Direct Drilling Vs Alternatives

Jsmith2211

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Somerset
We currently plough in the stubble, and then drill with a sulky master 3 with suffolk coulters on the back of a 3M kuhn powerharrow. Works well so long as there isn't any rubbish on the surface to clog in the harrows at the back or between the coulters. We are considering direct drilling or perhaps cultivating rather than ploughing so as to not invert the soil. However with a cultivator we would still need a disc drill because of the increased prevalence of organic matter on the surface. We have a mixture of fairly heavy soil (basically solid clay in places, we have 3 clay pits on that farm) and then the other lot is nice easy to work down sandy stuff. I have heared that some of the direct drills dont do such a good job on heavy ground? We have a maxxum 125 (2019) which we would want to pull whatever we bought with, so we wouldn't be able to have anything too massive. What are people's opinions? Go all in on the direct drill, or go for a cultivator then disc combi drill idea? Or any other non-ploughing ideas people might have.
 

EddieB

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Staffs
Any neighbours or contractors nearby running different systems? If so you could trial a couple of options on a field or two. We tried a few things out this way to see what we were happy with. I got a field drilled for three years running by a neighbour with his Mzuri before we took the plunge. Also helps you see what potential problems are.
 

snarling bee

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Bedfordshire
The most profitable option is probably to stay as you are, at least until you really HAVE to change the plough or drill, or the Govt decides to pay us for not poughing.
If you are baling all the straw a 'min til' cultivator should do a good enough job to still use your drill.
What are you going to save by changing the system. Paid labour? Fuel?
Don't be pressurised on here by the DDers who say its fantastic and we are all mad not to do it.
 

Andy26

Moderator
Location
Northants
Any neighbours or contractors nearby running different systems? If so you could trial a couple of options on a field or two. We tried a few things out this way to see what we were happy with. I got a field drilled for three years running by a neighbour with his Mzuri before we took the plunge. Also helps you see what potential problems are.
This.

Get half the farm drilled by a contractor with a Claydon try to get a fair balance of soil types to compare old and potential new system.
 

Adeptandy

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
PE15
If I was younger I would have gone to a Claydon type machine then low disturbance disc, but as I'm not I've gone straight to a Weaving GD after a dabble with a Moore as the disc cutting at the greater angle has assisted with the slot opening and more importantly closing.
Dropping the plough here for max/min til has brought equivalent yields and lower labour costs, but going the next step has reduced labour and improved timeliness. Time will only tell if soil health improves and the GM's are profitable.
 

Jsmith2211

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Somerset
Any neighbours or contractors nearby running different systems? If so you could trial a couple of options on a field or two. We tried a few things out this way to see what we were happy with. I got a field drilled for three years running by a neighbour with his Mzuri before we took the plunge. Also helps you see what potential problems are.
We tried direct drilling with a prairie drill used by the local contractor who does our spraying. Worked great the first year (2019 harvest) got a good yeild, the second year was 2020 and... Well... 15 acre field and we got 5 ton off of it. A whole 4 and a half 4ft rounds of straw! The seed just rotted in the ground and didn't come up.
 

EddieB

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Staffs
We tried direct drilling with a prairie drill used by the local contractor who does our spraying. Worked great the first year (2019 harvest) got a good yeild, the second year was 2020 and... Well... 15 acre field and we got 5 ton off of it. A whole 4 and a half 4ft rounds of straw! The seed just rotted in the ground and didn't come up.
Yes autumn 2019 was a massive learning curve for us too, we had a fifty acre field of barley where the same thing happened, and a fair acreage of wheat decimated by slugs. I don’t think it’s that the drill can’t work, more that our soils weren’t ready for that system in those weather conditions.
 

Jsmith2211

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Somerset
Yes autumn 2019 was a massive learning curve for us too, we had a fifty acre field of barley where the same thing happened, and a fair acreage of wheat decimated by slugs. I don’t think it’s that the drill can’t work, more that our soils weren’t ready for that system in those weather conditions.
So how would one get the soil to a point where that system would work with that type of weather?
 

EddieB

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Staffs
So how would one get the soil to a point where that system would work with that type of weather?
Good point, we are pretty early in this journey so still learning. What I have seen is that the soils are nice after break crops and cover crops so no second straw crops this autumn for me. I am working on breaking up compaction too. What I think is true though is that DD is part of a wider picture of soil health and that covers and wide rotations are key to making it work on my soil. With only a couple of full seasons under my belt I can’t really claim to hold much wisdom in DD though.
 

Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

  • 495
  • 0


Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...
Top