Tuesday, 27 October 2015

SPot Farm at the Harrogate event BP2015

With the crop now loaded into store, we're turning our attention to creating a series of technical summary videos which will be launched at BP2015.

The online resources, viewable on our website will capture the past season at Gravelley Bank and summarise the research behind the in-field demonstrations. They will also highlight some of the observations from the season.

 As well as having a set of technical videos available, on Thursday 12 November, day one of the two day BP2015 event, we will be running a seminar session entitled 'Putting research into practice'. As well as featuring Adrian Cunnington from our Sutton Bridge Crop Storage Research Centre, Dr Philip Burgess will present on the SPot Farm initiative.

Philip will review with delegates the activities which have been underway at this first Farm. A programme of work which has followed the crop through the season and looked at the practicalities and realities of implementing the latest research.

This seminar will be the first opportunity which Philip has to share some of the emerging take home technical messages.

For more information about the seminar programme visit: http://www.bp2015.co.uk/seminars.html

And if you haven't done so already, register now to attend the event for free and for fast tracked entry: http://www.bp2015.co.uk/index.html

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A desiccated SPot Farm crop

Graeme speaking at our July Open Day
With desiccation having taken place, Graeme Ditty, one of James’ agronomists, has provided a short update on the situation in Gravelly Bank.

In determining burn off date, dry matter percentage, the number of floaters in a 18.5% brine solution and the size of crop needed are key factors. In the case of Innovator we’re looking at reaching a dry matter percentage of around 20% with floater numbers in single figures and tuber sizes over 45mm with a total count of less than 65 per 10kg. 

In most cases we would like to see the canopy starting to senesce naturally and Gravelly Bank was starting to senesce when it received its first dose of Diquat. The tuber count was around 40/10kg, dry matter c.21%, with no floaters or defects. The crop was frying with 7 at 00 and 3 at 0. So were good to go. 

With regards to methods of desiccation, we use either a flail and spray technique or more commonly a straightforward chemical desiccant. In the case of the Gravelly Bank Innovator we used a 1L/ha treatment of 200g/l Diquat in a 300L/ha solution which helped open up the canopy so that the stems were more visible and then followed this with a further 3L/ha of 200g/l Diquat in 300L/ha solution 7 days later to finish off the desiccation. 

With both dessication treatments, a tuber blight active fungicide (Fluazinam in this case) was added due to the crop being destined for storage. 

There was plenty of moisture in the ridge at burn-off – sufficient to easily form a ball when squeezed.  
From the initial desiccant application the crop will be left for up to 4 weeks to allow the skins to fully set. So far the approach has been successful with no sign of any regrowth. But we will be keeping a close eye on the crop until its safely in store. 

Elsewhere on the farm, James is in the full swing of lifting, with conditions a little on the dry side in need of a shower. He is expecting harvest of the SPot Farm crop to take place towards the end of the second week of October. Stay tuned to see how things play out.