Strip Tillage for beet with a cover crop

DSC_2003Apart from just strip tilling stubbles ready for beet in the spring we are trying the option of planting a cover crop first then strip tilling through the cover crop as a second operation.  We are banking on the cover crop adding the soil stability in the strip tilled rows over the winter.

Some pictures showing a mix of peas/linseed/radish and oats Autumn-17



Sugar Beet Season off to a flying start

IMG_3758.JPGIMG_3759.JPGIMG_3757.JPGAfter a very difficult harvest it almost seems too good to be true that the beet season is starting off so well if a bit hectic.  We haven’t started yet but reports of good yields and high sugars are coming in from other people.  One of our trucks is full time on the beet at the moment with Jim driving his pants off !  Some pictures below of loading off Chris Clements Maus

Harvest 2017 almost over !

Its been an interesting harvest weather wise but for us very good on yields.  Overall we have been very pleased with it being quite noticeable that as soil health has improved the crops seem to be more resilient to the usual extremes of weather.  I was very worried about some of the second wheats (or wheat following a previous wheat crop) as we had a very dry spring which put the crop under a great deal of pressure but my fears were mainly unfounded as they did exceptional well.  We had the odd minor disaster, we always do in farming, but for us we try and push the boundaries of what we do every year and try something new; I will not be direct drilling combining peas again as we have fifty acres of basically nothing after that experiment.  The important thing is know why you have failed so at least you don’t do it again !  Winter beans have done very well for us as the season was perfect for them; drought in the spring stressed them into flowering early then summer rainfall filled the pods, in places their yield has been exceptionally good.

The real star of the year has been the haulage boys as we would have been bursting at the seems if we hadn’t had the ability to shift produce off farm in a wet year.


Strip Tillage arrives

Strip Till

Front hopper seed/fert




Carre Introw strip tiller has finally arrived; set at our sugar beet spacing it is 6m or 12 row machine.  Originally designed or specified to drill two cover crop types at the same time with fertiliser for the sugar beet, recent experience with cover crops in front of beet this year has curtailed our enthusiasm a bit until we know more about what is an extremely complicated subject.  The plan is to strip till about 40% of our 2018 beet area with the machine this year with about 10% of that using cover crops.  The remaining area will be done more conventionally with min till.

First job will be to help establish our small but important return to Oilseed Rape growing after we dropped the crop in 2016.  We are going to try a very limited area strip tilling in the seed while placing DAP underneath in the strip tilled rows.  The purchase of a second hand but reasonably intact front mounted hopper has given us the means to do seed/fert plus micro seeds/pellets as we see fit.

We will see !  Long term we remain very committed to strip tillage for the sugar beet as we see it as a way of extending the crop onto our heavier soils and giving us the right ground conditions to lift later.  (we may even try some winter beans at 50cm rows)


Harvest has started !


Harvest 2017 has kicked off; 

Only seems like yesterday when the last one finished.  Old age I guess !

Anyhow so far so good; winter barley has done well going from 6.5tn/ha up to over 9tn/ha in large areas which is very pleasing after last year’s awful barley yields.

Prices have kept up as have deliveries and so far we have shipped out some 800tn on our own transport; this mainly to the docks at Ipswich but also to Camgrain.



Actually found myself waiting for the barley boat at Ipswich with a load so tried my hand at the longest and slowest video action shot ever……enjoy.






Vaderstad Seedhawk gets an update

Finally after quite a few phone calls to Vaderstad and Phillip Wright (thanks !) we finally have a solution of how to add another seed hopper to our Seedhawk.  Desperate measures for one of the most frustrating and cold and wet and annoying spring seasons I can remember as we still haven’t been able to direct drill our spring barley area yet and we have some very hungry slugs.  Hopefully after Daryn’s efforts in the workshop we have a fix which will let us drill slug pellets with the seed at 1/2 or 1/3rd rate using our old Opico Air8.  Next step to get the two Horsch drills sorted out and we are already making a fix for the Sprinter or Aaron & crew are !  Update to follow !

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Export demand for wheat picking up at last ?

imageBusy with out lorry at last as exports seem to have picked up.  Here loading for Nidera at Harwich.  Good to see HR so busy……don’t mind waiting in a large queue of trucks if it means that the UK carry into next season for wheat shrinks at little!