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Crop Research News

HGCA technical information delivered straight to your inbox

Crop scientists gearing up for research conference

25 September – London

Momentum is building for the AHDB Crop Research Conference.

The event will explore recent advances in biosciences and how they are being deployed to secure the next generation of crop protection solutions.

Case study: Advances in genomics

Prof Lin Field of Rothamsted Research will discuss how knowledge of insect genomes can be used in crop protection. Delegates will discover how insect genomes can be exploited to screen potential insecticidal molecules, improve understanding of crop defence mechanisms and help understand resistance.

Dr Rick Mumford of Fera will outline how genomics is crucial for developing faster, smarter diagnostics to identify and control crop diseases. Delegates will learn about developments in in-field testing technology which are helping to speed up disease detection and facilitate more timely control.

For further information on the ‘Advances in genomics’ session, along with details of the ‘Population and evolutionary biology’ and ‘Lessons from ecology’ sessions, check out the new speaker abstracts on the dedicated conference page.

An HGCA 'Theory to Field' article on the conference features in this month's Crop Production Monthly. To read the full article, click here (Page 54).

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Latest Harvest Results

With 12 results in for winter barley, yields are 8.46t/ha. This is below the five-year average of 8.73t/ha.

With nine results in for oilseed rape in the East/West region, the gross output average, which takes account of the seed yield and oil content, is 5.37t/ha. This is just below the four-year average of 5.41t/ha.

Full results are available on the HGCA Harvest Results page.

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Kill slugs, not metaldehyde

With slug control treatments to autumn-sown oilseed rape and cereals imminent, the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group (MSG) is promoting the message: ‘kill slugs, not metaldehyde’.

As metaldehyde has been detected in water above limits set for  drinking water, the MSG is advising the following:

  • Use the minimum amount of active substance
  • If drains are flowing or heavy rain is forecast, do not use metaldehyde
  • When the maximum limit is reached (210g active substance/ha*), stop using metaldehyde

To establish if your land is located in an area of high risk of metaldehyde exceedances, visit

HGCA is updating its integrated slug control advice with Potato Council. A new publication, covering slug control in wheat, oilseed rape and potato crops will be available shortly. To register to receive a copy, email

*This is the maximum single application and also the maximum seasonal treatment level from August through to the end of December.

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Resistance status in peach–potato aphids

The pre-harvest issue of HGCA Aphid News included an update on the insecticide resistance status of Myzus persicae.

So far in 2013, a total of 146 peach–potato aphids have been tested from suction-trap catches. Of these, 140 have tested positive for MACE (resistant to pirimicarb) and 137 tested positive for super knock-down resistance (resistant to pyrethroids).

The high level of resistance within aphid populations is contributing to concerns about the loss of protection offered by neonicotinoid seed treaments from 1 December 2013.

For further information, visit

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Wheat bulb fly control

At this time of year, freshly cultivated bare soil provides the ideal opportunity for wheat bulb fly to lay eggs. HGCA’s Wheat bulb fly: risk assessment and control publication includes information on control options.

In the autumn, HGCA will issue results from the HGCA funded survey to provide information on egg numbers in selected high-risk field sites. The data can help indicate the need for seed treatment against wheat bulb fly and egg hatch or dead heart sprays.

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New pests and beneficials publication

HGCA has issued a call to develop a publication on managing pests and beneficials across arable and field crops.

The new encyclopaedia-style publication will update and bring together the latest information that can be used as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy. It will complement other popular publications on weeds and diseases.

The call has been developed in consultation with the Potato Council and HDC to help growers manage pests and encourage beneficials across rotations.

Proposals to conduct the work must be sent to HGCA by 30 August 2013.

For further information, visit

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Integrating black-grass control options

Back in May, HGCA black-grass projects featured in the regular ‘Theory to Field’ series in Crop Production Magazine (CPM). In the article, Richard Hull reflects on the future of winter cropping where resistant black-grass populations increasingly dominate.

In relation to the question of how long to delay drilling, getting at least one flush of black-grass out of the way in the worst fields and using timely application of robust herbicides remains a good response to weed pressure.

With Rothamsted Research tests showing the highest black-grass germination rates since records began in 2001, this year potentially offers a great chance to get the most out of stale seedbeds.

To read the CPM full article, click here (see Page 58).

To view HGCA’s black-grass publications, visit

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Latest on micronutrient requirements

HGCA has published the latest research findings on micronutrient/non-NPKS management.

HGCA Research Review 78 looks at sources of nutrients, occurrence and diagnosis of deficiencies and strategies for avoiding/rectifying deficiencies. As part of the work, more than 400 UK-relevant crop-response experiments were analysed. 

Project Report 518 includes results from15 field-response experiments conducted on soils likely to be deficient in micronutrients. The effect of copper (Cu), manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn) applications to winter wheat at the early stem elongation stage were examined. Sprays were at rates recommended for severe deficiency. Out of the 45 yield-responses results, only two were statistically significant – Zn (in 2010) and Cu (in 2012).

HGCA is evaluating the findings from these projects and plans to issue a new publication to help growers identify when micronutrient applications are most likely to generate a profitable response.

To register to receive a copy, email

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Nutrient management research

HGCA is investing £700,000 in four research projects to help update nutrient management recommendations.

Commencing this autumn and focusing on nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and sulphur (S), the research projects are being managed by ADAS in collaboration with 12 industry partners who will contribute a further £250,000 cash and in-kind support.

James Holmes, Research Manager for crop nutrition at HGCA, stated: “The Fertiliser Manual (RB209) is a crucial source of information. But as farming practices move on, it is essential that nutrient management recommendations keep pace with change. This new work will play a valuable role in updating nutrient management information.”

For further information, read the press release.

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£1.5m investment into feed research

Three new HGCA research projects aim to benefit growers and feed processors by examining the effects of feed quality on animal performance and developing quicker tests for nutritional quality.

HGCA is contributing £650k to the £1.5m research programme, with the additional funding secured from government and industry sources. 

SRUC, NIAB and the University of Nottingham have been awarded £325k to calculate the optimum levels of rapeseed meal in pig and poultry feed. Read more.

The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has been awarded £850k to develop tools to establish the nutritive quality of rapeseed meal and predict heavy metal and mycotoxin levels in Dried Distillers Grains with Solubles (DDGS) offered to UK pigs and poultry. Read more.

AFBI has also been awarded £353k to use near infrared spectroscopy to predict the nutritional value of wheat for broiler chickens and investigate how moisture, Fusarium and Microdochium levels in wheat affect broiler performance. Read more.

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HGCA Grain Market Outlook conference 2013

15 October – London

Redefining resilience: How equipped is the industry to manage future change?

In the wake of last year’s poor quality harvest, the UK arable supply chain has been faced with a succession of weather shocks and difficult autumn plantings. The loss of neonicotinoid seed treatments has also prompted concerns about future access to other key chemical actives in Europe.

But what impact have these events had on UK supply chain resilience? How equipped are farmers and other major players to manage dramatic changes and ‘slower burn’ issues longer term in a global marketplace? What might be the consequences?

Attendees at this year’s HGCA Grain Market Outlook Conference will hear from four experts on the 2013 crop, the inside view on Chinese grain and oilseed markets and thoughts on the long term robustness of the UK arable sector.

For more information or to book your place, click here.

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New Final Reports

HGCA conferences 2013

AHDB Crop Research Conference

Knowing your enemy – the future of crop protection

25 September – London

Book now.

HGCA Grain Market Outlook Conference 2013

Redefining resilience: How equipped is the industry to manage future change?

15 October – London

Book now.

HGCA Agronomists' Conference

The latest developments from HGCA’s research programme

10 December – Peterborough

Book now.

See HGCA at...


30-31 October – Peterborough

UK Grain

6 November – Peterborough

Grain sampling champion wanted (and win tickets to UK Grain)

Accurate sampling is vital at each stage of the grain supply chain to help reduce waste and minimise charges, claims and rejections.

HGCA is launching a new guide to promote best sampling practice in time for this year’s UK Grain event.

To assist with the launch, we are looking for examples of where sampling has helped to guarantee a premium, lower haulage costs or settle a dispute.

If you have an appropriate example and would like it to feature in HGCA promotional material, contact:

If featured, you will get two tickets for the UK Grain event which takes place on 6 November.

Pick up the publication at HGCA's interactive grain sampling exhibit (Stand 1G).

AgriFood ATP Training Forum event

11 September – Cranfield University

This HGCA-supported event will showcase the latest AgriFood ATP training opportunities and policy and scientific developments in the agrifood sector.

The forum includes speeches from leading professionals, including Defra’s James Dancy, who will discuss the government's newly published Agricultural Technologies Strategy. In addition, economist Sean Rickard will consider the economic challenges facing the agrifood sector.

For further information about this free event, click here.

Fife to host Arable Monitor Farms

Two Fife farms have been selected as the next generation of Arable Monitor Farms in a long standing programme which has evolved into a joint venture between HGCA and Potato Council.

Danny and Alison Milne from Demperston Farm, Auchtermuchty, and neighbour John Weir at Lacesston Farm in Gateside, will come together for the next three years in the new project, starting this autumn.

To find out more about the project, including details on each farm, read the press release.

Global harvest news

AHDB's Market Intelligence team are providing regular updates of how harvest is progressing in the main grain growing areas.

Check out the HGCA Market News page for more information.

Harvest Toolkit

mycotoxins Mycotoxin risk assessment
passport Grain passport
grain storage guide Grain storage guide
grain sampling Grain sampling guidelines
grain Grain sampling worksheet 
calculator Safe storage time calculator
checklist Cereal seller's checklist
checklist Oilseed seller's checklist
wheat prices Latest market news and prices
wheat prices Harvest Results


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