My direct drill and cultivation trial 2022

snarling bee

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Bedfordshire
I have split a heavy clay field into 4. Direct drill, shallow cultivation, Plough and shallow discs with low disturbance to 200mm. This is the first year. 5th winter wheat, straw removed, FYM and compost applied April 2021 in previous crop. Unfortunately the grass weeds seem to have suddenly got worse in all parts of the field except the ploughed area, so we have applied 500g Pacifica plus a few weeks ago, to the whole field except the ploughed section. The crop has taken a huge hit, but much more in the DD section.
In the photo, the bit nearest the camera is DD, then shallow, then plough and the top of the hill is deep tilled. It will be taken to yield over a weighbridge, but the Pacifica has rather mucked up what I was trying to do (or perhaps it has not)

It was mainly drilled either with an Avatar, which finished half way across the ploughed section, or a vaddy, at about 400 seeds in mid October. The poles mark the boundary of the plots
IMG_5178[1].JPG
 

snarling bee

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Bedfordshire
The usual fft.pdm.dff approach pre em and post em. 360g fft total. No avadex though, which with hindsight it should have had but it was not a particularly dirty field last year.
 

snarling bee

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Bedfordshire
Niab star project showing highest margin in shallow till again (they don’t have a true dd in that though).
I was thinking that might be the case here until the grass weed burden necessitated the SU spray. Grass weed SUs not used on this field for probably 15 years. I think if it hadn't been my trial field I would have glyphosated the lot and started again.
 
I would not contemplate growing 5 winter straw crops any farming system herbicides cannot compensate for the increased weed burden
and in the last 35 years I have never had 5 consecutive autumns when mid October planting produces a descent crop soil type and rain fall the freer draining soil round here should not surport runs of winter cereals

Imho su should be used very early March or later in April
if bg is not the target bromes ect later in April is the safest and most effective with much less crop effect and good blw and wild oat control compare to earlier application
also with notill crops and su I would never need to use growth regulator
 

Badshot

Member
Location
Kent
I'd also never try so many wheat crops in a rotation.

I'm looking forward to doing my T2 fungicides. I don't think I've much BG to spot this year at all.
Fingers crossed.

It's not all about yield, it's about sustainable cropping IMO, I know, i know, I hate myself for saying it, but we've been too shortsighted over the years chasing yield, and expecting it to continue.
Why not change things up a bit, have an easier life, but make just as much££
The suppliers have done a good job of brainwashing us into massive outlay for mediocre returns.
 

Two Tone

Member
Mixed Farmer
Very interesting. Well done for trying. However there are a few golden rules that have been broken that have come back to haunt you @snarling bee .
We need a lot more information about what types of drill were used and when the crop was drilled.

This is a 5th successive wheat crop on heavy land.
I’d have thought with the build up of Blackgrass, ploughing was just about the only option to try and control it in this situation. Even then, I’m surprised you can get away without the need for an SU Pacifica type herbicide to control it.

Min till doesn’t bury enough viable Blackgrass seed far enough below the surface to prevent it from growing.

With regards the DD, was it a Tine or Disc drill?
Whatever, to get any comparison, the DD section needed drilling at least a fortnight before any of the other sections.
The reason being that you won’t have made any nutrients available that any type of cultivation would have. Therefore, the DD section needs that extra 2 weeks to get started.

Also, contrary to what we believe with anything other than DD, being that delaying drilling will reduce the Blackgrass burden, with DD you can easily run into a situation whereby the wheat cannot compete against the Blackgrass enough, because it needs that earlier, extra time to be able to do so.

Also, the DD drill needs to be one that gives the absolute minimal soil disturbance possible so as not to disturb and wake up any Blackgrass seed.

As @ajd132 rightly says high herbicides rates can easily damage DD’d crop, especially if put on in a stack in the Autumn, therefore stunting the crop even further.

DD needs a completely different mindset compared to conventional, to be successful. Continuous wheat isn’t a good point to start and you need a decent rotation, probably not even using 2nd wheats.

Successful DDing is a complicated balance of timing, drilling when the soils conditions are at their best and not hammering them with herbicides all in one go.

Because Blackgrass seems to be worse in wheat, I’d want to use only 1st wheats after a break crop. Winter Barley, Especially the Hybrids are much better in a Blackgrass situation and far more ideally suited to a 2nd White straw crop. Especially on heavy land where Spring Barley will struggle. Whatever Break-crop you use needs to be one that controls Blackgrass well enough to prevent a Blackgrass situation from worsening.
 

snarling bee

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Bedfordshire
That field was continuous wheat for nearly 20 years before a short break. During that time it was the most profitable field on the farm compared to a 2WW,break rotation. It was also one of the cleanest fields on the farm from a grass weed point of view. We used to get reliably 8-9t/ha full spec milling wheat, with mainly deep min till. We have a lot of pH8s, never use latitude and rarely see take all. BLWs are easy

We were discussing at lunch that possibly we should move to a winter wheat, spring wheat rotation to keep on top of grass weeds and make a margin/profit. Beans are at best 1 yr in 6, OSR is a risk and we have never been very good at it, peas I hate with a passion, linseed ditto, spring barley we can never get malting and harvest clashes with wheat. oats are usually hard to sell. Whats not to like. I know gross margin isn't profit, but wheat has consistently given us a very good margin compared to other crops, enough to outweigh cutting fixed costs. Other crops still need to be established, tended, harvested and stored.

As in OP it was drilled with a demo Avatar, not available earlier, although a bit was done with a Cayenna. there is very little to pick between them.

I know it is not a perfect demonstration of DDing, but do I drill the DD section 2 weeks earlier then come back and it has pi$$ed with rain delaying the rest for weeks or 6 months, that is then not a fair trial. Do I change 10 things or just the one, ie the cultivation.
As above it is a long time since I used a grass weed SU, but it was either that or glyphosate.

TBH until spring growth the DD section looked as well as the others, so I don't think it was short of anything, it had muck the previous April.
 

teslacoils

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
My non-DD brain would suggest that, where there is a BG burden, that one year of break crop will not do a decent enough job. The inconsistency and lack of £££ make more cereals tempting.

Demos in not perfect conditions are quite useful. Because perfect conditions are not frequent.
 

Two Tone

Member
Mixed Farmer
That field was continuous wheat for nearly 20 years before a short break. During that time it was the most profitable field on the farm compared to a 2WW,break rotation. It was also one of the cleanest fields on the farm from a grass weed point of view. We used to get reliably 8-9t/ha full spec milling wheat, with mainly deep min till. We have a lot of pH8s, never use latitude and rarely see take all. BLWs are easy

We were discussing at lunch that possibly we should move to a winter wheat, spring wheat rotation to keep on top of grass weeds and make a margin/profit. Beans are at best 1 yr in 6, OSR is a risk and we have never been very good at it, peas I hate with a passion, linseed ditto, spring barley we can never get malting and harvest clashes with wheat. oats are usually hard to sell. Whats not to like. I know gross margin isn't profit, but wheat has consistently given us a very good margin compared to other crops, enough to outweigh cutting fixed costs. Other crops still need to be established, tended, harvested and stored.

As in OP it was drilled with a demo Avatar, not available earlier, although a bit was done with a Cayenna. there is very little to pick between them.

I know it is not a perfect demonstration of DDing, but do I drill the DD section 2 weeks earlier then come back and it has pi$$ed with rain delaying the rest for weeks or 6 months, that is then not a fair trial. Do I change 10 things or just the one, ie the cultivation.
As above it is a long time since I used a grass weed SU, but it was either that or glyphosate.

TBH until spring growth the DD section looked as well as the others, so I don't think it was short of anything, it had muck the previous April.
It is one hell of a dilemma, isn’t it?

I love your signature at the bottom of all your posts. You know your land better than anybody else and in in your situation, I’d be tempted not to alter what you have been doing.

But, worth a try to see what happens when you do.
I’d be interested to know if you might be tempted to use a plough if it avoids the need for an SU?

I’ve always regarded SU’s against BG as one hell of a stiff PGR, avoiding the need for any follow up PGR at T0 or T1.
Maybe this is where they go wrong?
Blackgrass SU’s don’t work that well any more. Is this because they stunt the wheat crop for so along that it gives time for the BG to recover?

IMO, this why Winter Barley’s have a deterrent effect against BG.
Firstly, we cannot use BG SU’s on them.
Secondly, the Barley is so aggressive against BG, that it just gives up!
 

Flat 10

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Fen Edge
That field was continuous wheat for nearly 20 years before a short break. During that time it was the most profitable field on the farm compared to a 2WW,break rotation. It was also one of the cleanest fields on the farm from a grass weed point of view. We used to get reliably 8-9t/ha full spec milling wheat, with mainly deep min till. We have a lot of pH8s, never use latitude and rarely see take all. BLWs are easy

We were discussing at lunch that possibly we should move to a winter wheat, spring wheat rotation to keep on top of grass weeds and make a margin/profit. Beans are at best 1 yr in 6, OSR is a risk and we have never been very good at it, peas I hate with a passion, linseed ditto, spring barley we can never get malting and harvest clashes with wheat. oats are usually hard to sell. Whats not to like. I know gross margin isn't profit, but wheat has consistently given us a very good margin compared to other crops, enough to outweigh cutting fixed costs. Other crops still need to be established, tended, harvested and stored.

As in OP it was drilled with a demo Avatar, not available earlier, although a bit was done with a Cayenna. there is very little to pick between them.

I know it is not a perfect demonstration of DDing, but do I drill the DD section 2 weeks earlier then come back and it has pi$$ed with rain delaying the rest for weeks or 6 months, that is then not a fair trial. Do I change 10 things or just the one, ie the cultivation.
As above it is a long time since I used a grass weed SU, but it was either that or glyphosate.

TBH until spring growth the DD section looked as well as the others, so I don't think it was short of anything, it had muck the previous April.
Thanks for sharing the trial. It may not be perfect but i'm sure you will learn something and thanks for sharing.
 

snarling bee

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Bedfordshire
It is one hell of a dilemma, isn’t it?

I love your signature at the bottom of all your posts. You know your land better than anybody else and in in your situation, I’d be tempted not to alter what you have been doing.

But, worth a try to see what happens when you do.
I’d be interested to know if you might be tempted to use a plough if it avoids the need for an SU?

I’ve always regarded SU’s against BG as one hell of a stiff PGR, avoiding the need for any follow up PGR at T0 or T1.
Maybe this is where they go wrong?
Blackgrass SU’s don’t work that well any more. Is this because they stunt the wheat crop for so along that it gives time for the BG to recover?

IMO, this why Winter Barley’s have a deterrent effect against BG.
Firstly, we cannot use BG SU’s on them.
Secondly, the Barley is so aggressive against BG, that it just gives up!
If your blackgrass gives up in WBly, it must be a different strain to mine, but I know what you mean its not as strong with much reduced seed return.

We don't often plough, but it does work on BG if done properly, and then keep it shallow for a year or 3

There has been no PGR application where the SU was applied, only a bit of teb, mn and mg.
 

Two Tone

Member
Mixed Farmer
If your blackgrass gives up in WBly, it must be a different strain to mine, but I know what you mean its not as strong with much reduced seed return.

We don't often plough, but it does work on BG if done properly, and then keep it shallow for a year or 3

There has been no PGR application where the SU was applied, only a bit of teb, mn and mg.
Winter Barley’s Blackgrass suppression seems to work well with Hybrids.
Surprisingly well considering it is planted at such a low seed rate!

I did want to try some Sensation Conventional this year which is also supposed to be good against BG, but it never turned up.

IMO it is the tallness of the crop that has such a tremendous effect against the BG. It isn’t masking it, the BG just gives up.
The same effect happens when using tall wheat varieties, especially when drilled at a highish seed rate.
Which also IMO gets buggered up if using an SU against BG. The SU doesn’t work, then because you’ve shortened the wheat too much, the surviving BG explodes into life again and takes over.

Again, what works here, might not necessarily work with you.
However, I find using Hybrid Winter barley a very useful tool against the never ending war against BG. Even when establishing it with DD.

It’s a war we will never win. But we can win many battles.
The trouble being that if we lose a battle, it takes a lot of wins to get back to were we started and recover to control the level we had.

Which is why although I have converted to DD, there is still a plough in my shed - just in case……..or in really for nostalgia purposes! ( PS, FFS don’t tell @Clive, @ajd132 or @Badshot!!)
 

snarling bee

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Bedfordshire
We have used hybrid barleys but have had issues with bushel weights so we have reverted to 2 row admittedly on fairly BG free land.

We find if you go looking for the BG in hybrid barley you will find it, but it does look a bit sickly.
 

Badshot

Member
Location
Kent
Winter Barley’s Blackgrass suppression seems to work well with Hybrids.
Surprisingly well considering it is planted at such a low seed rate!

I did want to try some Sensation Conventional this year which is also supposed to be good against BG, but it never turned up.

IMO it is the tallness of the crop that has such a tremendous effect against the BG. It isn’t masking it, the BG just gives up.
The same effect happens when using tall wheat varieties, especially when drilled at a highish seed rate.
Which also IMO gets buggered up if using an SU against BG. The SU doesn’t work, then because you’ve shortened the wheat too much, the surviving BG explodes into life again and takes over.

Again, what works here, might not necessarily work with you.
However, I find using Hybrid Winter barley a very useful tool against the never ending war against BG. Even when establishing it with DD.

It’s a war we will never win. But we can win many battles.
The trouble being that if we lose a battle, it takes a lot of wins to get back to were we started and recover to control the level we had.

Which is why although I have converted to DD, there is still a plough in my shed - just in case……..or in really for nostalgia purposes! ( PS, FFS don’t tell @Clive, @ajd132 or @Badshot!!)
I've still got a plough, power Harrow drill, opico v disc, shakerator, paddle rolls,

Don't intend to use them, but they're very old, and very depreciated so probably appreciating in value these days.
I may actually flog the plough and combi drill.
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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