New products and launches at Cereals

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Visitors to the first day of the Cereals Event at Thoresby Estate, Newark, were treated to a wide range of new product and campaign launches. Here we pull together a few of the main announcements.

Kicking off the day was the NFU launch of the 2023 #YourHarvest campaign. Though the campaign has been prolific on social media since its inception, this year the NFU is specifically focusing on TikTok, in a bid to help build a positive connection between farmers and the younger generation, explained Matt Culley, NFU combinable crops board chair. “We’ve been running this campaign for quite a few years now and it’s helped connect the arable industry, through social media, to different generations and different types of people.

“We’re focusing on TikTok this year because we want to try and specifically target under 35s. This is the connection we don’t believe is quite there yet in terms of food production.”

The campaign will run through the summer and into the autumn. Mr Culley urged farmers to get involved by capturing their harvest journeys and stories – both positive and negative – to showcase the width and breadth of harvest in the UK. If they tag it on TikTok with the #YourHarvest hashtag, it will also be shared across the NFU’s own TikTok channel.

KWS varieties

KWS debuted two new candidate wheat varieties in its crop plots, adding new options for Group 3 and Group 2 growers.

KWS Skateum is KWS’ latest Group 3 variety, with KWS Firefly in its parentage. It offers growers a short, stiff-strawed type with the potential for distilling markets too, explained the firm’s Mark Dodds. “It’s an early type, with good yellow rust and midge resistance, as well as a score of 6 for septoria.”

For Group 2 growers, KWS Dragum showcases the ‘next level’ of yield potential in this group, added Mr Dodds. Boasting a yield score of 104 in the East, Dragum is a Zyatt x Podium x Costello cross with a good agronomic package, offering a score of 9 for yellow rust. “It is short, stiff and early, with good specific weight and Hagberg. So growers should be able to get it into the shed nicely at harvest,” he said.

These varieties sit alongside newly recommended soft Group 4 KWS Zealum and Group 2 KWS Ultimatum, which are entering the market this year.

Also on the horizon is a new barley named B157, which is currently in NL2 trials, said Kirsty Richards, cereals product manager. “It’s a Tardis x Paloma cross and it looks like the next big thing – it’s currently the joint highest yielding in the NL trials.”

Corteva hybrid rapeseed

Also on the variety front, visitors to the Corteva stand were given a first look at a new hybrid winter oilseed rape from Pioneer Seeds. Named PT312, the variety is the second ‘Protector Sclerotinia’ type in the Pioneer stable – a trait which is claimed to arm growers with tolerance to the yield-robbing disease sclerotinia – and also boasts TuYV resistance, stiff straw and high oil content.

BASIS training to reduce emissions

Keen to help keep growers up to date with the industry drive to reduce its carbon footprint, BASIS used the Cereals Event to launch a brand-new online course aimed at educating and informing those in the industry about the opportunities to reduce agricultural emissions.

The course, ‘Principles of Carbon and Net Zero’, has been released as part of a series of new environmental training opportunities. It will cover areas including storage and sequestration, as well as how to calculate carbon footprints and strategies for moving towards net zero.

“Knowledge, skills and understanding are often the first essential components that lead to effective action and progress in the implementation of measures on the ground,” said Teresa Meadows, head of environment, audit and public affairs.

Spray Operator of the Year

Northamptonshire-based Mark Jelley was crowned the 2023 winner of the coveted Syngenta Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year (FSOOTY) competition on day one of the event.

Mr Jelly is the lead sprayer operator at Brixworth Farming and is responsible for the spraying of 1,500ha of combinable crops at the farm, as well as 500ha under contract farming agreements, with his 5,000-litre Chafer Interceptor self-propeller sprayer which runs on a 36m boom width.

Mr Jelley was a finalist in 2019, but decided to give it another go this year, and commented that it was a further opportunity to improve his knowledge and skill set.

Making the presentation at the event, Syngenta application specialist, Scott Cockburn said: “In one of the largest entries in recent years, this year’s finalists highlighted that experience counts – since all of them had made the shortlist before.

“Everyone in the industry is aware of how the application of plant protection products is under constant scrutiny. That’s why highly skilled, qualified and expert operators, who take their continuous professional development seriously, hold such an important position on farms.”

  • The two-day event was held at a new site this year – Thoresby Estate in Nottinghamshire – on 13-14 June.