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
Could living mulch be the ‘holy grail’ of arable farming? Written by Pete Williams from The Soil Association A team of six farmers is trialling growing a living mulch under cash crops – if they’re successful, they say the practice could eliminate the need for artificial inputs, cut costs and boost productivity. The group is aiming to discover whether cash crops can be successfully grown in a permanent clover understory (living mulch) to control weeds and fix nitrogen. A key question...
Traditional Arable Business Model in Question? Written by Gary Markham, Land Family Business 147% of the profit of the average arable farm is BPS Farming is embarking on a period of change that most of the current generation of farmers have not experienced. Moving from the comfort of area payments to having to apply for specific funding for providing natural capital. This will inevitably put farming business in financial strain as there will be a funding gap between the two regimes over...
Farmer Focus – Andrew Jackson If you are reading this article, I will assume that you may well be at some point in the journey of Regenerative Agriculture. Although I have always been a passionate farmer, trying to become a regen farmer has enhanced my love of farming at what could be considered the latter part of my farming career. During lockdown my middle child Anna returned from being a self-employed sports’ photographer in London, she was already on board with the concepts of regen...
Nuffield Catch Up – Mark Dewes Mark is a farmer and agronomist from Withybrook in Warwickshire. After starting with ADAS in 1996 and working with NIABTAG, AICC and Agrii he was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to evaluate the role agronomists play in stewarding pesticide use. Think of Denmark and you might imagine bacon, pastries, Hamlet and Carlsberg. You might also think of a country which relies almost exclusively on ground sources for its drinking water supply; probably the best...
Opportunities in the forward-thinking world of regenerative farming. Written by Thomas Gent from @Gentle Farming The Gentle Farming system will produce the first carbon offset certificates in the Autumn. The buyers can see a portfolio of local farms or those that reflect their needs. Gentle farming will sell the offsets and begin paying farmers this winter. We have had a busy few months moving things forward both in terms of working with farmers and agronomists and also in creating...
New software that uses a drone to image crops has been developed to help farmers walk crops more quickly and accurately. Skippy Scout has been developed by farming technology specialist Drone Ag to monitor a variety of broad acre crops. The latest developments in the software’s version 2.5 enables users to import field maps and track the crop from emergence to harvest. The data from each flight is recorded and reports generated that help to evaluate the crop throughout the growing season and...
From ‘No Hope in Heck’ to Regenerative No-Tilling Ian and Dianne Haggerty are using the concepts of “Natural Intelligence Farming” to build a regenerative enterprise focused on zero tillage, livestock integration and biologically sourced inputs that boost their soil resources and profitability. By John Dobberstein, Senior Editor, No-till Farmer USA Married and both raised in farming families, Ian and Dianne Haggerty were shocked when they sought advice from a farm advisor on...
Does Grazing Cover Crops Negatively Impact Soil and Crop Yields? Written by Lindsey Anderson, Humberto Blanco, Mary Drewnoski and Jim MacDonald, Published in CropWatch from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Separation of crop and livestock production can degrade soil and other natural resources while reducing economic returns. Additionally, the conversion of grassland to cropland has put a strain on forage for cattle. Grazing cover crops can be a potential option to re-integrate crops...
The “3.5% rule” refers to the claim that no government or organisation has withstood a challenge of this percentage of their population or membership mobilised against it during a peak event. This rule is based on an insight that political scientist Mark Lichbach developed in his 1995 book “The Rebel’s Dilemma”. In it, he speculates that no government could withstand a challenge of 5% of the population; and that no rebellion could hope to mobilize more than 5% of the population anyway...
Over the last two years there has been an evolution in the way that soil nutrient mapping is carried out. This has been driven by the launch of TerraMap by Hutchinsons in 2019. Terramap came at the perfect timing for farmers looking for that next level of accuracy in understanding their soils in order to reap the most benefit for their crops through nutrient mapping and soil conductivity scans. TerraMap uses gamma-ray radiation technology to deliver resolutions of over 800 points/ha...
There is so much talk about carbon at the moment, and there is no doubt that farmers will make some income by changing practices to sequester a bit more carbon. Buying HVO versions of Red Diesel is just an example of a way to do this. It costs you a little more to fill the tank, but the costs are outweighed by the carbon you save. But I think carbon is the sideshow. Carbon could be worth £90 a hectare, maybe a bit more, but imagine if you could get an extra 10% on your sale price for your...
Johnson-Su bioreactors have become all the rage on some regenerative farms. But what are they and how do you use them? Written By Mike Abram If first lockdown was all about building a firepit from spare discs, last autumn saw a surge in the construction of Johnson-Su bioreactors being showcased on social media. A Johnson-Su bioreactor is a method of creating fungal-rich compost, and was developed by Dr David Johnson, adjunct professor at California State University’s Center for...
Optimising Soil Biology and Nutrition for Crop Production Written by Joel Williams When we begin to unpack the complex world of soil, of course there are many factors that contribute to the optimum functioning of a ‘healthy soil’ – be that chemical, physical or biological. That said, it is clear that soil biology specifically has played an instrumental role in catalysing the recent interest in soil health and with good reason – soil biological interactions are key in driving so many...
The phrase “Regenerative agriculture” is a relative newcomer to our collective vocabulary, and although it roughly describes the type of farming I attempt to practice, it is not a phrase that sits easily with me, as it is so vulnerable to being hijacked by special interest groups, and can mean very different things to different people. Rather than aspiring to any particular farming system, my strategy has always been about making the most resilient and de-risked business I can. Mine is a...
Featured Farmer: Julian Gold Farm Manager Hendred Estate, Wantage, South Oxfordshire FARM FACTS FARM SIZE: 800 hectares MANPOWER: - 3 FARM TYPE: - Arable OTHER FARM TYPE INFORMATION: - Arable with sheep that graze cover crops and permanent pasture TENURE: - Owner occupied REGION: - South East England RAINFALL: - 679 mm ALTITUDE: - 100 m above sea level SOIL: - Highly alkaline, silty clay loam over chalk APPROACH: Regenerative agriculture KEY FARMING PRACTICES: Mulching Soil monitoring...
Growers Dismayed at the Unlevel Playing Field of Grain By Steve Ridsdale Combinable crop direct drillers have found ways to cut establishment costs, whilst at the same time aiming to increase the resilience and productive capacity of their soils. At the other end of the production cycle, comes our output in the form of crop sales. We want to be competitive producers and competitive sellers. What would you think, if I told you it was easier for competitor imports to access our UK markets...
For when the chips are down – preserving UK soil microbial biodiversity for sustainable agriculture A UK wheat crop – one of the six to have its microbiome held and curated as part of the UK Crop Microbiome Cryobank (Credit: Pixabay). Written by Wayne Coles at CABI Scientists from the UK’s foremost agricultural research institutes have teamed up to create a new UK Crop Microbiome Cryobank (UK-CMCB) to safeguard future research and facilitate the sustainable yield improvement of the UK’s...
Written by Jerry Alford from the Soil Association There has recently been a lot of interest in the potential of organic no-till and it has been described by some as the holy grail of organic arable farming. It is also something that is of interest to non-organic farms because of the potential to reduce inputs, particularly on less profitable break crops. Organic arable farming systems have always been built around the use of cover crops, diverse rotations and animals. Building fertility...
Does Regen Ag matter? Written by Richard Pike from COOK A broken System My interest in sustainable food began somewhere in the mid 2000’s when, working for a UK farming group, we ended up importing lettuce into the UK, by air, in spring, to satisfy the demands of a major customer. I was shocked that no one seemed to be particularly concerned about the impact that sort of practice had. Two generations of shoppers have been taught to expect a 12-month supply of everything, from...
With harvest either underway or on the horizon for most growers in the U.S., now is a good time to prepare for your soil sampling program. Most universities and the NRCS recommend taking soil samples in the off-season, after the last crop harvest, and before the next cash crop is planted. Mississippi State University Extension advises collecting samples 3-6 months before planting, to allow any lime recommendations to react and change the pH. But before you can grab your soil probe and head...

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ALA South Central - Farm Visit & Networking Event
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All action harvest video with a Claas 760 and GrainSaver GS 24-5 Chaser Bin

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Acres have been out with @FarmerTorque again to produce this really interesting video cutting wheat
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