SOYL newsletter September 2016
1. Autumn precision reminders
Variable rate drilling of oilseed rape and wheat in autumn is a well known method of boosting efficiency and yields on farm, but many other precision techniques can be used to improve crop production in the coming weeks:
- Lime – make sure variable rate lime recommendations have been completed for acid sensitive barley. Granular lime maps can also be made for application in crop.
- Phosphorus – check nutrient maps for low indexes (0 or 1). These crops will benefit from P application in the seed bed or soon after drilling.
- Slug pellets – pellets can be applied variably based on soil type maps. SOYL research on slug trapping has shown the positive correlation between conductivity maps and slug populations.
- Black-grass management – increase seed rates automatically across black-grass patches to help crops outcompete the weed.
- Variable depth cultivations – calculating the best depth for cultivation based on the plastic limit of different soil types optimises soil structure and saves fuel.
- Drilling trials and learning blocks - to find the optimum seed rate on a particular soil type, yield mapping can be used to set up a simple automated in-field trial that is easy to analyse at harvest.
2. Topsoil Mapper demonstrates its value at Tillage Live
Growers visiting Tillage Live were able to see the first working demonstration of SOYL’s new Topsoil Mapper earlier this month.
Working on the heavy Warwickshire soils at Monks Kirby, the Topsoil Mapper controlled the AUTOdepth equipped 5 leg subsoiler from Plowmans in real time by sensing the soil immediately in front of the tractor and sending a depth signal to the cultivator behind. In just the short distance across the demonstration plot, the Topsoil Mapper reduced the cultivation depth by 40mm, significantly reducing the tractor draft and maintaining a good surface finish.
Further developments of the Topsoil Mapper were also on show as the sensor itself was integrated into the front ballast of the tractor. This approach enabled the cultivator/tractor combination to remain well balanced whilst protecting the sensor during work.
To discuss the benefits of the Topsoil Mapper for your farm, please speak to your local SOYL contact or call 01635 204190.
3. Check establishment rates with iSOYLscout app
With drilling underway, now is the ideal time to capture establishment data from the field using iSOYLscout. The recently launched app makes it simple to record, monitor and review a range of in-field issues and variations throughout the season.
Variable rate seed plans allow growers to vary seed rates to produce an even stand of plants even though the establishment rate might vary from 50-90% within the same field. This means that a seed rate for wheat might vary by as much as 100 kg/ha.
SOYL’s experience of ground truthing soil types gives a plant establishment figure for every soil type across the field and this can be adjusted by measuring the actual establishment in the field. Using the iSOYLscout app together with a SOYL quadrat, plant counts can be recorded in the field for comparison with planned establishments to fine tune the service for future years. iSOYLscout also has a feature to record a photo at each point, so the quadrat can be photographed and the plants counted in the office at a later - and maybe warmer -date!
iSOYLscout is free to download from the App Store for iPad and iPhone. A MySOYL subscription is required to upload data.
To request your SOYL quadrat and find out more about how iSOYLscout could help your business, contact your area manager or call SOYL on 01635 204190.
4. Meet Elin Bentall
As growers check nutrient levels in their soils ahead of autumn drilling, SOYL's mapping team leader, Elin Bentall, tells us more about herself.
“I joined SOYL just before harvest in 2014, so I was quickly thrown in at the deep end when peak season arrived for the mapping team! It was a steep learning curve with a lot of learning on the job as I picked up each element of the role during the busiest months. I've also spent some time helping the SOYLsense team with customer recommendations during the busy spring nitrogen season which helped me learn more about how SOYL works with growers to make the most of their business.
The mapping team spends a lot of time communicating with the SOYL sales team to deliver the best possible service for customers, from answering general queries and requests about specific mapping jobs to developing the PK mapping packs we give to customers.
Our day to day duties include booking in and processing lab results, producing nutrient maps to show soil variation, quality checking and making sure our services are delivered as efficiently as possible.
I enjoy working for SOYL in the niche environment of precision farming and knowing I'm making a positive contribution to this exciting and innovative area.”
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @SOYLprecision for regular updates on soils, nutrients, machinery and GPS.