Strip Tillage arrives

Strip Till

Front hopper seed/fert

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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)

 

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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Drilling spring barley with the Sumo DD April-15

Drilling spring barley into a standing mustard cover crop with the Sumo DD single disc opener direct drill.  We’ve done some 250 acres with the drill having been to see Sumo last year and discussing the concept with them.  Very pleased with what the drill has achieved as it disturbs very little ground, places the seed just in the moisture and at a good depth and Sumo as a company are first rate.  Many thanks to Marcus and Robert for all their help and sorry about tearing up your pre-production coulters!

I will try and update this as the crop comes on but I’m quite hopefully that it will be a good result.