Protected: Helix Live webinar recordings

There is no excerpt because this is a protected post.

How to claim BASIS and NRoSO CPD points

BASIS and NRoSO points are only available for viewing the 2021 Helix Live webinar recording, as the application window has closed for the 2020 Helix Live webinars. (However, if you had previously registered while the points window was open your points will still be processed)

During the recorded 2021 webinar recording we will display the BASIS and NRoSO details required to make a claim. To claim points for a webinar you must watch the full webinar and submit your application directly to BASIS and/or NRoSO. There is 1 BASIS CPD point and 1 NRoSO CPD point available for the webinar.

  • To claim points with BASIS please contact them directly (Phone 01335 343945 or Email: with your membership details, the BASIS reference number and event/session title.
  • To claim points with NRoSO please contact them directly (Phone 02476 857300 or Email: with your membership details, the NRoSO reference number and event/session title.

2021 Helix Live webinar recording

Q&A 2021

“Yes, and this is a key part of the model alongside other key yield parameters. Then, we also measure how well the crop is likely to capture that sunlight based on field imagery.”

“Yes, that’s exactly what we’re looking for. For growers and agronomists to be able to sit down together and use the information to make plans for what you want your farm to look like going forward for the next 5, 7 or 10 years.”

“Yes, there is, you can add the machines in just like any other equipment and use the work rate data they have together with the cost of operation.”

“We have default values, but you do have to manually enter the costs for each operation. Once you’ve done that you can monitor and update these values as you go through the seasons, using the Field Diary Omnia module, meaning you don’t have to wait until the end of the season. So, where you have N plans or seed plans, then it takes those into account – so once you’ve created those it just adopts those as part of the automatic process. Stock values for fertiliser and seeds are taken into account as well. So, while there is some manual entry during set up, yield data does come directly from My John Deere or Claas Telematics, or Fieldview – so that information comes directly into Omnia via a server. You don’t have to do anything after setup and we can get in yield data from other platforms and combines through more traditional data transfer methods.”

“We are not linking Carbon to yield, merely expressing Carbon emissions per tonne of output, rather than just Carbon emissions per hectare or by whole farm. Its too soon to tell how carbon markets will develop in the UK, but it is something we will keep watching.”

Nick Wilson: “It’s something we’ve thought about, but unfortunately, we don’t have the machinery to do it. We have to prioritise creating a seed bed with the equipment we’ve got. In respect to carbon output, it is cheaper in carbon cost to use existing machinery at the moment, before investing in something to do it – though I am interested in a one-pass machine.”

“No, we don’t and we didn’t set out to do that because what data exists is very contradictory and, in some cases, because each operation is dependent on such a wide variety of factors. Sequestered carbon is measured at the beginning and end of a time period to take account of this, but the productivity measure is of carbon emissions for each operation.”

“I think the initial work we’ve done has shown we can get close, to within 10% variance. I think what we’ll probably have in the future is a combination of a historic yield and a continually updating potential yield that you can see on your Omnia system, that will be showing you where we are against that historic yield. This will help us then to drive a lot of decisions. Whether we’ll get to below 5% accuracy is difficult to pin down due to all the potential factors that can affect yield, but I think we can get to a point that we can use it to make decisions.”

2020 Helix Live webinar recordings

Q&A - 2020 Day 1

“Combine header… We work on a 12-meter class 780. I guess the question is leading to controlled traffic, we haven’t gone down the control traffic route because we feel it is expensive – the benefits don’t outweigh the costs. We have very much a managed traffic system where nothing goes on the field other than tram lines, or the only time anything goes off a tram line is a combine trailer – unloading into that but the combine loads the trailer then it’s straight back onto another tram line to keep compaction down to a minimum. The combine does present us with a problem with a crop following a cereal with, for example, putting a second wheat in after first week there’s so much chaff behind a 12 meter combine header that the straw is easy to spread full width to combine but the chaff doesn’t spread and we’ve had to invest in a straw rake to disperse that chaff behind the combine before we direct drill but now we’ve got that sorted that’s definitely a benefit.” – Andrew Pitts


“Yeah, we tried that, that’s exactly what we thought when we first went into stewardship – we did pretty much six metres around most fields. What we found though is that most compaction we were having on the headland was caused by a challenger as it skews around on the headlands. So in our move from cultivated ground to non-cultivated ground and direct drilling we’ve sold the challenger and that has taken away a huge amount of compaction. But it’s all about headland management where we’re developing what I call a turning headland – which is an enhanced grass margin which we turn on. Once with a combine, once with the drill and you stick to a headland tram line for the sprayer/fertilizer – we’ve alleviated it completely. But what all the monitoring we’ve done has shown is that some areas we can improve, rather than just immediately taking out a production, so the first protocol on all this journey has been to improve and if we fail to improve for whatever reason then removing production is the right answer. So don’t immediately think you have to throw out a % of your fields for cropping (because that’s what 24 meters around the field generally is – about 20 percent of the field) by trying to see what the problem is, taking a spade, getting Terra Map over there to sense the soil and find out what’s actually going on – then you’ve got the answer. Either you can correct it, it might be lime – since we’ve been using Terra Map we’ve found areas of pH problems that we didn’t know existed with the old-fashioned way of testing, so we’ve been much more accurate. So what this information that we’re getting through omnia gives us is a greater ability to make the correct decision, so it makes it very easy to make the farm more efficient.” – Andrew Pitts

“So, we got that from plant vision which scans the crop every time we go through with a sprayer and then we overlay that information with the field performance layers so we find out where the inherently higher yielding areas of the field are. Then we use my input as well, analysing risk and field walking, to give us the variable rate from the site map” – Michael Shemilt

“Yes, this is a more challenging area of really wanting to understand how we drive or get yield maps as a start point strategically for other crops, particularly root crops and veg crops. So, I think that really is the start point for a lot of these areas. But there are technologies, whether that’s the climate system and developing pest models for those crops that we will be developing to give us a more predictive approach to pest management and ICM and that justification process. So I think there’s two answers to that question. One is yes, we’ve got a bit to go to really understand how we look at yield across those different type of mixed farms and then once we’ve got that we can do a lot of the strategic work. But, there are pest models that we can look at and develop that will accommodate some of those managing risk areas. So, I hope that answers some of that question, and those will be the developments that will take place as we go forward” – Stuart Hill

“I do, I think there are clearly advantages of creating a baseline now, knowing where we are, and then for (particularly with carbon) creating a baseline measurement and starting to look at how we might address the carbon situation, soil carbon in particular. And so that we’ve got a baseline figure and then when there are some market opportunities, which I think looks likely, but I think that the biggest challenge at the moment is having the same protocol that the industry can adhere to.” – Matt Ward

“Yes, definitely, there’s a lot of research going into this area at the minute in terms of how we can find a mix that benefits both pollinators and natural predators at the same time. I don’t think we have the final answer to that yet, but a lot of the actions that we do take that I’ve said today for pollinators in terms of getting that diversity of flowers in the margin also benefits many of the natural predators as well. There’s a lot of research going on which should come out in the next few years in terms of how we can link specific predators to specific crops and specific pollinators to specific crops as well. So, I think it’s a growing area of research which will have some very interesting results in the next few years.” – Sarah Barnsley

Q&A - 2020 Day 2

“Really, I would say that we do see hybrid wheat for instance as a new technology coming in, so we would bring that through the helix project to trial it and test it. I think similarly, as a comparison to that, blending wheats for instance to see how we could manage inputs more effectively would come alongside that. So, both those would be how we manage inputs in in a slightly different way. So they would be included and Rob has talked about nutrition and how we are assessing those within the helix project and how we can tie in technologies to that. So, yes it does bring in some of the traditional elements.” – Stuart Hill

“Hopefully you’ve understood that a bit more as we’ve gone through the all the presentations, but effectively helix is a brand that is about developing technologies on the helix farm over in Northamptonshire and cascade out regionally. But it’s developing technologies, understanding information and data that comes from them and then delivering something of value to you as growers. So, it’s fundamentally about developing those technologies and that interpretation.” – Stuart Hill

“Yes we have and there absolutely is in our system. So, what we’ve done – I’m a bit mean – so I don’t like to spend any money on expensive mixes. So, what we found last year was where we got volunteer oil seed rape we were able to drill in the wet. This year was, for our winter bean stubbles for instance which we struggled to drill last year, we just we put oil seed rape and linseed off the heap and chucked that on with the motorbike – broadcast them – and then just rolled them in. It was very dry and they didn’t grow for about a month and then they just took off and they were about knee-high by the time we got to eventually try and drill them in the soaking wet at the end of october. So, this year I think they did successfully grow but they didn’t for a start so I’m thinking, well if they could survive just sitting there for about four weeks with no rain at all and then still come to something – next year we’ll be putting them on everything. Because we just haven’t been able to get on any ground this year, unless it’s got green cover on it, with the drill. So, for us in our direct drilling system, yes definitely a big a big benefit and you’re pumping carbon into the ground all the time.” – Tom Jewers

“So, the Terra Map scanner is based on mining technology and what the scanner is actually measuring is radioactive particles that are emitted from the soil. The clever bit is that the company that’s developed the Soil Optix scanner have developed algorithms that will convert the ratio of the amount of radioactivity hitting the scanner – will convert that into a reading of not just organic matter but also the 21 other levels of information. Now, that sounds very Star Trek and quite advanced – so in order for us to have confidence in that we’ve trialled it for a period of years. Just to get confidence in the system we also take reference soil samples, at the time when we are scanning to ground truth what we’re seeing and because it’s still a requirement under cross compliance to take soil samples. So, that just helps us to ground truth, but yes, it is this process of the scanner capturing radioactivity and then the clever algorithms behind it that convert that into the measurements that we’ve got.”

“Yes, absolutely. So, again, this is why we’re evaluating this within Helix. If I use the national site as an example, we’ve done some scanning there and, just very much back to basics. The pH layer identified that there were areas of the farm that were low in pH and that was not necessarily known by the grower. So, we were able to actually go there and correct the pH quite efficiently. By actually taking a handheld pH testing kit we could verify that that was what we were seeing in those areas. So, obviously correcting the pH in that area is an instant win and in a number of circumstances would save fertilizer, because if you get your pH right then other nutrition becomes more available. So yes, it’s obviously something we’re evaluating all the time. We’ve got tens of thousands of acres Terra Map scanned now and it’s really a case of sitting down with the grower and just seeing where we could best target that data and get the best out of it.” – Rob Jewers

Stuart Hill – “At the moment, no. But a lot of the technologies we are developing here will likely be channelled through Omnia because there is a desire to have one place to have access to these technologies, to utilize on farm. So, that may be a feature for some tools as we go forward”

Tom Jewers – “I’ll just add that my phone has actually been red hot for the last 10 days with Omnia emails coming from the BYDV pest and disease tool. So, that does warn you that you’ve got fields coming up, ready to go and have a look at.”

“No, in my opinion, the breeder might have a different opinion but it’s a very difficult one. I mean especially catch crops that are only in there for eight weeks. I don’t pay a royalty on the volunteers out the combine on my oil seed rape stubbles, so I don’t see why I should pay a royalty if I’m not taking it to yield. I’m not a lawyer, but in my opinion no.” – Tom Jewers

Q&A - 2020 Day 3

“Helix is essentially a brand for our project of developing technologies. Then, once that technology is developed, how you see that on farm could be in various different forms. So, for instance, Terra Map has been developed as a standalone service as Terra Map. Whereas something like the climate models and the growth models, those technologies tend to be channelled through omnia. So, you would see those coming through Omnia and obviously that’s charged through that program.” – Stuart Hill

“Okay, yes we do have root crops in the rotation. I think as I mentioned, we used to grow sugar beet when the York factory was open – when that closed, we changed our tack somewhat. We now grow fodder beet as a replacement which is sold for the stock feed and we let land out for potatoes. I think, as Stuart mentioned earlier on, the fact that helix will move into analysing root crops and their impacts on the rotation of profitability – I like root crops, they’re very good around the farm, the thing I’m not so keen on is it breaks our cycle of non-inversion tillage. We’ve a nine-year rotation, so we’ve quite a lot of space in which to build our soil biology, but I do get a little bit nervous when the plough comes out in preparation for these crops. Although, I think next year we will try and sow the fodder beet without inversion, something I’m looking at taking advice on this year. So, hopefully that may be achievable and hopefully a great benefit.” – Nick Wilson

“No, you don’t need a specialist direct drill to drill it into cover crops, obviously specialist drills make the job a little bit easier but a Vaderstad rapide is a perfectly acceptable drill to drill into cover crops. The key thing with cover crops and being successful with them is that if you do have a Vaderstad rapid on farm as your drill there is no point in choosing a cover crop mix that is going to cause you hassle through that drill. If you know your exit strategy from that cover crop is going to involve a particular type of drill then make sure your cover crop will work for you through that drill.
Also, with the Vaderstad there is a nice conversion kit that takes the levelling bar off and allows you to go to three rows of drilling discs rather than two and that does change the drill’s performance quite fundamentally. So, have a look at that. Oddly, it’s quite a cheap modification for that drill.” – Dick Neale

“Yeah, I think it’s one of those things we know visually and through experience which parts of fields traditionally don’t perform and we do have areas around the farm. Particularly with the clay areas and this challenging weather we seem to be having, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to establish what would be considered a profitable crop in some areas. I think moving on to our strict tillage is actually reducing those poor performing areas, but I think with working with Sam and looking at the yield mapping data and the data we get from the layering in the Terra Map and then running through this cost of production analysis algorithm that’s on the Omnia program. It’s that element of actually being honest with ourselves. You know we can continually just say “oh let’s give it a chance this year” but we know that you know probably only three or four years in 10 do we actually get a return from it. The reality is there’s no point, particularly with where the environmental funding is heading, there will be no point in actually persevering with these areas and perhaps it is our responsibility, you know, to take these areas that used to probably be long-term grassland green side up. To put them back in for environmental benefits, it’s part of our remit as of delivering public goods. So, you know, maybe we should be willing partners in this as opposed to thinking we can always challenge the land to produce us a profit.” – Nick Wilson

“We’re not monitoring FLN as a key metric across all the helix sites, but certainly we’ll be picking those kinds of studies up where we know we have ongoing problems. So, some of the sands through Norfolk will be taking that into account and if that is a key issue in Yorkshire then we’ll make that a metric that we take a look at. What I can say is that, and it’s one of the reasons why as a as a business we strongly promote multi-way cover crop mixes rather than one or two-way cover crop mixes, is that with the diversification of root masses through the soil we tend to increase natural competition and balance within the soil that stops things like free living nematodes from colonizing one particular root system. So, yeah, I think we’re making the right choices already in that area but if it’s required on a local basis we’ll look at that area yes.” – Dick Neale

Get in Touch

We're here to help and answer any questions you might have. We look forward to hearing from you...