SOYL newsletter June 2017
1. Precision soil sampling
Precision soil sampling for the first time provides a new base line for calculations. Where the process has been conducted before, SOYL can return to the exact same sample location from three or four years ago to accurately establish new levels.
When sampling is complete, results are discussed with your SOYL area manager, taking into account past fertiliser applications to establish progress and create an action plan for the next four seasons. For example, if the previous approach didn’t achieve your required index target or your fertiliser policy has changed, you can decide on the best approach together. Once agreed, a new set of 2018 cropping recommendations can be generated ready for the next crop application in autumn 2017 or spring 2018. Comparing the data layers from the different versions of sampling combined with soil type and yield knowledge allows a customised nutritional policy for each farm.
The sampling process is also a valuable opportunity to establish trace element and organic matter levels in each field. It’s possible to sample by field zone or per field and the SOYL team can take additional cores to provide this extra analysis when carrying out the remapping sampling. Often overlooked in soil sampling regimes, trace elements such as manganese and zinc Ca have considerable agronomic impact on your crops and are worth measuring.
Bookings are now being taken for sampling this autumn. To find out more about precision soil sampling, or analysing organic matter and trace element levels, speak to your SOYL or Frontier contact or call 01635 204190.
2. Soil conductivity scanning provides more than drilling data
New uses for electro-conductivity (EC) soil scanning could help with cultivations when drilling begins this autumn.
SOYL’s variable rate seed service has used EC scan data for over ten years and in combination with ground truthing, can be used to generate a map of soil type, depth and stone content to give truly accurate establishment maps.
However, EC data can now be used to help identify where soils are shallower or variable over different subsoil depths to allow for differing cultivation techniques. By altering depths by a few centimetres in the same field using SOYL’s AutoDepth cultivation system, it’s possible to make significant fuel savings. Making adjustments based on known data relies on digging some trial pits to establish depth range, but knowing what is happening below ground with a few spade depth holes can soon pay dividends.
While data from previous EC scans can be used to control a cultivator, on-the-move scanning with the Topsoil Mapper system offers even more accuracy. Measuring to four depths (0-10cm, 0-20cm, 0-30cm and 0-40cm), the Topsoil Mapper can determine soil type and moisture of the field with each pass, adjusting the cultivator or subsoiler accordingly. This data can also be recorded to help build up a soil trend map for other uses later in the farming year, such as variable rate drilling.
Soil trend data, either in raw format or ground truthed, can also aid in planning blackgrass control, targeting slug pellets, identifying areas which may need more irrigation or to confirm soil types which may affect variety choice or cultivation method within the rotation.
3. Subscribe to the new SOYL blog
SOYL’s new ‘Making Every Hectare Count’ blog was launched earlier this month, providing another source of useful and interesting precision advice and information for growers.
Members of SOYL’s expert team will share regular posts to keep you up to date with the latest precision news, including new products and services, events, trials data, precision tasks currently underway out in the field and answers to common and interesting queries from growers.
Posts to date include a welcome and introduction from commercial director, Simon Parrington and an overview of summer training events. Read them here.
To receive an email alert when new posts are published, sign up for email notifications here.
4. Talk to the experts at summer events
The events season is upon us and our last summer training sessions took place this week. Offered for the first time this year, the events were designed to help SOYL customers get more from MySOYL and were well received.
There is still time to meet your local experts and discuss the benefits and practicalities of precision crop production.
Visit our events page for details of
· Frontier’s remaining 3D Thinking site open days
· National organic combinable crops conference
· Turriff Show
· Black Isle Show
· Dumfries County Show