Farmer Focus: Cowl crop trials and the best way ahead for glyphosate


The unseasonably dry local weather has made us take note of some spring fieldwork plenty of weeks earlier than odd.

Having said that, my phone’s pictures app has merely rang a bell in my memory that we had snow this time last yr, so I gained’t get too complacent.

First up, we’re looking at some cowl crop trials we’re conducting with Syngenta on varied methods of destruction.

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Andy Barr

Andy Barr farms 700ha in a family partnership in Kent. Combinable crops amount to about 400ha and embrace milling wheat and malting barley in an an increasing number of completely different rotation. He moreover grazes 800 Romney ewes and 40 Sussex cattle and the farm makes use of conservation agriculture methods.

See moreover: Cereals growers to be taught from new improvement regulator

Every He-Va and Horsch have promised me a demo of their front-mounted machines for chopping and crimping cowl crops, so we’re going to, hopefully, try them with and with out the Vaderstad cross-cutter mounted behind.

The precept stage for me may be to try one such strip with out glyphosate. Nonetheless, if it actually works, I’ll then need a renewable energy-powered tractor to stay away from burning further diesel.

Who’s conscious of what the best way ahead for glyphosate may be, nonetheless pure no-till was considered one of many matters touched on by John Pawsey, who I was lucky ample to share speaking duties with on the newest inaugural Kent Farming Conference, run by the county agricultural society.

Together with myself, one different home-grown Kentish speaker was James Smith, who co-produces the comparatively pertinent Farming for Change podcast with fellow Nuffield scholar Ben Taylor-Davies.

Considered one of many episodes discusses transferring in route of a lower-input, further regenerative technique. Irrespective of our non-public preferences, we might very properly be pressured down this route by the extreme value and lack of availability of what we now see as typical inputs harking back to nitrogen fertiliser and pesticides (plus the added spice of net-zero carbon?).

I observed some associated economics at work in Argentina just a few years previously, when a bunch of Kent farmers visited the nation to sample their beer.

We moreover managed to go to varied large farms and a sprawling agricultural current and observed nothing nonetheless direct drills and cover crop crimpers; the explanation given was that they merely couldn’t afford to do the remainder.


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