Maximising rotations – the Scottish experience
On this week’s Tillage Edge podcast, Dr Cathy Hawes, from the James Hutton Institute near Dundee in Scotland, joins Michael Hennessy to discuss the Scottish experience of maximising rotations.
Scotland has a similar climate to ours and the research carried out there is more comparable to Irish farms than work from continental US or Europe and on this week’s Tillage Edge podcast, Dr Cathy Hawes, from the James Hutton Institute near Dundee in Scotland, joins Michael Hennessy to discuss the Scottish experience of maximising rotations.
She first explains that in the region she works in, they have similar rainfall totals to Carlow but average yields of wheat and barley are a little lower than Irish yields.
Cathy is an ecologist working on a large scale trial looking at a broad suite of system outcomes from the trial. These parameters include economic, yield mapping, crop diseases, soil quality, carbon storage, biodiversity, infield weeds, etc. Within the trial, different establishment systems, including the direct drill system, are looked at under a six year rotation (which includes potatoes).
This long term trial has produced some interesting results already. Cathy points to the benefits of increasing soil carbon which has increased nutrient efficiency and also results in a better performing soil to suppress harmful soil pathogens.
Cathy believes the results of the work can be very useful to farmers, especially where strategies can be combined to give benefits both economically and to the wider environment.
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