More to value than gross margin performance
The potential time savings and the operational advantages offered by the CONVISO® SMART system have been enough to convince Sentry director John Barrett that the is more to ALS-tolerant sugar beet than just the opportunity to tackle weed beet.
“Both the contact and residual performance of the CONVISO® ONE herbicide is excellent. Fields are clean, even in a year where conditions have made effective control difficult or protracted to achieve. We will certainly be using the CONVISO® SMART system again for its practical and management benefits,” says Mr Barrett.
Sentry is no different to many other large farming businesses in that its operations often span large geographical areas with parcels of land often located many miles from the main farm. Logistics are therefore an important consideration as are the number of field operations it takes to bring a crop to harvest.
It has the potential to free-up management and operational time for other activities with the potential to improve profitability
“Operational margins are often harder to measure than the cash return, but they exist, and they are significant in understanding the full impact different crops have on business performance,” explains Mr Barrett.
Sentry has sown SMART JANNINKA KWS across three farms in Norfolk and Suffolk for the 2020-21 season with all fields selected because of either high weed pressure, including weed beet, or obstacles that make field operations cumbersome. Achieving weed control with a single application of CONVISO® ONE (foramsulfuron + thiencarbazone) represents a considerable time saving.
“One of the fields we have sown with CONVISO® SMART this season is a 4.5 ha field featuring four telegraph poles. These are a big practical inconvenience so only having to apply one herbicide, rather than three or even four, is not to be overlooked.
“For a commercially orientated business such as Sentry, the advantages of the CONVISO® SMART system are of great value. It has the potential to free-up management and operational time for other activities with the potential to improve profitability.”
Sentry’s interest in the CONVISO® SMART system was initially prompted by the opportunity to bring land back into the rotation that had previously been lost to sugar beet due to a legacy of weed beet issues. But the advantages extend beyond this and measuring the wider benefits such as time and other cost savings became the focus.
In 2018 Sentry trialled a 1-hectare plot of a CONVISO® SMART variety and that experience helped it understand how only applying CONVISO® ONE would be of benefit in another dry season. This year, as in 2018, the CONVISO® SMART crop has shown no signs of checked growth post-herbicide applications in contrast to the regular crop which received a programme of standard post-emergence sprays.
“It may be that the effects of checked growth are more pronounced because of the dry spring, but our experience in 2018 meant we had the confidence to wait until soil conditions were right for the CONVISO® ONE (foramsulfuron + thiencarbazone),” says Mr Barrett.
Soil type has been the biggest factor influencing crop growth this season with those sown on lighter land inevitably suffering a higher degree of drought stress, but despite the dry spring, weed control has been impressive.