Direct Driller Magazine

Direct Driller is a new farming magazine, designed by farmers for farmers to educate and inform the industry about no-till techniques
Written by James Warne from Soil First Farming A word of warning to all of you who buy bulk lime products. There appears to be nobody in the supply chain fighting your corner to ensure the quality of the lime you buy meets the legal requirements as laid down in the Fertiliser Regulations 1991. 100% of the bulk lime products we see tipped on farm does not meet these specifications in terms of particle size. Even if it’s being sold as screened lime it fails to make the specification. This...
Written by Jeff Claydon Establishing winter wheat on the Claydon farm during October with the new 6m Claydon Evolution 6 mounted drill. Despite a stop-start harvest and the very changeable weather which followed, Suffolk farmer Jeff Claydon was able to establish all the planned area of winter crops. But, he says, this autumn highlighted the necessity of having a flexible approach and the ability to utilise windows in the weather. Harvest was a stop-start affair this year. After a...
Written by Justin Platt I was very fortunate to grow up on a farm in the beautiful Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. With no real agricultural experience to speak of, my father left the family printing business in the late 1950s and established us on 500 acres of farmland, a small fry by modern commercial standards but more than enough to build a diversified ‘mixed’ farming operation which included a diverse rotation of cash crops, pasture, sheep, beef and dairy cattle, and a...
Berwickshire farmer Neil White calls for clarity and equity in their baseline carbon audit on his farm after six years of No-till Harvest 2021 was, in the end, better than expected. The crops came out of the wet cold spring looking respectable, but then continually improved to culminate in some top yields and good quality grain - not the case across the country, but in SE Scotland we had our turn at an easier and drier harvest this year. I still run two systems to establish my barley...
Tis the time of year to reflect on progress, thing you’ change and things you’ll keep just as they are. In this spirt, its time to review progress at AHDB’s Strategic Farms and share some results with you. From the 15 of November, we ran Strategic Farm week with four distinct themes. Can flower strips reduce insecticide use? Managed lower inputs Catch and cover crops Cultivations and soil management We’ll take a brief look at the Wildflower and grasses mix establishment and the beneficial...
With so much data captured on farm, making it useful can be like unlocking Pandora’s box. Researchers from Rothamsted Research – Kirsty Hassall, Alice Milne and Andy Whitmore – share how yield and satellite data can help with precision management in potato crops. Modern technology allows farmers to vary inputs across fields, giving the potential for more profitable and environmentally friendly farming. To realise this potential, farmers need good information about the likely response of the...
The British Society of Soil Science highlights both the benefits of farming for soil carbon, but also its limitations to mitigate climate change Written by Mike Abram A new Science Note produced by the British Society of Soil Science suggests farmers should be encouraged and rewarded for implementing sustainable soil management or regenerative farming practices. But it also highlights some of the challenges in mitigating climate change through carbon farming. Soil contains more carbon...
November 2021 I was not sorry to see the end of harvest 2021. A combination of low yielding OSR, a large acreage of Firefly wheat that broke down to Septoria, disappointing Extase yields and spring barley that was flattened by August rains meant that it was not a vintage year for us. Luckily prices have compensated to a large extent but it rams home the message that with potentially increasingly volatile weather patterns leading to less predictable harvest outcomes it is vitally important...
Both cover crops and low-disturbance drilling are often seen as an easy way to improve soil health and performance while also offering an opportunity to cut fixed costs. Where the transition is managed well, it can be very worthwhile but in other cases, the journey to drilling nirvana can be a fraught with obstacles, explains Steve Corbett, trials manager for crop advisers and research specialists, Agrii. “The move to reduced cultivations or pure direct drilling is about first recognising...
The Soil Farmer of the Year competition has been running since 2015, providing a platform for individuals and businesses to demonstrate how soil management can build environmental and economic resilience. The competition aims to recognise, promote and champion farmers who are passionate about safeguarding their soils and demonstrates how despite the vast variation across the agricultural sector, sustainable management can be universal. This year’s competition was conducted in association...
December 2021 The good the bad and the ugly! As I sit here on the 30th November furiously tapping away to get this written for tomorrows deadline I reflect on what has happened since I last wrote. My last piece mentioned how well the crops looked before harvest! How things have changed in just those few short months. The price of wheat, fertiliser and machinery (if you can get it!) have shot up which is encouraging for those who still have wheat to sell and who bought their fertiliser...
Become a Direct Driller Patron, Pay it Forward Knowledge is power and it’s exchange is valuable. When I first considered changing the way we farmed I quickly began to realise and understand I didn’t really know how to, I needed to learn, fast. I sought out others that had the experience and skill set I knew I needed to have any chance of success. I was extremely fortunate that without exception everyone I spoke to was happy to help me and share knowledge often passed to them previously by...
Written by Tony Gent With over 60 years of farming, I have seen and been involved with so many changes, as a lad from working with horses and leaving school at 15 to working on my father’s smallholding with only 50 acres and a mix of cropping. The farm began to mechanise and expand, so did my interest in designing better tools, particularly to improve soil management. The need to produce crops in an economic and competitive way has always been my driving force, with the sustainability of...
Farmer Focus - December 2021 Harvest has come and gone. Yields were good but could have been better had the growing season not been so variable. We had trimmed our Nitrogen rates to 160 Kg/N/Ha for wheat and OSR, but huge swings of yields within the fields told me that the yield had not been altogether determined by the fertiliser rate but more by the soil type. This autumn our OSR has been drilled mostly with the Horizon drill, which means no leading leg to loosen the soil, most...
The Seed Microbiome Written by Joel Williams The seed microbiome plays an important role in the formation of early root and shoot microbial communities. In the last article we introduced the various habitats that exist on and within plant tissues where a range of microbes coexist with plants and provide many benefits to growth and development. Despite the majority of microbiota living around plant root systems, there are also a range of microbes that also uniquely associate with plant...
What do you read? If you are like us, then you don’t know where to start when it comes to other reading apart from farming magazines. However, there is so much information out there that can help us understand our businesses, farm better and understand the position of non-farmers. We have listed a few more books you might find interesting, challenge the way you currently think and help you farm better. Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures The...
The 8th World Congress on Conservation Agriculture The Future of Farming: Profitable and Sustainable Farming with Conservation Agriculture Held virtually in June 2021 in Switzerland and attended by 783 participants from farmer associations, international organisations, scientific institutions, private sector, non-governmental and civil society organizations, from more than 108 countries, from the developed and developing world. The main objective of the 8WCCA was to celebrate the...
Written by Chris Fellows Some people are born to be leaders, most just learn on the way. The latter seems to be how it works in farming. Our leaders are bred. Groomed though various roles to be the right mix of farmer and business we need to represent us. I’ve had the pleasure in meeting some of the spokes-people of farming in the UK and very few strike me as born leaders. The born leaders are the one’s that inspire you being around them. For instance, Minette is a brilliant public speaker...
September 2021 In my first Farmer focus piece, I am writing to you about a new company which will revolutionise our farming businesses and one I have become personally involved in. It’s a company called Farmdeals (you will have probably seen the adverts) and where better to start the journey than here at the Direct Driller magazine. The fastest growing farming publication on the planet and one of the very few farming journals where you get the real story not fake news. Agriculture is the...
There’s a rise in farmers and landowners interested in getting paid for carbon sequestration. Yet in the UK, an absence of robust guidance, protocols and industry experience makes this space feel like the “wild west”. Farmers are at risk of being misled, while NGOs and industry groups are struggling to form clear positions in what’s a fast-moving and confusing landscape. Written by Samuel Smith from Farm Carbon Toolkit (FCT) We help farmers to measure, understand and act on their...

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