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

 

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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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Update on drilling into 2nd Wheat into standing mustard last autumn

Bit of an update on last years direct drilled 2nd wheats which we tried into a standing mustard cover crop.  It was quite adventurous so was done on a limited area.

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This is what we drilled into above and a clip taken from Daryn’s mobile phone below.  It took a bit of confidence to push on with it as it was hard to see exactly what was going on but the seed went into very good conditions, plenty of moisture and tilth so we were reasonably confident it would come out okay.

It was a very bad grass block hence our plan not to give the blackgrass any chance to get established.  We had given the mustard 3lt of Roundup the day before drilling.  Some problems with blocking especially on the headlands but we persevered.

 

This is a few days after emergence, not the best looking crop in Essex I have to admit but a crop never the less.  Mustard is down on the ground between the rows and covering the soil which was quiet notable in that we had quite a lot of rainfall and then drying out and the soil remained open and uncapped.

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Same crop at early ear emergence with the picture taken in the same location.  Reasonably happy with it but hasn’t tillered very well which may be the variety or the method, I’m not sure.  Best thing is that the blackgrass was controlled quiet well with just a pre-emergence spray.  Will be interesting to see how it yields for first year no-till ground.

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Condor direct drilling spring barley April-15

After some extensive mods from Suffolk Agri and Amazone finally getting a much better result on the drill in that the coulters are penitrating now.  This is on first year no-tilled ground which is always tricky and into an overwintered mustard cover crop.  Not sure if the mustard was ideal for this as the ground took a long time to dry out after the cover crop was sprayed off in Febuary and there seems to be not much natural tilth in the top……just hard actually but its a reasonable job and hopefully will be okay.  We have some better ideas for next years cover crops in this situation.