ONE OF the world's largest agro-chemical and seeds businesses is on the lookout for farmer partners to trial new wheats and chemistry it wants to bring to market.

BASF wants 50 partner farmers to run its trials on their farms from 2017 season and beyond. The operation will be overseen and verified by experts from ADAS and AgSpace, who will visit all farms during the season. There will be a minimum of five expected to be appointed in Scotland.

This initiative covers the whole of the UK and is entitled the 'Real Results Circle'. Farmers who join the network will receive a detailed report on their output potential, based on detailed mapping and testing carried out by ADAS and AgSpace throughout the growing season.

In addition, partner farmers will be asked to put BASF’s cereal fungicides – Adexar and Librax – to the test in farm situations, testing them against the vagaries of many geographical growing conditions and using their own kit.

“We’ve launched this initiative for two reasons,” said Tim Short, BASF’s UK marketing campaign manager, this week. “The first is that BASF, ADAS and AgSpace want to work with growers to understand what the farm potential is for their wheat crops, what’s holding yields back and what changes can be made to maximise returns.

“The second is that farmers have told us that there is nothing better than conducting trials on their own farms, so we want to give these 50 farmers the opportunity for this, with expert support and advice from ADAS and AgSpace.

“As part of the initiative, we’ll ask farmers to put our cereal fungicides to the test, because we believe BASF’s SDHI chemistry, Adexar, Librax and other Xemium brands can outperform our competitor’s SDHIs, and we want farmers to put this belief to the test,” he added.

All farmers accepted will be visited by ADAS and AgSpace twice during the growing season to produce a report on the farm, including soil nutrient status and soil mapping, as well as crop assessments and yield prediction.

The chosen ones will also be given free product – Adexar for use at T1 and Librax, or Adexar for use at T2. Mr Short said: “We’ll cover the costs of the BASF products, expertise and on-farm trials management, to prove Adexar/Librax delivers the highest yields and margins.”

Dr Daniel Kindred, senior research scientist with ADAS, said: “Growers will discover a lot more than simply the best fungicide – they will get great insight into unlocking yield potential.

“As with the ADAS 'Yield Enhancement Network' (YEN), we will be defining the yield potential for the crop based on site data and will gather information on the soil and the weather at the site.

"We will also be taking grab samples to get a handle on how the treatment has had an effect on yield as well as calculating the harvest index (HI).

At the end of the trial, growers will get a detailed independent report on the crop and an invitation to an exclusive conference, where they can meet the 49 others in the trial.

However, the benefit is not just limited to the chosen 50 – “If you aren’t one of the final 50 farmers, you can still be involved. By registering your interest, you’ll get access to the content and information from the 50 farmers selected and advice and information on how you can set up your own trials in a simple but effective way," said Dr Kindred.

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