The new Cereals site, for the June 2023 event, at the picturesque Thoresby Hall in Newark recently held a meeting of exhibitors where they were given the opportunity to discuss and share plans for the event, as well as inspect the progress of their crop plots.
Jonathan Backhouse, arable project manager, was extremely positive about the new event site due to its accessibility, available facilities and scenic setting. He also said: “The easy-working sandland makes for straightforward crop establishment and a free-draining show site, however, the flip-side of this means we could find ourselves watering regularly if we see drought-like conditions again next spring – fortunately Thoresby has excellent infrastructure in place for irrigation.”
New and returning exhibitors will be attending the event, meaning the crop plot area is larger than at the previous event. Vulnerable crops have been protected with netting and fencing to ensure pest damage is minimalised and all crops are able to grow successfully. Many of the crop plots are being managed by Ceres Rural’s farm management consultant and agronomist, Will Davies, who has been pleased with how well they have done so far.
He said: “As an agronomist, Cereals is a good opportunity to see all of the varieties in one place and grown under the same conditions. You can’t always get out to breeders’ crop plots. By seeing the varieties, you get an idea of what they look like under real conditions, not just reading statistics from the Recommended List.”
The Syngenta Sprays and Sprayers arena will be particularly interesting at the new site, he added. “It’s not a flat field, so you’ll be able to really see how well the booms follow the contours, which will be useful.”
What can visitors expect from the crop plots at next year’s event?
KWS: Crops will be grown in a wheel layout, with winter wheat and barley, spring wheat and barley, sugar beet, oilseed rape, rye and spring oats. Spring milling wheats KWS Ladum and Alicium will also be in the ground.
DSV: A range of products will feature, including Champion winter wheat and Oxford, which has a more consistent yield, stiffer straw and good resistance to both yellow rust and orange wheat blossom midge. Loxton milling wheat will also be grown. Farmers will be able to view a range of Clearfield oilseed rape varieties, including Beatrix, a new unnamed high-yielding variety, and the hybrid Dolphin.
Natural England: On show will be conservation mixes, regenerative farming and soil health, with enhanced autumn and winter bird seed mixes, pollinator mixes, and cover crops. These will include a clover living mulch for undersowing cereals, maize and oilseed rape. Farmers will also be able to view deep rooting radishes and discover how cover and companion cropping can protect soils from compaction, erosion and other damage. Visitors to the stand will be able to collect BASIS points.
LSPB: Vegas, Murray and Flemming, which are new to the Recommended List, as well as some unnamed varieties still in the national listing process will be available to view. Peas and beans will also be planted, including Carrington and Yukon, a spring bean with very early maturity for growers further north.
PGRO: Cultural pest management will be PGRO’s focus this year. It will feature vetch, lucerne and winter bean trap crops, sown alongside spring beans to attract damaging beetles. It will also have pheromone traps.
Optiyield: One set of plots is being taken right through to harvest as a working replicated trial. Optiyield has a 40x15m site split into two 15x15m squares with four replicated treatments, including a control. It will be comparing applying Consortium Plus, a mix of beneficial soil microbes and biostimulants, with or without foliar nutrients and biostimulants throughout the growing season. The control will receive a standard fertiliser programme.
Rothamsted Research: Some of the Watkins lines of wheat – grown from samples collected in the 1920s – will be available to view in the ground at the Rothamsted plot. The organisation is also looking at herbal leys, cover crops and reduced tillage to build soil carbon, in order to give practical advice to farmers looking to implement such techniques.
Premium Crops: A range of alternative crops at will be on show at Premium Crops’ site, including spring and winter linseed, high omega 3 varieties, high erucic acid rapeseed, high protein spring wheat, naked oats and spelt. There will also be a cover crop mix chosen as a precursor to spring linseed or canary seed.
Syngenta: Syngenta’s stand will feature the birds and bees pollination mix, low and no-till cultivation trials on its varieties, a new BYDV tolerant hybrid barley and a new winter bread-making wheat. Visitors can also see malting barleys and a winter barley with malting potential. The company will be unveiling findings from the nitrogen reduction and nitrogen use efficiency work with hybrid barleys and farmers can also take a look at its new 3D90 nozzle. The Farm Spray Operator of the Year Award will be presented at the event, for which applications are now open.
Panel – the new site: Hosting the Cereals Event for the first time in 2023, the Thoresby Estate comprises 4,860ha, of which 3,400ha is farmed in-hand. The rest is a mixture of commercial forestry, natural forest – including Sherwood Forest’s Major Oak – and let farms. The site has a nine-crop rotation as well as being home to 120 Longhorn cows plus followers, 250 Hebridean and Greyface Dartmoor sheep and 1100 Mule crosses. The facilities at the site are a real draw – camping, holiday cottages, a hotel, riding hall and walled garden for ancillary events with the capacity to also host concerts, food festivals, ploughing matches and other outdoor events.”
As in 2022, Cereals is donating 50% of the ticket sales to charity and the 2023 recipient has been chosen by the Pierrepont family who are hosting the event at Thoresby. A charity set up by a member of the family, the Multiple System Atrophy Trust raises awareness of the disease and looks for treatments and cures.
Sufferers and their families are invited to plant oaks in Sarah’s Wood on the estate and are welcome back to rest and reflect. The charity will be holding a special fundraiser at Cereals, further details to be announced.
The Cereals Event will be held near Newark, Nottinghamshire, on 13-14 June 2023. For more information visit www.cerealsevent.co.uk.
You can hear Matthew Tilt speak with the exhibitors in the first part of a two-part Machinery Matters below: