their high value and portability. They can be used across the world and stolen items are often exported.

PC James Knychala of the Rural Crime Action Team said: “When a farmer loses this kit, it not only causes an insurance claim for loss of the kit, but also impacts them as they cannot run their business in the manner they are used to.

NFU Mutual rural affairs specialist Hannah Binns said: “This new wave of GPS theft is incredibly alarming, especially as farmers start gearing up for the busy harvest period.

“It is also worrying to hear that thieves are targeting farms who have previously had GPS

stolen, especially when considering the financial and emotional impact these crimes have already had on those farmers.

Ms Binns added: “We’re urging farmers to take all possible steps to protect their GPS equipment, such as removing them from tractors, combines and other machines where safe to do so and lock them somewhere securely when not in use.

How do I protect GPS systems?

World events and the cost-of-living crisis mean farmers have increasingly found themselves targeted by thieves, says NFU Mutual.

The war in Ukraine has opened up an illicit market for stolen goods and vehicles – both keenly sought after by organised and opportunist criminals, says the rural insurer. This is having a dire effect on farmers’ wellbeing, many of whom are already facing significant challenges.

To help farmers actively protect your vehicles and to limit the effects of theft on their business, NFU Mutual offers savings on insurance premiums when an approved security device is fitted to an agricultural vehicle.

This includes agricultural vehicles fitted with a Thatcham approved Cat 1, Cat 2, S.5 tracking system or S.7 location system. Savings are also available for vehicles registered with the CESAR scheme and where a proprietary branded mechanical device is fitted.

NFU Mutual says it is important to disclose all security features fitted on vehicles, as insurance premium savings are available for manufacturer's fitted devices and aftermarket retro-fitted deterrents.

Activate PIN security on GPS kit if available

Use your own unique PIN number

Mark your postcode on the unit’s case

Keep tractors and combines out of sight

Remove GPS kit whenever possible

Store GPS kit securely when not in use.

Record serial numbers and photograph kit

Check serial numbers of second-hand kit

[source: Lincolnshire Police]


Welcome relief from early first cut silage

• Grass quality better than expected

• Analysis shows promising samples

• Plan ahead to secure winter stocks

Early first cut silage results are analysing well – which should provide some welcome relief following a challenging winter and spring.

At 11.2MJ/kg, average metabolisable energy (ME) levels appear similar to last year. At 31.5%, so too do average dry matter levels. But the ration of lactic acid to volatile fatty acid appears improved at 3.8 – double last year’s value.

“Despite a very challenging spring with generally lower grass growth rates and grass quality, early first cut grass samples are very promising, which should mean cows will milk well,” says Robin Hawkey, nutritionist for Mole Valley Feed Solutions.

The analysis is based on a small number of farms located mostly in south-west England. But Dr Hawkey says the results nevertheless offer a valuable early snapshot of forage availability ahead of winter.

Results may well change as the season progresses – and the picture will

also vary depending on where farms are located and when they cut silage. Even so the figures still look promis ing.

“This highlights a better type of fermentation in the clamp, which means silage will keep well,” explains Dr Hawkey. “Lactic acid is also a bet ter form of energy in the rumen which will help support milk production.”

Lactic acid could put pressure on the rumen. But slightly higher Neu tral Detergent Fibre (NDF) levels may encourage rumen health. This may work in farmers’ favour, reducing the need for straw, which is in low supply and high cost.

Surprisingly good

Results offer a valuable early snapshot of forage availability

At 15%, crude protein levels are also surprisingly good considering many farmers had difficulty applying nitrogen due to the wet spring and sodden fields. Some producers didn’t apply nitrogen at all.

All producers should assess the quantity and quality of their first

Early first cut samples are promising “

tablish a forage plan for the season ahead, says Dr Hawkey. This will determine whether the focus is on quantity or quality for subsequent cuts.

“Many farmers were forced to open maize clamps early last autumn to support milk production. If a forage audit shows stocks are tight and you have cereals on farm, it might be worth whole cropping rather than combining to bridge the starch gap.”

“Every farm will be in a different situation. What’s important is knowing what you’ve got and making a plan accordingly.”

Bluetongue: free tests now available in high-risk

Free bluetongue testing is available to farmers moving ruminants out of the high-risk counties of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

Livestock producers can apply to Defra for free, voluntary testing if they plan to move ruminants out of the three counties – or sell them at a market within a high-risk county where there will be buyers from outside the high-risk counties.

How it works

Farmers should apply for free testing at least 10 working days before the planned move-

ment or market date. A vet should sample your animals five working days before the move or market to allow time to get results.

Defra says farmers can apply for either free sampling and testing; or free testing only and pay for sampling from a private vet. Vets will then send samples to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) or Pirbright Institute for analysis.

The vet will come to your premises alone. Any animals to be sampled should be permanently marked – such as with an official ear tag – and held securely in suitable handling facilities.


Farmers should ensure there are enough people available to round up animals to be tested and present them for sampling.

If results are positive, APHA will contact you and place your premises under restriction while they investigate further. This means you will only be able to move susceptible animals and their germinal products off your premises with a licence.

If results are delayed past the planned move or market date, you can move your animals without waiting for the results. This is because this testing is voluntary. But the APHA strongly advises against this.

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How to optimise genetics for better beef production

Suckler beef farmers aiming for more sustainable systems are being advised to prioritise genetic traits that have the biggest influence on productivity.

“With beef under increasing pressure to be more sustainable and profitable, it’s never been more important to review the suitability of herd genetics,” says Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society chief executive Robert Gilchrist (below).

“Incorporating native genetics, such as Aberdeen-Angus, has been shown to deliver key traits aligned with sustainable production, offering potentially significant efficiency, economic, and environmental gains.”

Native bred dams can deliver a 21-32% increase in gross margins compared to continental beef breeds, according to a Building Better Beef report compiled by ADAS last year.

This is primarily driven by the reduction in feed requirements, especially concentrates, due to their ability to maintain condition and thrive off grass, says the document.

The report was commissioned by Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, HDB, Hybu Cig Cymru, Quality Meat Scotland and AgriSearch to help suckler producers unlock greater productivity, profitability and sustainability.

“Native breeds are very well suited to systems designed to make the most of grass and forage. We know these systems can offer higher margin potential as well as support reduced carbon footprints,” says

Cow mature weight is also an important influencing factor. Native bred cows are proportionally much more efficient than their continental counterparts which are typically larger in frame, says Mr Gilchrist.

“Around half of the total dietary energy expenditure in suckler beef production is used by the suckler cow for maintenance; by selecting for smaller cows, this can be reduced without any detriment to productive output.”

Calving ease is also an important trait to prioritise. “Calving ease is one of the most important factors when it comes to sustainable production; you need to have a live calf on the ground and the cow must get back in calve within the critical three-month window.

“Assisted calvings reduce the likelihood of meeting these key parameters, with research showing that calving difficulty at first calving will decrease lifetime calf production by 30%.”

The Building Better Beef report indicates that native breeds have on average 8% lower calf birth weights compared to continental breeds, which results in a reduced risk of calving difficulty.

Calving interval

With the new suckler cow support payments in Northern Ireland and Scotland including calving interval as part of the measures, farmers are being increasingly incentivised to prioritise calving ease.

“Renowned for a shorter gestation and easy calving attributes, Aberdeen-Angus dams are well placed to help suckler farmers achieve tighter calving periods and improved lifetime performance,” says Mr Gilchrist.

Research on calving intervals in Scotland before the new suckler cow support scheme, found that 5% more Aberdeen-Angus dams achieve a 370-day calving interval compared to continental dams, reinforcing the merits of native cows.

“Ultimately, you need to pair genetics with your system and goals, but if you’re not already utilising Aberdeen-Angus genetics, now is a good time to consider the value the breed may offer to your business.”

Wool prices still stable despite smaller clip

Wool returns this year are similar to 2023 with most grades up only very slightly and a lower wool clip reducing returns.

British Wool chairman Jim Robertson said: “Prices strengthened in the autumn but have weakened again over the last two months with Mountain wool types struggling all season.”

British Wool auction prices for the season are on a par with New Zealand. The organisation handled 2500 tonnes less wool in 2023 primarily due to lighter fleeces –with a typical farmer delivering 10% less wool than in 2022.

‘Oil-based fibres’

The decline in wool volumes reduced returns by some 7p/kg, says Mr Robertson. If we had handled the same weight as the previous year, many grades would have been up 20p per fleece.

Mr Robertson says: “The rise of oil-based fibres over recent decades has driven down the value of wool. The world is however now starting to wake up to the environmental damage these fibres cause – and the sustainability of wool.”

New income streams were making a growing contribution towards payments. The traceability scheme generated £150,000, while grading for the Isle of Man and other initiatives had also boosted returns.

“More brands are specifying British wool,” says Mr Robertson, who says British Wool remains committed to creating long-term value for producers. Sheep farmers can be a stronger force by supporting British Wool together, he adds.

“We understand the recent wool prices have been disappointing. But with the initiatives we have in place, from traceability to our consumer marketing and our licensing scheme, we truly believe the long-term outlook is encouraging.

Calving ease is an important trait to prioritise

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Changes to planning rules make it easier to diversify

• Permitted development extended

• Opportunity for older buildings

• Benefits homes and local economy

Farmers will be able to convert their unused buildings into new homes and shops thanks to new planning laws.

The major changes give farmers across England greater freedom to diversify and grow their business, says the government – without having to spend time and money submitting a planning application.

Growers and livestock producers will be able to convert agricultural buildings and land into new businesses, such as outdoor sports facilities, larger farm shops and farm training centres, as well as housing.

Changes to permitted development rights were announced shortly ahead of the general election following a government consultation. The goal is to deliver more homes for rural communities remove unnecessary barriers to development.

Housing and planning minister Lee Rowley said: “Farmers are the lifeblood of communities, and these changes give them the freedom to grow their businesses, and plan for their futures.”

Top priority

Defra farm minister Mark Spencer

The changes make it easier to convert disused farm buildings

Below: Mark Spencer says he has listened to farmers

the freedom to decide the best uses for buildings on their land, without needless bureaucracy holding them back.

Farmers are the lifeblood of communities

“We are listening to farmers and putting them at the heart of future development of our rural areas. Helping farmers secure their businesses and get on with the important job of producing food is our top priority.”

The changes extend permitted development rights so farmers can diversify and convert agricultural buildings to commercial uses – as well as up to 10 homes – without needing to submit a planning application.

The changes include doubling the amount of floorspace that can change from agricultural to ‘flexible commercial use’ from 500m2 to 1000m2

The size of new buildings or extensions that can be built on farms over 5ha has inceased from 1000m2 to 1500m2. For smaller farms, the size of such developments has increased from 1000m2 to 1250m2

The changes double the number of homes that can be delivered through the conversion of agricultural buildings from five to ten.

To protect nationally important archaeological sites , Defra as removed the ability for extensions to be built

and new buildings erected in the vicinity.

The government said the changes were subject to space and natural light conditions to ensure homes are suitable. It said the changes would turbocharge rural housing development, with just 5000 homes delivered on farming land since April 2014.

‘Not far enough’

Country Land and Business Association deputy president Gavin Lane said the changes to permitted development rights were but did not go far enough to stimulate rural growth.

“We welcome the news that farmers and landowners will now be able to convert agricultural buildings into a higher number of dwellings, and of a greater size, and that buildings can be more flexibly re-used for other commercial uses.”

But he added: “It is bitterly disappointing to see Class Q permitted development rights won’t be expanded to National Parks and Landscapes. [This] would enable much needed development and help stimulate growth in the rural economy.”

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Two Suffolk coastal estates on market

Two Suffolk estates – including 2800 acres of arable and grazed farmland – are being offered for sale close to coastal Southwold.

The Blyford Estate is listed with a guide price of £25m, with the nearby Chediston Estate being marketed at £11.6m. Both properties are being jointly marketed by land agents Clarke & Simpson and Savills.

Farming agreements

Land is mainly arable and partly irrigated, with much of it managed under existing Contract Farming Agreements, along with a mix of highly attractive woodland, marsh land and grazing meadows bordering the river Blyth.

The farmland is complemented by

extensive residential property port folio and range of properties provide an extra source of income. Both estates benefit from attrac tive principal dwellings, with two at Blyford – Blyford Hall and Water mill Farmhouse and one at Chediston–Chediston Grange. In total there are 12 residential dwellings – nine at Bly ford and three at Chediston, Clarke & Simpson partner Oliver Holloway said: “The sale of the two es tates offer a unique and exciting op portunity to acquire a sizeable land holding, which would benefit a future inheritance planning and investment strategy.

White straw rotation

The Chediston estate is ring-fenced. The contractor has farmed the land

The Chediston Estate is being marketed at £11.6m.

Below: The Blyford Estate has a guide price of £25m.

“It’s a sizeable land holding

ard, predominantly on a white straw rotation. Land is primarily Grade 3 with soils of the Beccles 1 series, a fine loam over clay.

The Blyford estate comprises a variety of soil types – mainly a mix of Newport 4 and Beccles 1 series – including productive light root-crop growing land and fuller bodied commercial arable land through to low-lying wetlands.

In addition, there are grazing licences over grassland and marsh areas. Both properties are likely to generate regional, national and even international interest – appealing to estate buyers who are looking to expand or relocate and also investors.

Savills director and property agent Will Hargreaves said: “To have two estates of this size in such a desirable location and available at the same time is incredibly rare.”

Planning permission: changes are essential, says NFU

Changes to planning laws announced before the general election give farmers greater freedom to diversify their businesses says the NFU.

The changes follow a government consultation which proposed a massive expansion to permitted development rights in England – creating what the union describes as “essential opportunities” for farmers.

The NFU submitted a response in favour of the proposals. NFU vice-president Rachel Hallos said: “It’s encouraging to see that nearly all of our suggestions from last year’s consultation were included in the announcement.”

Key requests which have come into force included expanding and extending the size of buildings that can be erected with per-

mitted development – and expanding the changes of use within buildings on farms.

The changes mean farmers will be able to convert farm buildings and land into business opportunities. This includes outdoor sports facilities, larger farm shops and farm training centres, as well as housing – without the need for a planning application.

Ms Hallos said the law change would greatly support the modernisation, expansion and diversification of farms across the country. But she said it was disappointing that livestock buildings remained excluded.

Income streams

“These changes are essential opportunities for farmers who wish to diversify their business, allowing them alternative streams of

income and the ability to further support their local rural economy."

It was good that Class Q rights were being expanded, enabling farmers to convert agricultural buildings into homes. This would provide more rural housing – although it was a shame these would not be extended to protected landscapes.

Previous restrictions under Class Q meant that no more than five barns could be converted into homes. This has now increased to ten and the total combined areas of these homes has been increased to 1,000sqm.

Ms Hallos said: “These areas are often the hardest for new housing to be developed on and opening up this option for farmers could significantly benefit their local communities.”


on diversification


It pays to consider the legal implications when diversifying, says Amy Cowdell .

arm businesses have broadened greatly over the past few years, with entrepreneurial farmers setting up innovative enterprises to ensure they remain sustainable for generations to come.

Helping to boost farming income, diversification is nothing new. The latest government figures suggest 69% of farms have already adapted their businesses. More are considering following suit.

Traditional options include transforming old outbuildings into commercial units, creating wedding venues out of barns and building holiday cottages. More novel enterprises include carbon-offsetting or the provision of biodiversity net gain (BNG) on bahalf of developers.

One key aspect of diversifying a farm business is having a positive can-do attitude mixed with careful consideration of the project. Don’t be afraid to say yes to an opportunity. After all, you never know where it may lead, often in an unexpected way.

But there’s a need to consider the legal implications of any type of diversification scheme being contemplated. Whether health and safety, trading standards or finances, each industry comes with its own rules and regulations.

Eco-system services

All development schemes in England must deliver a mandatory minimum 10% BNG, which must be maintained for at least 30 years.

This has presented an opportunity for farmers to take advantage of developers offsetting their BNG requirements. By creating or enhancing biodiversity on a part of the farm that might be less profitable for food production, land managers are able to sell BNG units to developers. But values should also be carefully considered; while an agreement may look good income-wise, initial establishment costs can be high and ongoing monitoring and maintenance costs need to be carefully considered at the outset.

Furthermore, land needs to be set aside for at least 30 years and the Secretary of State has powers to increase this further, which may sterilise the land for future uses. Nevertheless, it might be a good option for scrub land and help farms move towards more regenerative, sustainable practices.

Carbon offsetting

As it stands, carbon offsetting for onward purchase can be fraught with difficulty. It’s essential farming business calculate their own carbon footprint before entering any carbon offset sale agreements to ensure they can reach their own target.

We anticipate more obligations being set within supplier contracts while all organisations move toward a net carbon status.

Regardless of the type of business venture a farm chooses to embark on, it’s important to ensure all legal documentation is drafted correctly.

If you plan to let out premises under a business lease, you’ll need to be aware of the contracting out procedure to ensure tenants aren’t inadvertently provided with rights to remain.

This can be a nightmare if you want to take back an outbuilding for another use once the lease has expired, so getting legal advice is essential to ensure this doesn’t happen by mistake.

Those considering tourism or wedding venues might be contemplating letting someone else manage the day-to-day running of the business. It’ll therefore be important to consider how risk is managed between the two parties and ensure the correct form of commercial management agreement is in place to govern the relationship.

If you’re looking into selling off carbon, it’ll be essential for you to take professional advice on any contractual documentation before you enter into it as this is a new and unestablished area.

When diversifying, it’s likely you’ll need to apply for change of use planning. If you’ve diversified without planning permission, it might be possible to do this retrospectively. But this may be risky as you may not be successful in being granted planning for what might bave been a pricey diversification project.

Compared to other industries, the agricultural sector is currently, in certain respects, taxed generously (to the farmer). Steering away from a traditional farming operation could have a bearing on your inheritance tax liability.

Adapting businesses should seek tax and legal advice in relation to succession and estate planning to ensure correct land and business structures are put in place to minimise unwanted tax consequences.

Amy Cowdell is partner and head of agriculture at law firm Shakespeare Martineau. For details, email or visit

ESG investment is ‘opportunity for farmers’

• Potential additional revenue stream

• Carbon, air, water and biodiversity

• More information needed for farmers

British farmers could benefit from corporate investment to support sustainable agricul ture – so long as it is done correctly. The untapped opportunities afford ed to farmers from environmental, so cial and governance (ESG) investment were discussed at a special event held at the Judge Business School in Cam bridge.

Organised by the Lloyds Banking Group, the “Finance in the Field” de bate saw experts from the finance, farming and research sectors discuss how sustainable finance can drive pos itive change in agriculture.

Lloyds eastern region ambassador

Tom Martin said: “The major priorities ESG investors are concerned with are environmental issues linked to carbon emissions, biodiversity, and land/ water management. This presents an opportunity for UK farmers.”

Bridging the gap

Mr Martin added: “ESG investment can often seem far removed from farmers' day-to-day realities. Our role is to advocate for farmers in this transition and make ESG tangible from

their perspective, not just in institutional terms.

“We want to bridge the gap, framing ESG not as taking land out of food production, but rather as enhancing productivity, food production, and profitability.”

Practical examples of ESG investment shared by Lloyds Banking Group included supporting the Soil Association Exchange (SAX) programme to help farmers transition to more sustainable systems.

The panel included Helen Avery,


director of nature programmes at the Green Finance Institute; and Calum Murray, head of agriculture and food at Innovate UK, the government agency which funds investment in innova-

The ESG market is relatively new for agriculture – and the concept is unregulated. The lack of clear and trustworthy information about options for farmers and big companies is also proving to be a barrier to in-

Lloyds agriculture sustainability director Ben Makowiecki said: “For ESG investment to be practical, the approach needs to be tailored to suit different farm business models, this is where Lloyds is working to expand

We want to bridge the gap

Investment options include our Clean Growth Financing Initiative, which offers fee-free lending for farm businesses to implement sustainable practices that reduce their environmental impact, explained Mr Makowiecki.

“This programme provides on-farm consultancy for 1,000 customers to help farmers access funding mechanisms for introducing sustainable practices, addressing six key areas including carbon, soil health and biodiversity.”

How communities can support local farmers

Arural insurance broker is calling on residents in the east of England to step up their support for local farmers.

Olivia Curl, of Lycetts, issued her appeal during Mental Health Awareness Week.

“Farming is not just a business, it’s a way of life that demands resilience in the face of the myriad of evolving challenges,” she said.

“But even the most mentally resilient can struggle under the weight of financial and economic uncertainty. It’s important that residents support the local agricultural sector to help keep their rural communities alive.”

To generate extra income, more than two-thirds (69%) of eastern region farmers have diversified – starting public facing businesses ranging from farm shops, cafes

and glamping sites to B&Bs, wedding venues and petting farms.

“Minor changes in shopping habits can make a big difference,” said Ms Curl. “From buying local farm produce to help ensure farmers have a steady income to patronising local restaurants that champion local fare.”

Residents could help support newly diversified farm ventures in other ways too – including by promoting them to friends, family, colleagues and on their social media channels, said Ms Curl.

“Every individual can contribute to this cause. Whether it’s choosing to buy local, spreading the word about rural enterprises or supporting mental health initiatives, your actions can make a profound difference.”

Olivia Curl: supporting farmers
Big companies want to invest in sustainable agriculture, says Tom Martin.
credit: Adam Smyth Photography]

Going green not what it seems

The quest to reach Net Zero raises more perplexing questions than it answers, says Fen

Has the world finally lost its marbles? It certainly seems so to me.

With farmers under constant pressure to be environmentally friendly – and this very small island of ours told to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – we are now told that burping cows are to blame for climate change.

Some scientists apparently claim that


to challenge but are we really going down such a bizarre route to control greenhouse gas emissions?

There are not many dairy or beef producers in my neck of the woods – but I have not heard of any local farmers rushing to their local kitchen suppliers or hardweare store to buy a load of teaspoons.

Once again it brings into question the green credentials of some products. Espe-

Is anaerobic digestion really profitable? Is it really good for the environment? After all, few people in recent years have seen a drop in their monthly energy bill. Energy seems to be all-expensive, no matter how it is produced. You can hardly blame people for the growing suspicion that renewable energy is merely a tick-box exercise by the government so politicians can trumpet their green credentials and boast that the UK is well on the way to Net Zero.

Without government subsidy the whole process remains non profitable. Look at how many tractors and lorries are burning red or white diesel – and the miles they travel to drill and harvest energy crops.

Waste products

Are these emissions properly taken into account when it comes to electricity production? And what about the waste products? Does digestate really contain enough value as

They say a teaspoon will reduce their burping “

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