SOYL Newsletter March 2014

1. Spring nitrogen advice

Satellite images are now available across the UK, allowing variable rate application of nitrogen.

The end of March is approaching and it will soon be time to start thinking about how to manage final applications on winter oilseed rape. For this last dose, growers are advised to revisit Canopy model 1. This means the Leaf Area Index (LAI) of the crop is reanalysed and the model can calculate how much nitrogen is needed to achieve the optimum canopy size of 3.5 LAI as well as a target yield. The maps below show an example of a final application for a forward block of winter oilseed rape.

maps for enews

These maps show that the average LAI amounts to 3.4. To achieve the optimum canopy size of 3.5 LAI, an average of 8.3kg N/ha will be applied. The final application also allows the farmer to work towards a target yield. This yield objective can be stated into the parameters box of Canopy Model 1. The nitrogen map above works towards a yield of 4.5 t/ha. As 1 tonne over the standard 3.5t/ha, the model will apply 60kg N.

By allowing the model to run freely with no parameters (min or max values) it will show a true reflection of the crop’s nitrogen requirements. As can be seen by the nitrogen application scale above, 25% of the field only needs 44kg N/ha to achieve the optimum canopy size and target yield. This allows the farmer to make a nitrogen fertiliser saving. Alternatively, the target yield for this application could be increased to 5t/ha to make use of this extra fertiliser.

SOYLsense user Simon Beddows, of Phillimore Farms, has seen good results: “The SOYL system has allowed us to get a more consistent yield from some very variable soil types and very variable fields. We’ve definitely had a positive payback.” To learn more about SOYLsense and hear more feedback, click here.

Satellite imagery is available now to help boost your yields by at least 3%. Call SOYL to discuss our special first year user offer.

If you have any questions about creating nitrogen plans or would like someone to produce the application files for you, please call the SOYLsense team on 01635 204198.

2. Linking precision farming to agronomy at Precision Farming 2014

Surging interest in the merits of precision farming ensured an excellent turnout at Precision Farming 2014 – The Technology Event for UK farming at Peterborough Arena, Peterborough on Wednesday 5th March.

Stuart Campbell for enews

The event was sponsored by SOYL and included a seminar presented by Frontier agronomist Stuart Campbell. Titled 'Linking precision farming to agronomy', Stuart provided an insight into the practical solutions and benefits of precision farming.

Using P. A. Porter’s farming business at The Grange, West Newton near Hull as an example, Stuart highlighted how 16 years of precision farming at The Grange has shown the value of gathering information over a number of seasons to better understand the cause of infield variations. Correctly interpreting the data collected is crucial, making the role of the agronomist so important.

“Performance mapping generates a lot of data and can be difficult to draw conclusions from. But SOYL can overlay those maps and identify areas that are consistently underperforming, so the agronomist can then go and have a look at why that is happening and develop a sensible response.”

The result can be a progressive season-by-season move to more consistent yields. A farm near Coldstream with just a few years of mapping and variable applications still shows some repeatedly lower yielding areas, for example. By contrast, Mr. Porter’s farm produces far more even crops after 16 years of mapping and variable inputs. “That tells me that what we are doing is working, lifting the poorer performing areas using the different techniques.”

To read more on Stuart’s presentation, please click here.

3. SOYL Winter Workshops

Growers learned about the latest precision crop production advice and techniques, including how to make the best use of PK maps and the potential of drones, at SOYL’s recent series of winter workshops.

WW for enews

tweets for enews

Demonstrated by practical examples and SOYL customer case studies, the sixteen events across England and Scotland were a huge success, with over 1,000 growers and advisors attending.

Feedback from growers via Twitter included:

Planning is already underway for the winter 2014/15 series, which will be the fifth consecutive year that the free workshops have been held. For advance notice of dates when they are confirmed, please call 01635 204190 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

4. MySOYL update

The MySOYL website has been updated to include:

Importing and viewing of multiple years of yield data, from all combines
Performance mapping - SOYL can create an aggregation of your yield data to view trends across fields over time
Viewing of soil type and establishment data layers for seed management
Updated and more intuitive navigation
Improved seed task management with archive feature.
There will be further developments and features for MySOYL over the coming months, including online PK and lime recommendations, enhanced print features and yield data layering.

yield mapping within mysoyl

MySOYL allows customers quick and easy access to all their precision crop production data, anytime, anywhere. It is available to all SOYL customers and is free to access; just contact your local representative or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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

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