New ADAS project is set to ‘drill down’ on upping crop yields

The UK’s largest independent agricultural and environmental consultancy, ADAS, has been awarded European funding for a new yield-boosting project called ‘Drill for Yield’.

The project aims to produce a tool to help farmers maximise yield by optimising plant population and tiller number within cereal crops.

The tool will increase farmer certainty at the time of drilling and help ensure cereal crops get off to a great start.

ADAS is working with two East Yorkshire farmers on this project: Andrew Manfield (Manfield and Knapton) and Peter Southwell (Southwell and Knapton).

‘Drill for Yield’

Drill for Yield will produce a practical, affordable tool that uses remotely sensed measurements of intra-field variation in shoot number and canopy size to create reliable variable seed rate maps for winter and spring cereal crops.

The project will utilise established agronomic and physiological theory to optimise seed rate in order to achieve the necessary shoot number and canopy size required for potential yield across all parts of a field.

It will build upon existing scientific understanding to produce algorithms relating remotely-sensed optical data collected by a drone, with shoot number and other crop canopy traits.

Findings

This information will then be used to describe spatial variation in shoot number and canopy characteristics which will be used to produce variable seed rate maps for following crops.

The findings will then be put to the test in field trials to test and validate the innovative algorithms and seed rate maps.

Drill for Yield will be completed in January 2021.

ADAS has also confirmed that The Yield Enhancement Network (YEN), set up to foster farmer, researcher and industry collaboration to find innovative ways to boost crop yields, has been awarded new funding to test ideas.

Funding under the European Innovation Partnership Scheme has been granted to enable a group of YEN registered farmers to robustly test alternative ways to enhance crop yields using new ADAS Agronomics’ technology.

This grant will enable additional crop trials to be set up to help farmers create on-farm ‘proof’ – a key component for effective interaction with the research community.

Lessons learned through these new crop trials will be widely disseminated for the benefit of all arable producers.

Three ideas chosen by YEN farmer groups will be tested in 2018. These include potash responses on heavy clays, the value of amino acids, and prolonging canopy life during grain filling.