Newbury Real Results Roadshow Blog
Three strong messages came out from the first of eight BASF Real Results’ roadshows – simple, proof-based practices matter, benchmarking and farmer networks are invaluable and biologically active soils underpin the future and profitability of UK agriculture.
Robin Aird, who manages Charlton Park Estate farms, and has been involved in BASF’s Real Results trials since they started in 2017, said that he greatly values the farmer groups he’s involved in. He said that everyone can learn from honest benchmarking, “we can only farm if we’re profitable and to do this we need to know our costs of production.”
As a farm manager he says that he is constantly challenged on farm performance. Excluding rent, finance and basic and stewardship payments, his cost of producing wheat last season was £88/t, winter barley is £91/t, spring barley is £96/t and £360/t for oilseed rape.
“We yielded two tonnes per hectare from the oilseed rape due to cabbage stem flea beetle, which is what we needed to break even, for wheat we budget on 8t/ha, anything else is a bonus.”
He currently runs the arable and estate management work at one horsepower per hectare, a figure that he hopes to reduce.
“To factor in rent, I assume rent of £100/ha which equates to £12.50/t.”
As for many farmers, the last three months have been a monstrous challenge given the rain. “The typical average rainfall for the farm is 856mm per annum, the last two years we have averaged 907mm/pa and in between September and December we had 603mm, with only three consecutive dry days.”
Also speaking at the event was Real Results member, Iain Robertson, who works for David Foot farms 3,000ha, a 1,000-cow dairy with followers, and 400 easy-care sheep in Dorset. He said that this season has been pretty grim, but that by being flexible, they have managed to get the large bulk of the winter crop in. The farm grows a range of crops, including soya, maize and other feeds to supply livestock enterprises.
“We do all that we can to achieve traceability, sustainability and low food miles,” he said. “For example, we use green bedding for the cows, which is the fibre that remains when we remove the moisture from their muck, taking the fibre down to less than 30% moisture. Because it is made up of the herds’ own bugs, it’s healthy and we don’t need to use straw, so it’s a completely circular system.”
“The Foot family are always innovating, but they also look back to and draw on the good bits about the past, for example they have the oldest flock of Poll Dorsets in the world.”
On the new azole, Revystar XE® , and the field-scale Real Results trials the farmers have been involved in, Robin Aird said: “The Real Results trials have been very informative, it is really, really good information – biomass, grain nutrients, detailed soil analysis, disease and much more.
“The game changer for me was the micronutrient report, we used to have dairy, then beef cattle on the farm, but not now; I used to administer copper boluses to them, how that they have gone, our soils were deficient in copper and other micronutrients- it explained why my barley kept going as flat as a pancake, despite using a lot of PGRs.”
Of his Real Results Revystar XE® trials – one of 50 farmers who trialled the product on wheat grown on their own farms, using their own kit, he said: “We used Revystar XE® just at T2, versus Ascra Xpro, the Revystar treated tramlines stayed greener longer, 2t/ha more biomass, higher grain yield and much better and brighter straw.
“I remember having to run across the trial field at harvest, hurdling the swaths; the straw from the Revystar tramlines were larger and much thicker.”
In yield, Robin’s trials yielded 0.42t/ha than the Ascra treated tramlines. He also noted that Revystar XE® was much kinder to the crop.
“What got me most about Revystar was the Teagasc trials we saw in Ireland last summer.” He described the crops as completely senesced from Septoria, yet the Revystar plots were still green with very much lower disease.
Iain Robertson also went on the Ireland trip, he said: “In Ireland we saw a graphic difference, Revystar kept the crop much greener for longer, which is exactly what we saw at home in our Real Results trials; it was mind blowing.”
Four key take home points
- What’s valued about the Real Results trials on growers’ own farms provide additional invaluable data that highlights areas for improvement, as well as assessing the performance of inputs in a statistically robust way.
- Benchmarking and farmer networks are invaluable for sharing ideas and solutions and valued by all of the speakers.
- Biologically active soils underpin the future and profitability of UK agriculture.
- In the Real Results and Teagasc trials Revystar XE® kept crops much greener for longer and outyielded a range of existing chemistry whether applied once at T1 or T2 only, or as a two-spray programme of Revystar XE® at T1 and T2.
Read more articles about Revystar® XE in January’s edition of CPM here.
Revystar® XE and Revysol® are registered Trade Marks of BASF. Revystar® XE contains Revysol® and Xemium®. Revysol® contains mefentrifluconazole. Xemium® contains fluxapyroxad. Always read the label and product information before use. For further product information including warning phrases and symbols, you can refer to https://www.agricentre.basf.co.uk/en