Rain is urgently needed to save this season's Northern Ireland potato crop. Stuart Meredith, an agronomist with Wilson's Country potato firm, said a particularly wet autumn, followed by one of the driest springs on record, had caused severe problems that had led to eight months of "absolute extremes for growers".
Farmers up and down Scotland experienced a welcomed heatwave this spring after a wet winter left the majority of the country under water. Unfortunately, the tables have turned and many farmers are now crying out for rain. The drier weather has allowed spring sowing and other field operations to continue largely uninterrupted, which has resulted in early crop planting, with some farmers managing to get up to a month ahead of normal sowing operations.
Growers will be able to identify wheat diseases up to five times faster than conventional crop walking, thanks to the launch this spring of a new mobile phone app which uses drone imagery. The app, named Skippy Scout and developed by technology pioneer firm Drone Ag, aims to pinpoint diseases such as yellow rust and septoria tritici earlier in a crop’s development.
The winter monsoon has given way to a spring drought and the lack of rain is set to affect spring crop establishment, along with winter crops that are in desperate need for nutrition struggling to take up fertiliser sat on the dusty dry soil surface. However, one positive with the dry conditions is the reduced sclerotinia risk in oilseed rape and this may be the year where savings could be made.
Cereal growers are advised to monitor crops closely for wheat bulb fly damage after the first signs of plant invasion were seen in eastern England at the beginning of March. The pest is typically a problem in eastern counties, but can also cause issues in the North, where damage is expected to begin shortly.
IN A bid to support Indian farmers, British experts are on a mission to slash food crop loss in a sustainable way. The UK scientists are working on the most effective way to help farmers in the south Asian country to increase their income by making the most of improved crop post-harvest management and clean, sustainable chilled distribution systems.
All areas of the UK have been affected by the prolonged period of heavy rainfall and now growers are who are struggling with harvesting crops are also facing challenging conditions while trying to plant new season crops. Shane Talling from Veg-UK Ltd which has growers in Kent and Lincolnshire said that in Kent at the moment they are struggling to get into the fields to harvest cauliflower, potatoes and Savoy cabbage.
Sugar beet growers can still achieve effective control of costly weeds in crops without the herbicide desmedipham, although care should be taken as there is a higher risk of crop damage due to the greater reliance on mixing straights. Post-emergence herbicide desmedipham has been the cornerstone of beet weed programs for many years, offering control of key broad-leaved weeds such as cleavers, knotgrass, and fat hen, especially in cooler and drier weather.
Revenue at Agri services group Origin Enterprises fell in the first half of the year, declining almost 14 percent to €604.9 million. The group, which provides specialist agronomy advice, crop inputs, and digital agricultural solutions, reported an operating loss of €2.8 million over the six months to January 31st, 2020.
The cold weather and persistent heavy rain have been causing problems for UK growers for months now, most of the vegetable production is under pressure. Many regions are flooded including Newark, Nottingham, where FreshGro is based. “It is very difficult; we are struggling due to the flooding,” explains Alan Hunt from the company.
Shares in Origin Enterprises slumped over 6% today after it said it was cutting its outlook for the full year to the end of July following the impact of "prolonged and challenging weather conditions" in Ireland and the UK. Origin said that as outlined in a trading update in November, significant rainfall in the UK from September to November meant that the total area for winter crops was expected to be 25% down on the previous year.
With thousands of farmers unable to get onto their land to plant crops following Storm Dennis, farming organisations across the UK are calling for an urgent relaxation of the three-crop rule. The UK Farming Roundtable has called for the Government to grant a derogation from the rule and to broaden the extent of the Farming Recovery Fund to help flood-hit farmers with any uninsurable losses as a result of flooding.
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