Thursday, 29 January 2015

Spring 2015 Ukraine and Russia Crop Tour

Last year I completed a 2,000km crop tour of Russia which was followed in real time on Twitter with many people telling me they found it useful.

This year I am planning a 4,000km, ten day crop tour through Ukraine and Russia to assess crops as they come out of the winter.

The aim is to achieve a clear picture of the condition and potential capability of overwintered crops as spring growth commences.

The provisional planned route will cover regions that make significant contributions towards the national yield and the export potential of both countries.

The tour team have plenty of in country experience and will give a clear, balanced and independent opinion on the condition and potential at a key stage of the production cycle.

We will use a number of techniques including;
  • crop transects;
  • score cards and overall crop scores;
  • samples of key yield indicators including plant population, green area index, growth stage, winterkill, pest and disease levels, abiotic issues;
  • visit barometer farms to investigate crop condition in more detail;
  •  interviews with current farm mangers and agronomists to council opinion on crop condition and the season ahead.

But we need sponsorship to make the project viable, can you help?

Contributors to the tour will receive an emailed end of tour report summarising all the information recorded including comments, opinion and observation with photographs and access to videos.

We are considering using a drone to get some aerial pictures if authorities allow and if safe to do so particularly around any areas of conflict.  If this is not possible we will use a Go Pro pole mounted camera to record useful images from an elevated perspective as well as intermediate and close up pictures.

We are considering a dedicated member only Twitter account that will provide an ongoing update and dialogue during the tour.

For all this valuable insight all we are asking is a minimum contribution of £75, €100 or $115 towards costs.

That’s a minimum contribution so feel free to pledge more.

At this stage all I am asking for is an indication of willingness to contribute with no commitment, if you think this would be useful to you and there is sufficient interest to cover costs then we will proceed to the next stage of planning and commitment.

Please register your interest or send any questions to me at or forward this page to a colleague who might be interested.