Agrovistas development projects - a practical approach

Article taken from the Agronomist & Arable Farmer

The world of agronomy is changing fast.  Over the next few years, seed, genetics and bioscience will provide the foundation of many exciting, innovative projects that will revolutionise the way we grow and protect crops.

Synthetic chemistry will continue to play a vital role, particularly in the near future.  However, resistance and legislation will affect availability and use.

It’s clear that a whole new outlook on development trials is needed to investigate which tools work and, most importantly, how growers can get the best from them.  It is vital such trials are practical and the solutions they provide must be relevant and readily usable by farmers.

Simple product comparison trials will still have a place, but the integrated nature of crop production packages in the future – seed and its associated technology, chemistry, rotation, micro-nutrition and establishment, crop imagery and application – will demand a whole new development platform and direction.

Combined Offer

Agrovista is at the forefront of this change.  For several years we have recognised the increasing need for a combined offer to service our customers’ crops, and this philosophy now underpins the Agrovista development strategy.

We believe our approach is different – it considers the problem from a grower’s perspective, encompassing all the potential parameters outlined above and other new ideas that hold promise.  All this is being investigated and demonstrated at field level to maximise the practical relevance of the work and the solutions it provides.  Much of this work is being carried out at our three major trials sites at Stoughton, Maidwell and Lamport.  In addition, we have several more Growcrop Gold sites nationwide specifically looking at oilseed rape.

One of our key projects over the past decade has been black-grass control.  This has largely focused on herbicide performance, but over the past couple of seasons we have taken a much more holistic approach.  We are now examining application technology, including drift control, band spraying and new application aids, and recommending key practical advances to improve herbicide efficacy.

We are also looking at introducing cover crops, in particular autumn-sown ones ahead of spring cropping, in a five-year rotational study that includes other cultural control methods.  Our recommendations are already finding places on many farms, helping to keep winter wheat in the rotation of even the most seriously affect growers.

Our oilseed rape trials are also helping to increase farmers’ profits.  Long-term establishment work has evaluated various techniques and linear row seed rates using practical farm machinery.  These have resulted in revised recommendations to help farmers achieve optimum plant densities, crop structure and yield.  The next stage of development is to exploit further the potential for increased rooting using novel growth regulators.

We are also developing the concept of companion planting in OSR, whereby legumes are grown alongside the crop for the first few months to improve crop growth and weed and pest control.

Synthetic chemistry will remain a key focus of our development strategy.  Product testing will continue, but we will spend much more time assessing prediction systems and imagery.  This will help improve the targeting of chemistry, important as the number of actives diminishes and the usage of those that remain becomes more restrictive.  There are many other exciting projects being carried out and in the pipeline.

All this work represents a very significant investment for Agrovista.  However, given the increasingly integrated nature of crop production, we believe it is money well spent.

It’s an ongoing commitment that will keep Agrovista’s development strategy ahead of the competition, giving our farmer customers access to the latest technical information to help enhance yield and profits and maximise business efficiency in the years ahead. 


18 March 2015

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