There are two key issues affecting arable crops in the UK. The first is the management of blackgrass, a weed that is very difficult to control and can severely affect crop yields. The other is the control of the disease septoria in wheat. Both blackgrass and septoria are increasingly resistant to a dwindling portfolio of crop protection products available for their control. Adama advocates integrated control of these issues using cultural, varietal, agronomic and crop protection product use. To assist in this process we use strong and simple messages to qualified farmers and agronomists including infographics, videos, print and e-mail. We back this up with personal presentations and field trials to demonstrate control in action.
There are significant opportunities in the UK to increase yields of cereals and oilseed rape beyond current levels. A notable gap exists between five-year yield averages and the yields of the top 25% of growers. In wheat, this translates to a 16% difference in yields which, even at current low prices, equates to £189/ha (US$245/ha). The cost of growing cereals on a per hectare basis is relatively similar across the UK, but when calculated on a cost per tonne basis it can vary widely within fields, between fields and between farms. While cereal growers have limited control over the price they receive, they have more control over yield. The variability of UK cereal yields offers a real opportunity to improve profits by: improved management of lower yielding areas, ensuring that the potential of the most productive areas is not held back as a result of the presence of the areas of lower potential.
There are plenty of challenges as UK agriculture adapts to a new relationship with the EU and the rest of the world, but there are plenty of opportunities too. Adama is looking forward to helping UK farmers make the most of those opportunities.