Monday, 12 June 2017

Demonstration programme at #SPotEast 2017

I’m Teresa Meadows and I am a Knowledge Exchange Manager for AHDB in East Anglia. This year, I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Elveden Farms on the SPot Farm East initiative. I typically work within the Cereals and Oilseeds sector and so I am looking forward to being involved in SPot East and seeing what we can learn from a different part of the arable sector.
Spot Farm activity at Elveden this season
This season we have expanded some of the work we were doing last season and brought in some new focus areas for the trials and demonstrations.
Farm Manager, Andrew Francis, is interested in and has supported the areas being demonstrated this year as they are all relevant to the long-term sustainability of the Elveden business.  And if they’re important to him then you will probably find they’re relevant to you and me as well.
The direct relevance of the SPot East trials for growers and farm businesses, combined with a ‘can do’ innovative attitude is what the initiative is known for and I’m really looking forward to sharing the outputs of this research with you and enjoying the challenging discussions.
This year, the demonstrations will include:
Potato common scab control
This trial will build on the work last year and explore the latest knowledge of irrigation requirments to control common scab with minimal resourse in a challenging environment.
Nitrogen use efficiency under differing irrigation regimes

This was an area of great debate last year. There were many different perspectives on the approproiate nitrogen rate and how effectively it was used.    This year, the trial is looking at applications of N (220kg N/ha) applied in three ways (standard split N, all in the seedbed and placed N) along with different irrigation regimes (standard and over-watered) to see which is the most effective for N uptake in the plant and the minimum losses through the soil profile.   N sensors are in place across the trial to track N movements through the soil and the results will be shared as to the best combination from this research. 

Herbicide demonstration
This is a large scale demonstration of different residual herbicide programmes as applicable to ca. 20 different potato varieties. The demonstration has been redesigned from last year to explore the effects on the potato crop as well as the level of weed control.   With the imminent loss of the widely used residual herbicide, linuron, this trial will be important for future planning future herbicide programmes.  There’s bound to be something for everyone here.

Manipulation of potato tuber numbers
Producing the correct crop specification, including tuber size is essential for grower profitability.  This demonstration, new this year, is looking at ways of manipulating the number of tubers per plant in three different varieties.

Reducing soil run-off and associatated pollution.
We’ve teamed up with a range of partners to look at ways to minimise soil run-off from potato production.   An important aspect of farming within the Cam and Ely Ouse river catchment on the Elveden Estate, this trial will look at ways to minimise diffuse pollution and prevent in-field soil movement.  The tramline disturbance treatments have been applied and it looks to be a really interesting demonstration and trial. Collection and assessment of the soil run-off for each treatment will start soon and we look forward to sharing the results with you.

SPot Farm East Events
Please come along to our events over this season – click on the links below to book your place:

22 June, SPot (East) Elveden Farms, Suffolk - Field Walk
6 July, SPot (East) Elveden Farms, Suffolk - Open Day
3 August, SPot (East) Elveden Farms, Suffolk - Field walk
7th September, SPot (East) Elveden Farms, Suffolk - Field Walk

And if you have a group that might be interested in arranging their own visit to the trials at Elveden Farms, then please do get in contact with me on 07387 015465 or at:
 Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible over the coming season,

Teresa Meadows

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