How do you prepare very heavy land ready for a spring crop?

MX7

Member
Location
cotswolds
I have never farmed very heavy clay land ,so just out of interest I was wondering what technique/s you use to set heavy land up in the Autumn so that you can "hopefully" drill it in the spring. It must be very difficult and only come with years of learning the hard way "by trial and error"!!!!
Is zero- till used successfully in the spring , by many of you farming very heavy land to plant spring cereals ,linseed etc .
 

snarling bee

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Bedfordshire
Cultivate it but do not press it, leave it 'roughish'. Depends what drill you have as to how rough you leave it. I try to avoid moving in front of my vaderstad in the spring so that I preserve moisture.
In the spring on heavy land is the last situation I would DD/zero til.
 

teslacoils

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
Various.

Subsoil. Leave it be. Drill it straight in.

Plough, level with power Harrow. Leave be. Drill straight in. Highest risk of "chocolate pudding".

Plough. Run a drag through to freshen it up on a strong frost. Might have to power Harrow ahead of the drill.

Solo. Drill straight in in spring.

Typically, whichever one you do, your daddy will imply you should have done another after the event.
 

MX7

Member
Location
cotswolds
The heaviest land I have ever had to plough was literally across the road from the Immingham oil refinery storage tanks.
The soil was like cutting through steel
with a plough. I think they were going to run some heavy discs, set straight, over it just to slice it and then hopefully nature would do the rest ,as they were ( to my amazement) going to plant vining peas in the field in the spring!!!
 

ajd132

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Suffolk
Cultivated rough then left, worked well. Now we are dd’ing. Some fields yield more and some less, it’s down to inherant fertility and drainage.
I do think DD is slightly more risky in the spring on heavy land than cultivated as it takes a day or two longer to be drillable and in some years a couple days is very important.
I’m not wholly comfortable with DD in the spring on clay but getting better at it. Last year my highest and lowest yielding spring crops were cultivated, all the DD stuff averaged the same though.
 

yellowbelly

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
N.Lincs
Really heavy land, that's going to be drilled next spring, will be ploughed NOW.

If you can plough it any later and still get a seedbed in spring, then it might be heavy land but it's certainly not really heavy land.

As @MX7 says, some of that land down the marsh by the Humber Bank is 'rum old kelt'.
 

cricketandcrops

Member
BASIS
Location
Lincolnshire
HEVA combidisc done 10 days ago when dry, then one pass with cultipress - leaves it almost there as a seedbed

have found that more we do in autumn (when dry) makes it so much easier in spring as one pass with NZ then drill
 

Renaultman

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Darlington
Really heavy land, that's going to be drilled next spring, will be ploughed NOW.

If you can plough it any later and still get a seedbed in spring, then it might be heavy land but it's certainly not really heavy land.

As @MX7 says, some of that land down the marsh by the Humber Bank is 'rum old kelt'.
That's why all the tile factories are down there, using that good Humber clay
 

robs1

Member
Only ever grew one spring crop here before dd, we ploughed in late oct had a few frosts and ph drilled linseed, we were lucky as the weather worked for us, since going dd we have spring crops every year just need to wait till the ground is suitable but you dont lose the moisture so it all grows.
 

teslacoils

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
Currently clay here after grass is too hard to plough. I mean, it would plough if needed, with 240hp on 4 furrows and a new set of tyres on order. Next door have ploughed some which has currently looks like a field of bumpy brick rubble. Certainly the 7mm yesterday will not have mellowed it.
 

Will 1594

Member
Arable Farmer
Really heavy land, that's going to be drilled next spring, will be ploughed NOW.

If you can plough it any later and still get a seedbed in spring, then it might be heavy land but it's certainly not really heavy land.

As @MX7 says, some of that land down the marsh by the Humber Bank is 'rum old kelt'.
yellow belly think mx wants a bit of this to play with cat sh!t or concrete
 

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When we grew maize we found that with autumn ploughing the ground slumped too much over the winter and we couldn’t dry it out to get a seedbed, almost had to start again.
I’m currently waiting for enough rain to penetrate my lumps of concrete but I fear when that happens it will be game over for this autumn. Time will tell.
 

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