The wet weather experienced by many growers across the UK has led to reduced drilled areas of winter cereals, difficult conditions for established crops and many questions being raised about impacts on yields.

In response to these testing times, a ‘Spring Cereal’ category has been added by the Yield Enhancement Network to encourage growers to continue to engage with and support the initiative which has been running since 2012. All cereal crops drilled after 31st January will be eligible for this category. The calculated yield potential for the season will reflect the later drilling date of these crops. A separate category for spring barley which was initiated in 2018 will continue to run as well.

In terms of gathering data from crops in the 2019-20 season, much could be learnt from challenging situations, providing opportunities to continue to improve our understanding of yield and explanation of the variation gained through the YEN. Daniel Kindred, head of Agronomics at ADAS highlights that “The aim of the YEN is to understand variation in performance at all levels – and therefore despite the reduction in yield potential for many crops, there is still a lot of value to be had in engaging with the YEN”. By joining YEN, farmers and agronomists have an opportunity to develop their understanding of what is limiting yield, and how these limitations are explained in terms of key metrics. Lessons from this season could help our understanding of how we help crops to be as resilient as possible in less extreme situations.

Sarah Kendall, Crop Physiologist comments that “we recognise that this season has provided many challenges for farmers in terms of establishing crops and those crops that were drilled experiencing periods of waterlogging. Crops that have succumbed to restricted rooting and tillering will need careful management to minimise further reductions in yield potential due to reduced light and water capture”.

Growers interested in entering crops into the YEN for 2020 should visit the YEN website where they can download an entry pack. By entering the drilling date of your crop, this will ensure it is correctly categorised for the competition.

There are YENs now operating for Oilseed Rape, Beans, Peas and Grass – please visit our website for more information on these crops.