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East Anglia Future 50

Farming trials site will test ways to maximise crop potential

PUBLISHED: 13:31 29 March 2018 | UPDATED: 13:38 29 March 2018

Agrovista is establishing a major new trials site at the Coldham Estate, near Wisbech Fens. Picture: Jack Hoyles / Agrovista.

Agrovista is establishing a major new trials site at the Coldham Estate, near Wisbech Fens. Picture: Jack Hoyles / Agrovista.

Jack Hoyles / Agrovista.

A new agricultural trials site is being established in the Fens as part of a national network aiming to help growers fulfil their crops’ potential.

Agrovista is establishing a major new trials site at the Coldham Estate, near Wisbech Fens. Pictured: Site co-ordinator and agronomist Jack Hoyles.Agrovista is establishing a major new trials site at the Coldham Estate, near Wisbech Fens. Pictured: Site co-ordinator and agronomist Jack Hoyles.

Agronomy firm Agrovista says its new regional site at the Coldham Estate, near Wisbech, is one of several across Britain which will replicate farm-scale studies being carried out at the company’s main trial locations.

The aim is to thoroughly test development work across a range of different soil types, cultivation techniques and climates.

Particular emphasis is being put on targeted management of wheat varieties, and further trials will cover oilseed rape establishment, companion cropping and cover crops, as well as innovative nutrition and bioscience studies.

The Coldham site, whose soils range from silty clay loam to clay loams, is being managed by Agrovista agronomist Jack Hoyles.

“Having a good soil type to work with and excellent management help from the estate, we expect to demonstrate some exceptional trials,” said Mr Hoyles.

“We will be demonstrating several trials, each representing how new innovations are heading into farming practice.”

“Quite a few fungicides are under pressure, whether from legislation or pathogen resistance, so we see quite a lot of change coming along.

“We are assessing the performance of current fungicide standards against some exciting new chemistry that is due to be introduced by in the next year or two.”

In addition to a late-sown wheat variety strip trial and a fully replicated treated wheat variety trial, the team at Coldham are also investigating whether varieties differ in their response to different tillage regimes, by examining the establishment and development of four varieties either direct-drilled into levelled stubbles or established using more intensive deep tillage.

These plots are being overlaid with a small plot matrix examining a range of fungicide programmes, biostimulants and growth regulators.

Another area will investigate how black-grass fares in late-drilled winter wheat compared with spring-sown barley following an autumn-sown cover crop.

The trials are being monitored using drones to collect information on plant emergence and establishment, and a weather station has also been installed to monitor and record weather ranges and gather data for disease and growth habits.

• The Coldham trials will be demonstrated at an open day in early July. For more information contact jack.hoyles@agrovista.co.uk.

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