SolACE Swedish farmer network update

The Swedish farmer network in SolACE includes a small group of conventional farmers located in southern Sweden. They are interested in agricultural practices to increase crop yield and strategies to optimise nitrogen (N) use efficiency.

Top picture: view of a bread wheat field at maturity where pea and oat are compared as pre-crops (half of the field used for each pre-crop, no visible difference between the two pre-crops at wheat maturity), bottom left: ongoing harvest of the wheat crop, bottom right: two farmers and a researcher from SLU looking at the harvested wheat seeds. Photos: Nawa Raj Dhamala.

Three to four farmers take part in on-farm trials of winter bread wheat, focusing on how SolACE genotypes respond to different N fertilisation strategies. The farmers have previous experience of doing 0-N trials in small plots in their fields to estimate the rate of soil N supply and adjusting the N fertilizer rate, but they do not have much experience with decision support tools (DSTs), such as N sensors. We attempt to combine the already tested practices with SolACE innovative practices such as grain legume pre-crops compared to non-legume pre-crops and N sensor as decision support to adjust N fertilisation and potentially reduce N fertiliser inputs to the bread wheat crop. Some of the farmers also compare different N fertiliser rates on the bread wheat following grain legumes vs non-legume pre-crops to learn more about the residual N effect of grain legume pre/crop.  

The first trial season (2019/20) focused on comparing grain legume and cereal pre-crops, and the second trial season (20/21) will focus on management practices and plant traits for nitrogen and water use efficiency. Two wheat genotypes from the SolACE diversity panel and two new wheat hybrids from Syngenta will be evaluated in the second round of on-farm trials (20/21). We have visited, and sampled bread wheat on one of the farms and are coordinating with the other farmers for bread wheat samples and other data collection.