Convince me to not plough

We have a small field that has been in a cereal/rape/legume rotation for a good few years now and needs to be put back to grass. I would like to get away from using the plough every time we drill but I'm never sure our soils are quite light enough to min till (we are mostly clay with some loam). We have however DD forage rape into stubble and that seemed to work ok. But of course rape seed is very cheap in comparison to grass.
Given that this is a small field, the weather seems pretty settled and I have enough time in the year to establish grass I am willing to experiment a bit here. It's currently pea and barley stubble which has been grazed off tight by the sheep. Im planning on putting glyphosate on the headlands. Following that my thoughts were to maybe power harrow the top couple of inches, roll, and drill grass into that.
Am I wasting my time?
 
Location
Ceredigion
We have a small field that has been in a cereal/rape/legume rotation for a good few years now and needs to be put back to grass. I would like to get away from using the plough every time we drill but I'm never sure our soils are quite light enough to min till (we are mostly clay with some loam). We have however DD forage rape into stubble and that seemed to work ok. But of course rape seed is very cheap in comparison to grass.
Given that this is a small field, the weather seems pretty settled and I have enough time in the year to establish grass I am willing to experiment a bit here. It's currently pea and barley stubble which has been grazed off tight by the sheep. Im planning on putting glyphosate on the headlands. Following that my thoughts were to maybe power harrow the top couple of inches, roll, and drill grass into that.
Am I wasting my time?
Burn the lot and direct drill it ,
 

Ysgythan

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Ammanford
Seriously, spray it off, minimal work to the surface, just enough for a little tilth, broadcast and roll in. It’s the wrong time of year not to spray, but if you don’t I wouldn’t fertilise until the seeds are up over any weeds.
 
Location
Ceredigion
There around 10 drills in this small area flat out ,not seen many ploughing, can't get seed in fast enough , its like a quiet revolution, lot of lime about the place as well. So nice to see people looking after the land
 

The Ruminant

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Hertfordshire
We have a small field that has been in a cereal/rape/legume rotation for a good few years now and needs to be put back to grass. I would like to get away from using the plough every time we drill but I'm never sure our soils are quite light enough to min till (we are mostly clay with some loam). We have however DD forage rape into stubble and that seemed to work ok. But of course rape seed is very cheap in comparison to grass.
Given that this is a small field, the weather seems pretty settled and I have enough time in the year to establish grass I am willing to experiment a bit here. It's currently pea and barley stubble which has been grazed off tight by the sheep. Im planning on putting glyphosate on the headlands. Following that my thoughts were to maybe power harrow the top couple of inches, roll, and drill grass into that.
Am I wasting my time?
Healthy soil is a delicate balance of mineral material, organic matter, air and water. It is glued together with a marvellous substance called glomalin which comes from equally amazing mycorrhizal fungae.

As soon as you cultivate you upset this balance, always (in the long term) for the worse. The problem for us mere humans is that cultivation appears to make things better. It’s neat and tidy - we love neatness and the sight of a good job. It lets air into the soil, which oxidises much more organic matter, thus releasing a flush of nutrients. It allows water to percolate to the bottom of the cultivated area of the soil, so appearing to drain more freely when it rains heavily.

The problem is that the oxidised organic matter is long term food for the worms, bacteria, fungae, Protozoa etc etc. The flush of nutrients starves these soil dwellers in the longer term. It also oxidises the glomalin. If you lose this glue, your soils no longer aggregate or form natural structure. This means they become more reliant on cultivations, more addicted to them. It‘s a vicious circle.

Mycorrhizal fungae feed your plants. They form a symbiotic relationship with the roots and effectively increase the surface area of the root by a thousand times.

Stop and think about that for a moment: increasing the root area a thousandfold. They bring nutrients and water and minerals in exchange for root exudates - sugars etc. Plants thrive when growing in a mycorrhizal-rich soil.

Ideally you would find a way to keep things growing in the soil at all times. Living roots support mycorrhizal fungae. Ideally you would also have the soil surface covered at all times, with leaves or plant litter. You’d avoid all disturbance, physical and chemical. You’d have a diverse array of plants rather than a monoculture, and you’d graze with a variety of animals. This is how you get truly healthy soil. Funnily enough, this is what happens in nature......

Are you convinced yet?
 
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neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Straight swap, plough/ PH/ drill for a No till drill, and I'm willing to give it a go. (y)
I ain't spending money whilst the fundamental problem of 1970's prices persist.

I don’t think you’d give it a fair go. You’re not a true believer, and haven’t even begun to worship at the altar of Conservation Ag.

People should only be permitted to ‘give it a go’ once they are cramming it down everybody’s throats like a committed Vegan.

Just look at the change in our Derek in the last few weeks, and he’s still not been allowed to buy his own drill yet...🤣
 

7610 super q

Member
Arable Farmer
I don’t think you’d give it a fair go. You’re not a true believer, and haven’t even begun to worship at the altar of Conservation Ag.

People should only be permitted to ‘give it a go’ once they are cramming it down everybody’s throats like a committed Vegan.

Just look at the change in our Derek in the last few weeks, and he’s still not been allowed to buy his own drill yet...🤣
But.....but....but......I've read the first paragraph of a book by Doug Avery. 😭
 

Kevtherev

Member
Location
Welshpool Powys
I don’t think you’d give it a fair go. You’re not a true believer, and haven’t even begun to worship at the altar of Conservation Ag.

People should only be permitted to ‘give it a go’ once they are cramming it down everybody’s throats like a committed Vegan.

Just look at the change in our Derek in the last few weeks, and he’s still not been allowed to buy his own drill yet...🤣
902BE56B-96FA-4BD3-9EC1-681F78250416.jpeg
 

som farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
somerset
our soils are prone to panning, both below, and capping on top, we are trying not to plough, if possible, and we use aerator for capping. Ploughing, the physical action, of turning the soil over, kills off most of the worms, bugs and fungii, that help maintain, and improve soil structure. As a compromise, we are using 'deep tine cultivation, thus breaking any pan, with least physical disturbance, of the soil. So far, there seems little difference, crop wise, between the two, - plough, power harrow, 5/6 ins, or tine, power harrow, 3/4 ins, the second, is certainly cheaper ! The most important thing, is to get contact, between seed, and moisture, and we feel, the tine, retains more moisture than the plough, and a good rolling afterwards.
 

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