SOYL Newsletter December 2014

1. Variable rate drilling boosts spring crop yields

A recent SOYLseed trial on a spring barley crop showed a yield benefit when using variable rate drilling compared to flat rate.

A 23 hectare field was chosen to compare variable rate seed with a uniform control strip drilled at one rate. The field consisted of an east facing slope made of shallow soils over chalk or flint and a slight plateau on the west side of heavier soil and some clay cap.

The field was zoned according to soil type using conductivity to map the soil boundaries. A seed rate was allocated to each soil type with chalkier or heavier soils receiving a higher seed rate. The uniform control strip was selected to cut across as many soil types as possible in the field as shown in the map below (click to enlarge). Seed rates are in kg/ha.

Dec news - SOYLseed maps2

A comparison of the effect of the variable seed rate with the uniform control strip was measured using the farmer’s yield map. The distribution of all the yield data in the field is shown in the graph. The variable rate yield averaged 0.2 t/ha more than the control strip.

To book spring cropping in for SOYLseed or to learn more about the service, please call the office on 01635 204190 or speak to your local SOYL contact.

Dec news - SOYLseed offer

2. Start planning for variable rate nitrogen applications

Variable rate nitrogen applications are becoming increasingly popular following the improved yields and reduced variation of harvest 2014.

With spring on the horizon, the SOYLsense team is now busy taking bookings for the variable rate nitrogen service and setting up accounts ready for the first applications in early February.

Dec news - SOYLsense logo

SOYLsense uses satellite imagery to identify crop biomass to apply nitrogen at optimum rates across a field, managing variation and pushing yields and protein levels. Throughout the season, intensive acquisitions are planned to ensure that every time there is a clear spell over Britain, an image is captured. At the same time, a team of SOYLsense calibrators is also out in the field collecting data, which is used to convert the raw satellite image into a Leaf Area Index (LAI) map.

The service is managed through a website which allows farmers full control of their nitrogen plans. For those who are short on time, a dedicated SOYL team is available to create recommendations and offer advice and support.

Dec news - SOYLsense quote2

The first satellite images will be available in January, ready for initial applications on winter oilseed rape. Please ensure you send cropping plans to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in good time to enable your account to be set up ready for the creation of nitrogen plans.

If you haven’t previously used SOYLsense and would like to learn more or sign up, please call the SOYLsense team on 01635 204198 or speak to your local SOYL contact.

3. Winter Workshops 2014-15

Over 250 growers have already attended this year’s Winter Workshops and with another 13 still to go ahead, there are plenty of opportunities to attend.

Dec news - WW

To find an event near you and book your free place, register here or email your details to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Forthcoming workshops include:

6th January - Peterborough
7th January - Colchester
12th January - Cheltenham
16th January - Knebworth
19th January - Dingwall
27th January - Berwick Upon Tweed
BASIS and NRoSO points are available for attendees at the events in England.

Other dates for the diary in 2015 include:

21st – 22nd January
LAMMA, East of England Showground, Peterborough, Cambs.
4th March
Precision Farming, Newark Showground, Newark, Notts.
10th – 11th June
Cereals, Boothby Graffoe, Lincs.

4. Meet Gavin Campbell

This month we would like to introduce Gavin, a member of the SOYLsense team.

“I have been with SOYL for just over two years now. I’ve worked with various departments during that time; experience on the logistics, nutrient mapping and recommendations teams has given me a good knowledge of different precision farming techniques, which makes it easier to help growers and resolve issues.

Dec news - Gavin Campbell

As a member of the SOYLsense team, there is plenty of variation and challenge. We’re currently setting up customer accounts on the self-serve website and sourcing cropping information. This ensures that there is no delay when conditions are right for that vital first nitrogen application in the spring. The team is also involved in technical updates and training to make sure we understand how and when to use each nitrogen model and advise growers with confidence.

Once the season is in full swing, I talk to growers on a regular basis to make sure that their applications are suitable for them and their farm. With every farm and field being different, these discussions are essential so that the plans we create in the office, or that they create for themselves, work well for each individual case.

I’m also part of the support team for MySOYL, our online farm management tool. I enjoy getting growers started on the site and showing them how to view their nutrient and seed data.

I’ll be helping out at some of the SOYL winter workshops this year too, so I’m looking forward to meeting some of our growers in person.”

Christmas wishes from SOYL 


We would like to thank you for your continued custom and wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter @SOYLprecision for regular updates on soils, nutrients, machinery and GPS.



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