Soil health and regenerative techniques will be to the fore during this year’s CropTec seminars.

With growers in the midst of a tumultuous time in British farming, this year’s programme will examine the building blocks for a sustainable arable farming future.

Read more: CropTec majors on arable farms' resilience on Nov 24 and 25

This will focus on four key technical areas of arable farming, including crop protection and crop nutrition, alongside a renewed focus on soil health and adopting regenerative techniques on-farm.

Based on feedback and extensive research with farmers, this year’s sessions have been designed to help address some of the challenges facing arable farmers and advisers as they navigate the biggest agricultural transition since the post-war era.

Read more: New sprayers will be put through their paces at CropTec

An exciting new development for 2021 will be the introduction of a ‘Lunchtime debate’, focused on regenerative agriculture and sponsored by Horsch.

Chaired by Harry Farnsworth, Control Union UK's sustainable agriculture projects lead, this will introduce three forward-thinking farmers farming on different soil types to share first-hand experience of utilising regenerative techniques on their farms and address the question: 'Does regenerative agriculture really stack up?'

Read more: Knowledge hubs to spread the word ... 

Improvements to soil health are a key focus of the Government’s new Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) scheme and in this year’s soil health seminar, Dr Elizabeth Stockdale, head of farming systems at NIAB, and Thomas Gent, founder of Gentle Farming, will examine what a healthy soil system looks like and provide advice on how best to explore the new agri-environment financial support on offer.

Helping farmers to minimise their cost of production has underpinned CropTec since the its launch in 2013, with nitrogen fertiliser use a key consideration in the economic and environmental performance of an arable business.

This year’s crop nutrition seminar, with Yara as its sponsor, will look at the latest techniques to improve nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and will also provide growers with an insight into exciting new developments in organo-mineral fertilisers and their potential value within crop nutrition programmes and achieving net zero.

In recent years, EU regulation has resulted in the loss of a number of key crop protection active ingredients, but with the UK in the process of transitioning to an independent regulatory regime for pesticides, policy experts Dr Chris Hartfield, NFU’s senior regulatory affairs adviser, and Hazel Doonan, head of agronomy and crop protection sector at the Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC), will shine a much-needed light on the threats and opportunities faced by growers and advisers in a new era for crop protection.

Session chair, Dr Hartfield, said: “This session will help to highlight the opportunities. The big question is: Will Government grasp these to create a better, more holistic and science led crop protection approach, which supports innovation, provides solutions and enables competitive agricultural production?”

* The CropTec Show will be held in accordance with the latest UK Government and Public Health England recommendations regarding Covid-secure business-to-business trade exhibitions.