SOYL newsletter May 2017
1. Blackgrass mapping reaches new heights
Managing blackgrass efficiently and effectively is vital. As few as 12 blackgrass plants/m2 can lead to a potential 5% yield loss, and if the population reaches 500 plants/m2, yields are cut in half.
By understanding the scale of the problem in each field, control is possible. SOYL’s new aerial blackgrass mapping service enables growers to identify the extent of any blackgrass issues and manage them more efficiently.
Mapping the presence of blackgrass is a recognised and important step in getting on top of herbicide-resistant pressure. SOYL’s new imagery and digital application maps can help growers:
• Better understand the problem and plan targeted whole-farm chemical and cultural control options
• Identify the biggest issues so that rotations and crop choices can be planned accordingly
• Make informed decisions on drilling time and seed rates
• Monitor problematic areas which may need to be sprayed in spring, or target patch spraying within the field.
A manned aircraft maps blackgrass at around 200ha/hour. With added altitude, range and speed, coverage is greater than with an unmanned aerial vehicle and more cost effective. Ideally, target fields are flown in late May to June when the flag leaf is out and blackgrass is clearer to identify.
The high resolution imagery is processed and made available via MySOYL, showing where blackgrass is present within fields. Custom application maps can then be created for patch spraying or selective herbicide application to control or destroy blackgrass areas. A MySOYL account is needed to utilise the full features of the mapping service.
To find out more, speak to your local SOYL or Frontier contact or call 01635 204190.
2. Summer workshops coming soon
Following the success of our Winter Workshops which were attended by over 700 growers, 11 events will be held across the country in the coming months. SOYL’s experts will be on hand to help growers with tasks such as creating custom application files in MySOYL and working with multiple imagery and mapping layers as well as providing tips on how to get the best out of the system.
Simon Parrington, SOYL’s commercial director, said, “We aren’t exhibiting at Cereals this year but are instead investing in a nationwide tour of training sessions. The focus on customer training at these summer events will help growers to get the best out of their software and precision agronomy tools.”
Frontier 3D thinking demonstration site open days: Frontier is also organising a series of events this summer across the UK and SOYL will be supporting at these. To find your local event, see what's planned and book your place visit Frontier's website.
3. Variable depth cultivations offer significant savings
Field scale trials of SOYL’s variable depth system have shown fuel savings of 5-10%, achieved by adjustments which make best use of the implement across the field. As the system will also help to improve soil structure, reduce machinery wear and boost work rates, using scan data to adjust depths really pays off.
While soil scan conductivity data is primarily used to alter seed rates by soil type, the data can also be used to create other types of application maps. With the ability to create maps in the farm office, growers have more flexibility to control how deep a cultivator or subsoiler operates based on scan data, soil compaction or working conditions and previous or current cropping.
Using the new custom applications feature of MySOYL, newly created or existing soil zones can be used to set a working depth based on how the field looks below the surface in each zone. From a field research dig, growers can allocate a specific work depth for each condition and once satisfied with the plan, the map can be exported to iSOYL or a GPS system such as John Deere Greenstar. This links to SOYL’s AutoDepth control on the cultivator or subsoiler to operate variably at only the depth needed in each area of the field.
For more details on SOYL AutoDepth, speak to your local SOYL or Frontier contact or call 01635 204190.
4. Custom applications tool opens up new opportunities for precision
Managing applications is now a straighforward task with a new ‘custom applications’ feature in MySOYL. The tool enables growers to generate variable rate or on/off rate control plans for various products, such as slug pellets, Avadex or herbicide sprays.
For example, using the principle that heavier soils generally attract greater slug pressure and with further ground-truthed evidence from slug traps, applications can be targeted according to actual and potential pressure, using different rates which still comply with maximum application of active metaldehyde content across a field.
Once a plan of action has been decided, growers can use the custom applications function to zone fields accordingly. Buffer strips can be included within the application map based on legislative requirements, such as those for spreading near watercourses, to reduce risk of contamination and show compliance. A simple on/off feature can also be set up so that product is only applied away from restricted areas, which is especially useful for novice operators or contractors.
Data from iSOYLscout and personal field knowledge can also be incorporated to set up simple application zones, for example to apply Avadex only where blackgrass is present or likely. As well as targeting the issue more effectively, this will help to reduce product costs and ultimately the cost of production per hectare.
Custom applications is part of the MySOYL platinum package. For more information, speak to your local SOYL or Frontier contact or call 01635 204190.