Sponsor continues for fourth year
Plant breeder LSPB is continuing its sponsorship of the Ben Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) initiative for a fourth year.
The Bean YEN was set up in 2019 by ADAS in partnership with the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) to encourage improvements in UK pulse production among farmers.
LSPB managing director Chris Guest said the company wanted to show ongoing support for knowledge transfer and benchmarking among growers. “The vision of farmers learning from farmers is at the heart of why we are continuing our sponsorship.”
YEN membership is open to farmers, agronomists and researchers. It allows growers to learn more about their yield potential – based on local conditions – and encourages the benchmarking of bean yields against other growers.
The YEN initiative had many benefits, said Mr Guest. Lessons from last year showed that deficiencies in a number of micro-nutrients were found in many cases – and this would be a focus for work during 2022.
LSPB breeds a number of spring bean varieties – including Lynx. Growers are able to evaluate their crops using a variety of agronomic and other parameters. The objective was to better understand how variations in these are linked to their on-farm bean yields.
“We hope that the increased knowledge from the Bean YEN initiative will help increase bean yields on farms across the UK so that enhanced management techniques can add to the yield benefits from current varieties and forthcoming varieties now in trials.”
Many different variables are monitored to give a detailed picture of each crop. These include such factors as previous cropping, sowing date, seed rate, herbicide, fungicide and insecticide usage, yield achieved, and quality analysis.
PGRO chief executive Roger Vickers described YENs as a form of “citizen science”. It enabled growers to benefit from large sets of data that would be too costly or impossible for researchers to obtain under normal circumstances, he explained.
“The citizens in this case are the participating growers, with the organisers and coordinators being the professional scientists trying to ensure that the data is gathered effectively and systematically, and that interpretation is without bias.
“The growing number of locations, crops, seasons and YEN growers over three harvests brings ever more meaningful data that can be analysed for trends in crop performance and compared to the modelled potential for each location in which the bean crops are grown.
At the end of each season, every participating grower receives a comprehensive benchmarked report. This
compares their own crop output against the modelled potential for their field.
“They also receive an analysis of their crop inputs, outputs and over 25 monitored variables, all reported in relation to all other participating growers. Importantly, this is not seen as a competition but as collaborative exchange of information for the benefit of all.
“In this way, each grower is better equipped to develop their own approach to cropping and understanding how their actions – or lack of them – may affect their future crop performance.
“This all has the ultimate aim of achieving more of their cropping potential and improving efficiency and profitability.”