Back to minimum tillage ?

farmerfred86

Member
BASIS
Location
Suffolk
We have a big issue with grass weeds and it’s getting worse. We are ok if we have a big spread of crops but it simply just doesn’t pay due to poor yields of spring crops such as spring linseed, spring barley, spring beans spring wheat. We’ve also tried grass but without our own livestock we get hammered on the selling price. We find ploughing isn’t helping and under Direct Drilling the problem is by far worse. Ryegrass, Blackgrass and Brome appear any time now in winter cereals and from late June in spring cereals. If we can’t grow cereals we might as well pack up.
We min tilled in the 90’s and 00’s and never had this issue. The soil movement got weed chits which we destroyed before drilling. We never used pre-em’s and just did a post em herb followed up with a clear up in the spring. Under DD we get a weed chit but I’m thinking we aren’t getting a full chit so when we run through with the direct drill seeding we are then germinating the dormant seeds that would of germinates had we moved the soil. We have used contractors with JD 750, Horsch Avatar and Horsch sprinter with Bourgault tines as well as our own Sabre Tine. They are all the same and germinate grass weeds. We have tried late drilling which does help but risky if it comes wet in late oct because then you can’t get on the fields. We’ve tried grazing a cover crop which doesn’t help either and is a loss leader without our own livestock.
So I’m thinking shallow min till disc and press straight after the combine, then spray off, then disc again and then spray off before a mid oct drilling? Anybody else in this mess?
Its another bad spring for BG... I think many farmers are currently feeling the same. The dry september last year didn't chit much at all (huge amount of vol barley in wheat to prove that).
In my own system of ZT and DD I do think something like a stubble rake will need to be used to try and use some metal instead of a can against BG all the time.
Some german visitors recently told me they aren't allowed so many cereals in the rotation as we are in the UK for resistance.
 

Badshot

Member
Location
Kent
What have you changed?
Pretty much my whole approach.

Went from plough to mintill, that's where it really went wrong.
Mixing it through the profile is the worst thing to do.
Then to tine DD, was treading water with a few major hiccups in some fields, this was where I started heading down the point of no return with it, it either went well, or was a disaster.
Cropping changed also from wheat, wheat, rape.
To wheat rape wheat spring beans, this helped to a degree, until all chemistry in the beans was useless against BG.
Then added in a few spring wheats, this is where it went horrifically wrong in a couple of fields.
Untouched chopped straw overwintered, tine drilled spring wheat in, the BG came up faster than the wheat, badly.
Should have written it off but didn't.
It's taken me about 6 years to sort that cock up out.
Then gd drill purchased, further cropping changes.
I'll stick with the real nasty bits here.
Went winter beans, followed by linseed, followed by wosr, then a cock up with Jan drilled ww, then linseed again, back to wheat fir this year, almost clear.

I spot spray anything I see when travelling through.
Used avadex on the drill, followed by ffct etc.

It isn't vanity, it's pure common sense, where BG has a chance to get out of control it knocks seven bells out of the yields, chucking pots of money at it and not controlling it is madness.

It's better, and more sustainable, and profitable to have a good crop right through the rotation than to have weedy crops that have the kitchen sink chucked at them and still underperform.

I am seeing blw control reduce massively, it is intended to reduce the spend on BG, but it's got to be fully under control first.

Horses for courses, but I'd sooner not be contaminating the ground for the future.
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
Pretty much my whole approach.

Went from plough to mintill, that's where it really went wrong.
Mixing it through the profile is the worst thing to do.
Then to tine DD, was treading water with a few major hiccups in some fields, this was where I started heading down the point of no return with it, it either went well, or was a disaster.
Cropping changed also from wheat, wheat, rape.
To wheat rape wheat spring beans, this helped to a degree, until all chemistry in the beans was useless against BG.
Then added in a few spring wheats, this is where it went horrifically wrong in a couple of fields.
Untouched chopped straw overwintered, tine drilled spring wheat in, the BG came up faster than the wheat, badly.
Should have written it off but didn't.
It's taken me about 6 years to sort that cock up out.
Then gd drill purchased, further cropping changes.
I'll stick with the real nasty bits here.
Went winter beans, followed by linseed, followed by wosr, then a cock up with Jan drilled ww, then linseed again, back to wheat fir this year, almost clear.

I spot spray anything I see when travelling through.
Used avadex on the drill, followed by ffct etc.

It isn't vanity, it's pure common sense, where BG has a chance to get out of control it knocks seven bells out of the yields, chucking pots of money at it and not controlling it is madness.

It's better, and more sustainable, and profitable to have a good crop right through the rotation than to have weedy crops that have the kitchen sink chucked at them and still underperform.

I am seeing blw control reduce massively, it is intended to reduce the spend on BG, but it's got to be fully under control first.

Horses for courses, but I'd sooner not be contaminating the ground for the future.
Beans, osr and linseed are all crops we grow and the BG control in each of them is incredibly hit and miss from our experience and is basically pot luck. Abit like the massive variability in efficacy of cereal residuals year on year.
 

Badshot

Member
Location
Kent
Beans, osr and linseed are all crops we grow and the BG control in each of them is incredibly hit and miss from our experience and is basically pot luck. Abit like the massive variability in efficacy of cereal residuals year on year.
Linseed I rarely have to do anything.
I cover crop, graze off, burn off, drill.
Very little BG grows, if you plant late enough.
BG control here has taken a massive leap forward by not bringing anything up from depth, indeed all weed control has.
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
Linseed I rarely have to do anything.
I cover crop, graze off, burn off, drill.
Very little BG grows, if you plant late enough.
BG control here has taken a massive leap forward by not bringing anything up from depth, indeed all weed control has.
Sorry was thinking of winter linseed which we grew last year (never again) which was quite dirty, although the following wheat drilled mid september isn’t too bad.
agree with not bringing more up. we have found if we have a made a situation bad we can get on top of it much quicker again compared to the constant burying and bringing up of seeds we used to do. I think leaving seeds on the surface is a really good way for them to either naturally degenerate or grow.
 

Badshot

Member
Location
Kent
Sorry was thinking of winter linseed which we grew last year (never again) which was quite dirty, although the following wheat drilled mid september isn’t too bad.
agree with not bringing more up. we have found if we have a made a situation bad we can get on top of it much quicker again compared to the constant burying and bringing up of seeds we used to do. I think leaving seeds on the surface is a really good way for them to either naturally degenerate or grow.
I've never understood the winter linseed job, the only advantage is early harvest, there's none of the late spring drilling BG control at all, and it doesn't have the chemistry available to control BG.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
We plough everything for autumn drilling except for OSR which is mintilled. We plough because there is just too much chopped straw, disease carryover.
All of our spring drilling cereals and beet (except beans which is autumn ploughed) is mintilled.
Our min till is heavy discs not going deep then paraplow to ease compaction in the autumn if necessary, then leave it to green up over winter, spray off, power Harrow towing heavy roller, then drill.
Works very well indeed. Conserves moisture etc, gives time for a decent flush.
All simple low budget machinery.
 

Flat 10

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Fen Edge
I've never understood the winter linseed job, the only advantage is early harvest, there's none of the late spring drilling BG control at all, and it doesn't have the chemistry available to control BG.
I did it to drill something early and harvest something early. The BG control does suck.
 

farmerfred86

Member
BASIS
Location
Suffolk
Learn to love sheep, problem solved.
I'd love to see plenty of sheep here in Suffolk, a county that used to have huge numbers of sheep in the "wool towns".
Our organic neighbour makes it look like the right thing to be doing (although that could change in a world of dwindling food supplies) and Id much rather see sheep than pallets of avadex and pendimethalin!
Mixing it through the profile is the worst thing to do.
A concern if i start to use a stubble rake on larger areas... when the ground is cracked in august am I sweeping weed seeds into the profile?
 
Learn to love sheep, problem solved.

Sadly not correct. See attached pics. This field had turnips direct drilled. Sheep then grazed from December to March. Then had 4l glyphosate, spring wheat direct drilled, pre-em applied. It’s full of ryegrass and probably will be silaged.
 

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Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
We have had some pretty poor results from herbicides this year, some years they just don't work so well, easy to cry resistance but in many cases i think its simply down to weather and conditions before, during or after application

9 years out of 10 however I would say we get cleaner crops under zerotill than we did under min till

Rotation is key I think - I have ben greedy this year planting 2nd wheats due to output prices., they are not pretty but will still pay better than a break would have
 
We have had some pretty poor results from herbicides this year, some years they just don't work so well, easy to cry resistance but in many cases i think its simply down to weather and conditions before, during or after application

9 years out of 10 however I would say we get cleaner crops under zerotill than we did under min till

Get it tested if I was you. See attached. Defy no longer works as this test was a few years ago.
 

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Clive

Staff Member
NFFN Member
Location
Lichfield
Get it tested if I was you. See attached. Defy no longer works as this test was a few years ago.

i really don't think resistance is our issue, its no individual species but a wide mix of brome's and grasses, in fact even the basic broadleaf control is not exactly brilliant either, hands up we clearly screwed up application timing I think. Most years we get decent results, just occasionally we don't and our 2nd wheat this year is a good example of that, my own fault though for being greedy, 2nd wheats are a bad idea in zerotill, I learn't that a long time ago but seem to have forgotten !
 

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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...
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