1. Bee Vectoring Technology: Vectorite powder (CR7), is a beneficial fungus found naturally in the environment that promotes crop health and productivity. The powder is stored on the entrance of bee community hives and is distributed by the bees as they go about their daily business pollinating plants. It helps to prevent disease establishment in plants and is safe to grazing animals.
The company is currently looking at options to bring it to Europe!
2. Mycorrhizal Fungi – A group of organisms that live in a symbiotic relationship with plants. They work for you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for ‘free’ as long as their habitat is well-managed. Numerous biological and chemical mechanisms allow them to use the plant root as a ‘host’ while increasing the water and nutrient uptake efficiency of said plant. Described by RootGrow as a ‘secondary root system’ – a truly sustainable plant nutrition solution. Simple things you can do to improve populations are as follows:
- Soil Health Analysis and Treatment
- Retain and Apply Organic Matter
- Avoid use of Brassica Crops Where Possible
- Include Legumes, Spring Cereals, Linseed in a Smart Rotation
- Use Cover Crops
- Reduce Tillage as Much as Possible
- Once all the above is covered you can use a Mycorrhizal Fungi Inoculate to help raise populations.
Plantworks have a Smart Rotations Document available for free download.
3. Crop Biostimulants – Give plants what they naturally need and reap the benefits. With increasing uncertainty about future chemical legislation, growing public pressure for a more environmentally responsible crop production approach and high input costs, a more considered approach to crop protection needs to be taken.
Start with basic cultural controls, get to know your individual soils with detailed testing and supplement the deficiencies (micro and macro-nutrients, boron and zinc?), then look to biostimulants to help reach yield potential by limiting the effects of biotic and abiotic stress factors.
4. High Flex Tyres – I am aware of many companies with similar products to the following but here are a couple of examples from Michelin (which I have seen demonstrated in person) and Bridgestone. Lower pressure tyres means an increased footprint and therefore traction: the lower the pressure the better. The only constraint was the damage that low pressure used to do to tyres in the field and on the road.
This new breed of tyre however can run at under one bar (roughly 15psi) with no structural damage! Brands vary slightly on their recommendations for minimum pressures depending on weight, ground surface and speed but long story short the pressures are an awful lot lower than was possible before and the results speak for themselves. Go and see a working demonstration with a sand pit: very impressive.
To compliment them and further reap the benefits of optimum tyre pressures, team them up with a Central Tyre Inflation System. Being able to control tyre pressures form the cab helps achieve optimum traction and least compaction in the field, with stability and fuel efficiency on the road . These can be found either fitted from the factory in some cases or an aftermarket kit. For Example.
5. Robotics – Agricultural robots are fast becoming a commercial reality in farming. Reduction of inputs, chemical use and compaction along side increased precision, monitoring systems and efficiency are just some of the many benefits. They are now also starting to make sense financially as the technology is becoming less expensive and the market becomes more competitive. I can see them becoming a common site in the countryside and greenhouses within 5 years. At which point downsides will have no doubt emerged as goes with all new systems. A few of my favourites can be seen in action below.