Cereals 2024 – regenerative agriculture, bio input demos and liquid fertilizer tech

June 24, 2024

The UK farming show Cereals had a spotlight on regenerative agriculture at the recently held event.

With over 17,500 visitors to Hertfordshire 11-12 June, Cereals 2024 had a regenerative farming theme. The Direct Driller @ Cereals stage tackled questions around the UK’s Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) payment scheme.

Cambridgeshire arable farmer Martin Lines, UK chair at the Nature Friendly Farming Network, told Agri-Hub UK that his farm had assessed how SFI actions could be used to make the whole landscape more productive and profitable.

“I look at the action, like cover cropping for example, then I look at the cost to implement it, as well as what it will deliver to the farm beyond the payment,” he explained. “For example, how it will build soil health – one action might give me significant benefit somewhere else,” he told Agri-Hub.

Mr Lines said he had seen a wealth of benefits from adopting regenerative agriculture. Direct drilling had cut fuel use by up to 65%; he had managed to halve his fungicide use, and produce wheat in some areas with no nitrogen, and he also significantly reduced herbicide use. “Cover crops have sequestered or retained 80-120kg/ha of nitrogen, with manure applications boosting nitrogen by up to 260kg/ha,” reported Agri-Hub.

He is now exploring how new SFI actions will reduce chemical reliance even further. “We’re looking at a winter cover crop, followed by a spring or summer fallow, before a wheat crop,” he said. “I won’t get too much income from it, but it may deal with the weed issues, and I’ll get a very cheap wheat from a low input system.

Soil Fertility Services Ltd had a demonstration plot of winter wheat at Cereals 2024 that used only biological inputs. Robert Law, a soil adviser, from Soil Fertility Services Ltd explained to New AG International how the plot was cultivated and the price comparison with a plot treated with mineral fertilizer. The biological plot (see main image) in this demonstration was approximately one-quarter of the cost of the plot treated with mineral fertilizer based on prevailing prices for small volumes. A yield comparison was yet to be made.

There was also innovation in liquid fertilizer with the emphasis on precision application. Omex Agriculture used the event to launch its new M36+ system based on the company’s new range of Multiflo compound NPK+S liquid fertilisers. Used with a boom of 36 metres or more (hence the name 36+), the liquid fertilizer delivers a stream of fully soluble forms of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulphur for enhanced efficiency and crop uptake.

At its stand, Omex Agriculture had a demonstration boom that showed how nozzle selection is important depending on the input being applied. Multiflo liquid NPK+S fertilizers can be applied through any sprayer, using streambars or standard fertiliser top-dressing nozzles to deliver it to the crop.

Biostimulant company AminoA had a demonstration plot at Cereals 2024. Richard Phillips highlights here to New AG International the density of lower shoots in a rapeseed demonstration plot that was treated with an AminoA product based on amino acids.

New AG International is launching a Regenerative Agriculture conference at its hugely popular Agra ME show in Dubai in October 2024. For more information, here.

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