How can I make my farm business more resilient and remain profitable in the current climate of rising input costs?

Farm businesses face big challenges as they look to answer questions about the future on the back of increasingly volatile markets and costs, but also unparalleled output price increases.

Questions such as: How can I get more out of inputs in the face of uncertainty around nitrogen supply and price? Do I grow more wheat, less wheat, bring back OSR or increase legumes? And what should I do now with environmental areas? All of these will be at the forefront of many decision-making processes for this coming autumn.

Practical solutions to many of these challenges will be the focus at Hutchinsons new Sutton St Nicholas regional technology centre and Helix AgroEcology Open days this July. Hutchinsons technical experts and agronomists will be on hand at the open days to share their findings and translate this into practical management practices to build profitability and productivity over the coming years.

Sutton St Nicholas RTC,  4 July 2022

Hosted by Richard Brandram-Jones of Amberley Court, Sutton St Nicholas, Hereford HR1 3BX

Agronomist Richard Watkins explains the key areas of focus at the trials site:

Variety Trials

The importance of looking at how varieties perform regionally is one of the key areas of focus in the trials and the extensive variety plots will cover all the major AHDB Recommended List varieties plus leading candidates – with both fungicide treated and untreated plots to judge performance.

Nitrogen Use Efficiency Trials

  • Four different rates of N, including farm standard and a farm tailored alongside reduced rates, to mirror what’s been happening on farms this year
  • Various treatments will be overlaid on these investigating:
    • low, medium and high input fungicide programmes to judge how nitrogen levels influence disease management
  • Nutrition – to look at how managing plant nutrients can lead to better NUE
  • Biostimulants – to see what role biostimulants can play in NUE
  • What role technology can play in managing nitrogen and aiding NUE

There will also be demonstration plots featuring cover and catch crops looking at their effective use and management and how they can contribute to NUE.

Helix AgroEcology, 5 July 2022

Hosted by Harry Heath of Whitley Manor Farm, Newport, Shropshire TF10 8AQ

The unique national Helix project continues to look at innovative and relevant technologies and techniques that can make positive impacts on farm sustainability and profitability – and this spring saw the launch of the Helix Agroecology farm.

The Helix Agroecology farm is trialling and evaluating new, evolving agroecological practices or technologies on a farm-scale level to determine the real benefits they offer in particular situations.

The whole farm project is looking to answer questions across five key agroecological areas:

  • How can data improve farm sustainability
  • How to measure and improve soils
  • How to manage nutrition
  • How do crop genetics benefit the grower
  • Delivering tangible Integrated Crop Management

To hear first hand the results of this approach and learnings from the first six months of the project, or to join us at the new Sutton St Nicholas RTC, please register your attendance by visiting the website or call 01945 461177.

We will have basis and NRoSO points available to attendees.