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Low input spring sown cereal option woes

Discussion in 'Direct Drilling Crops & Agronomy' started by Ruston3w, Apr 22, 2018.

  1. Ruston3w

    Ruston3w Member

    south suffolk
    IMG_20180422_191054.jpg IMG_20180422_191244.jpg IMG_20180422_191452.jpg We have a field coming out of the old HLS this year, it has been in the above for 7 years. the plan was to alternate between to sides of one patchy, hilly, sandy generally pretty hopeless field.
    After 3 years i gave up trying to make the rules work to produce a crop, rather just provide for the scheme as cheaply as i could, so have left the block on one spot as continuous spring barley/triticale with no intention of harvest.
    Since the arrival of a Simtech drill the condition of the soil together with establishment costs have improved dramatically. In the past we always ploughed rye/spring barley straw in, then likely had to power harrow as rolls bulldozed on the soft dry bits and heavy one end needed a bit of help.
    Now i am tempted to try and earn some money of it, I drilled Barley today and it was apleasure to do, no soft banks drilled to deep, heavy all covered up fine.
    What should i try? crop it every other year? We already lost several similar fields to PP with successive schemes and that grass is almost valueless as grazing (well hereabouts anyway)
  2. Im new to all this cover cropping and regenerative soil building job but from what i inderstand youve basically had a cover crop on for the past few years and thats why the soil has imporved so much.
    If spring barley is a success then plant some sort of cover in for the winter to keep building soil carbon over winter into spring. Try another spring crop or keep the cover on over summer for a winter crop. Put all straw back into the soil and keep as many green plants living in the soil for as long as possible all the time. The soil should keep improving every year especially by direct drilling and without ploughing or cultivations. You should see improvements every year.
    I think ive explained it properly anyway there are much more knowledgable people than me on here hopefully they will have something to add.
    You should find the soil under your permanant pastures vastly improved because of having green cover on it full time for so long too.
    Kiwi Pete, Kevtherev and Farmer Roy like this.
  3. Ruston3w

    Ruston3w Member

    south suffolk
    well yes and no, the spring cereal option precludes use of cover crop (they are after a weed species rich, thin stubble for winter foraging). The PP is listed species rich "acid grassland" so no inputs. We don't get a lot of rain here( normally!) so grazing is still poor, in fact i let it for nowt and still end up having to sort the fencing.I don't see much to gain with more grass butwas wondering if i could make an economic case for alternate year cropping, stuff the Higher Tier, then could have 15 month cover /forage crop ? ( we do graze better grass and cover crops but still no income generated directly)
  4. martian

    martian DD Moderator

    N Herts
    Looks like an ideal field to try a bit of 'pasture cropping' on, Colin Seis-style. You could keep your under-storey of pp and just slot a vigorous and tall spring cereal into it and stand back. Spring oats or triticale might be worth a go. Might need to set your combine table quite high, or get a stripper header to harvest the cereal.
    Kiwi Pete, The Ruminant and hendrebc like this.
  5. mikep

    mikep Member

    As above but maybe try Rye on your land. There is a semi perrenial rye that I am looking at to give the HLS over wintered stubble and the spring crop without resowing. Proving difficult to trace but managed to get 10kg to sow in the summer.
  6. Ruston3w

    Ruston3w Member

    south suffolk
    Thanks,that's the sort of thing i was wondering about, i guess if they don't let me in to the higher tier ( i'm not sure after all the preparation even if it's worth the trouble?) i look forward to having a go....i'll see if the sheep man can graze it right down this summer and thin out some of the things I've let grow. If i don't get into the higher tier i might try and win back a couple more similar fields which have slipped into PP,might make it more worth having a go
    That sounds interesting, we used to grow rye there in the good old days, off to Ryvita for decent money, latterly we grew hybrid stuff, huge seed cost, record breaking fungicide spend, still sub 2t/acre and they didn't really want it anyhow - though i don't really blame folks for wanting more interesting ingredients in their biscuit, the original version did lack appeal ?
  7. Kiwi Pete

    Kiwi Pete Member

    Owaka, New Zealand
    Has gone out of fashion and back in many times in the past decades, loves sandy soils (or soils made from ryecorn residues in my experiences) and good feed quality, good quantity too.
    Or triticale, if that is a more marketable option for you.

    As Martian said, they are vigorous and tall enough that you could simply scoop the grain off the top and broadcast a little back on so the residues cover it as they collapse and/or bale some off and go again and again - much more to life than doing what everyone else does (effectiveness trumps most things)
    Ruston3w, hendrebc and Farmer Roy like this.
  8. Ruston3w

    Ruston3w Member

    south suffolk
    I may have been being lazy at the time ,we moved from rye to triticale, but selling for £5-10 below the price of feed wheat was "the last straw" -maybe costs now would make it work?
  9. mikep

    mikep Member

    I used to find triticale was cheaper to grow and mixed it in with the wheat for sale. Only trouble was ergot.

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