As part of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants, CCC have access to over 60 trials that were completed in 2015, looking at a range of questions including variety choice, fungicide inputs, nitrogen strategies and seed rates. This includes the trials done at a local site just South of Chichester, which is kindly hosted by a farmer who is a member of CCC.
Extensive work has been conducted into Blackgrass control, and within CCC we are now planning to look at the use of cover crops and their effect on Blackgrass levels in spring crops. This is something that as Independent Agronomists we feel has been promoted heavily by commercial companies without thorough investigation.
The AICC are also pioneering work into Verticillium Wilt disease in oilseed rape and weed control strategies in rape. This disease can be exacerbated when rape is grown in close rotation, and we were one of 6 sites around the country that looked at disease levels in over 20 commercial grown varieties, with and without fungicide treatment.
Peter Cowlrick, CCC Agronomist and part of the AICC Trials Committee explained: “It is always vital to have current, up to date and accurate trials data to help guide agronomic decisions. Independent, non-Commercial data is also hard to come by at times, so having access to new chemistry and being able to examine alternative techniques puts the AICC at a significant advantage.”
More local work has also been conducted into nitrification inhibitors, applied to the soil to help slow the release of nitrogen and hence prevent leaching. David Jones, CCC agronomist and AICC member conducted two trials looking at this in maize crops with and without manure applications. “There is a real lack of information about these, apart from what the manufacturers provide. I set out to examine the effectiveness of these products under a range of conditions using a proper, fully replicated trial.”
“This year we did not see any obvious yield benefit, however when we assessed the trial with a very high resolution NDVI image taken from a drone, there did appear to be slight difference in crop nitrogen content between some plots. I am looking to repeat the experiment on a large area in 2016 to have another look”, he added.