The drought in the south of England may have ended for the moment, but many crops in the Lothians and Borders have been at the other end of the water stress scale, suffering their own special disease, pest and weed pressures.
With that kind of difference in mind SAC is hosting an open day for farmers and other specialists on Thursday, June 28, at their cereal variety trial sites on Cauldshiel and Gilichriston Farms, Humbie, by Haddington.
According to Dr Fiona Burnett of SAC: “The Scottish experience of cereal growing is very different to that down south, so local trials like these have an added value. The different varieties can be very site specific in their success, that’s why we need a ‘northern’ list of recommended varieties. Farmers will have an opportunity to see how each variety has faired this year.
“They can also compare different crop management programmes in their own local context. The event will also cover issues of crop protection, nitrogen and fertiliser management as well as weed identification and control.”
Spring barley crops are now at the critical risk period for predicting how much ramularia infection will appear later. SAC has just published its risk prediction and the risk of ramularia on spring barley is moderate or high in Scotland this year. Rainfall is only half the story. Cool nights and mornings, where dew lingers in the crop, mean the ramularia can get well established and affects the plant’s growth as harvest approaches.
The open day and tours by small groups of the trial sites, begins on Cauldshiel Farm at 2pm, going on until 6pm. Afterwards visitors return to the start where discussion continues, with hospitality centred around additional poster displays and SAC and HGCA technical literature. SAC acknowledges the support of Scottish Government and HGCA for this activity. BASIS and NRoSO points are available.