British arable producers are looking for particular research and development support in improving cultivation and establishment techniques, optimising crop nutrition and maximising second wheat performance, reveals a major grower study conducted by Masstock SMART Farming this summer to help improve the focus of industry knowledge transfer activities.
Involving nearly 500 farmers and farm managers responsible for a total of 615,000 acres of cropping across the country, the study also highlights widespread demand for better researched-based information and advice on new crop protection chemistry and precision farming.
“Cultivation and establishment techniques, crop nutrition and second wheat performance stand out as the three R&D priorities offering the greatest current farm business value, “ reveals study co-ordinator, David Neale. “They are all identified by 50% of growers or more.
“In each case, a third of growers see better information on new chemistry for crop protection and the benefits of precision farming as especially important, while research into better barley production, making the most of varietal resistance, and GM and other traits are considered valuable by 10% or more (Figure).”
Figure: British Growers Research & Development Support Priorities
Source: Masstock Grower Study, June 2010
Alongside these priorities, the study shows just over 90% of growers seeing Masstock as a valuable resource in helping them improve the profitability of their businesses, just under 90% believing they have worthwhile opportunities for improving their farm nutrition and fertiliser policies, and nearly 60% regarding power generation as a valuable farm opportunity.
“Farmers and farm managers are clearly looking for more, better-focussed knowledge transfer support from our industry,” David Neale stresses. “They want us to address particular concerns and issues with a balance of relevant and accessible scientific studies, practical demonstrations and up-to-the-minute advice.
“This is exactly what we have developed our extensive R&D and SMART Farm network to deliver through detailed crop nitrogen response trials, in-depth variety assessments and wider initiatives like Best of British Oilseeds, amongst other outputs. We are currently developing and extending these so we can meet current grower priorities even more precisely.”
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