STAR - 2006-2015

Ten outcomes learnt from ten years of STAR:

  1. STAR system and rotation choices have had an agronomic impact on factors including mycotoxin risks and weed burden (notably bromes in non-inversion wheat systems).
  2. Shallow non-inversion tillage is leading to progressively tighter soils in the continuous wheat rotation and across the winter and spring cropping rotations.
  3. Considering yields over all crops in the rotation, the difference between cultivation systems is small, however, of the consistent systems, ploughing is tending to give the highest yields.
  4. While ploughing might give high yields, of the consistent cultivation systems across seasons, the highest margins have been associated with the deep non-inversion system: although again differences are relatively small.
  5. A variable managed approach (an informed decision each season based on soil, season and agronomic drivers), has performed similarly to the deep non-inversion system.
  6. Considering wheat alone across seasons, for the consistent cultivation systems, there is little yield difference, with deep non-inversion systems resulting in the highest margins.
  7. Findings perhaps suggest that tillage decisions are more critical in break crops and also highlight the value of informed soil management decisions to maximise performance.
  8. Cumulatively, STAR rotational choices have tended to have a bigger impact on margin than primary tillage decisions; with winter cropping rotations giving the higher margins.
  9. Consideration of timeliness and speed of working across the farm, as well as yield and margin, is critical when scaling findings from STAR up to a farm level.
  10. One key finding is how much we owe to the supporting Trusts, the STAR advisory group and notably our site host John Taylor; without their input this project would not happen.