As harvest approaches, thoughts should be starting to turn to next seasons crops.
Robin Bolton, a Senior Crops Development Adviser at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) points out that one of the earliest decisions to be made is choice of variety for autumn sowing.
He said: “There are many varieties on the market and it can be a confusing job trying to decide on the most suitable variety for your farm. Traditionally at this time of year growers would be offered the chance to visit the local AHDB funded variety trials at AFBI Crossnacreevy and Limavady to see varieties for themselves first hand.
“Obviously this year due to Covid restrictions these will not be possible, but virtual tours are being put together and will be available shortly on CAFRE’s Youtube channel. This year AHDB have also launched two new tools to help growers make decisions on variety choice. These tools use trial information, collated in the AHDB recommended lists, from all across the UK including Northern Ireland.
“The first of these tools is the online Variety Selection tool, available on the AHDB website, which provides a method of identifying the varieties which are best suited to your conditions and priorities.
“With Integrated Pest Management high on the agenda, resistance to pest and disease is becoming an increasingly important attribute in variety choice and the selection tool allows the user to identify the key variety traits they are interested in and also to prioritise them. The system will then filter out the varieties leaving the grower with a short list to choose from the AHDB website.
“The second tool launched by AHDB this year is a Recommended list App which is available on Apple and Android systems and can be downloaded from your App store. The App brings all the information from the recommended lists onto list bookletyour phone or tablet for easy quick reference wherever you are. This will be of particular use this year as many of us will not have had the chance to get a new copy of the recommended list booklet at the trade shows which have had to be cancelled.
“As harvest progresses and this year’s variety trials are cut, yields and performance from this year will be posted in updates on the AHDB website. Additional variety information and data is also available from Dr Lisa Black from AFBI Crossnacreevy via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and your local CAFRE crops development adviser is also available to help.
“Growers would be well advised to order early from their merchant to ensure they get the variety they want, especially where the variety is new on the list, as seed supplies could be more limited this year due to difficult planting conditions in most parts of the UK last year.”
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