No till and cover crops in Scotland

jh.

Member
Location
fife
Keep getting told it'll never work up here but I'm convinced it will be the direction we get forced down in coming years.

Cover crops after harvest might not get sown until mid to late September, is this too late to get a decent stand going into winter ?

Spring crops later drilled into colder wetter seedbeds than down south . Combine wheeling deeper in the early years since being ploughed since forever.

The crop residues a good bit wetter too causing the 2 Simon's theory ? , plus keeping ground colder in the spring ?

Lots of hills , stones and very variable soils to deal with . I don't think tines will work as well on hillsides due to "crabbing and soil throw" so discs with short working zones make most sense imo . I do like idea of inverted T of novag and cross slot for the heavier ground but maybe a single disc like 750 or avatar will travel better in the variable conditions of the hills ?

Starter fert probably a must.

Searches don't bring up much for Scotland . How would the DDers try and make a go of it up here and stand a chance .
 

Farmer Fin

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
I put a couple hectares of oats / vetch and oats / mustard in this autumn as a play. No fertiliser just cultivated then sown. It didn’t go in until second week of September. It all grew but didn’t come to much not even enough to warrant grazing. The mustard didn’t make it past Christmas. They say we will see the benefit in two crops time. I’ll have to wait and see but at the moment I would put it down as a fail!
 

Chae1

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
Keep getting told it'll never work up here but I'm convinced it will be the direction we get forced down in coming years.

Cover crops after harvest might not get sown until mid to late September, is this too late to get a decent stand going into winter ?

You can use cover crops instead of fallow for greening. Think it counts as 0.3.

Spring crops later drilled into colder wetter seedbeds than down south . Combine wheeling deeper in the early years since being ploughed since forever.

The crop residues a good bit wetter too causing the 2 Simon's theory ? , plus keeping ground colder in the spring ?

Lots of hills , stones and very variable soils to deal with . I don't think tines will work as well on hillsides due to "crabbing and soil throw" so discs with short working zones make most sense imo . I do like idea of inverted T of novag and cross slot for the heavier ground but maybe a single disc like 750 or avatar will travel better in the variable conditions of the hills ?

Starter fert probably a must.

Searches don't bring up much for Scotland . How would the DDers try and make a go of it up here and stand a chance .

Thing is if you say it won't work up here your classed as a idiot!:ROFLMAO:

Some pioneers have tried it around here and went back to plough. They didn't do it like i would have and the tff massive recommend.

My plan when finances allow is to buy a direct drill for cover crops and forage crops. Experiment with this and dip my toe in water to see what will/won't work.

If winter crops fail you've a 2nd chance in spring if mainly spring crops anyway.

Can split fields in springtime half conventional/half direct drilled. Compare yields.

I'd advise going to groundswell. You'll learn a lot there. My favourite presentations were simon C and silliam whale. Hadn't spent a fortune on fancy machinery and didn't make you feel stupid for ploughing 1 passing.
 

PSQ

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Scottish Borders
?popcorn at the ready.

I keep thinking of farm saved spring oats DD'd in the autumn (Sprinter with bean points), but it would need ploughed due to the allelopathic effect of the oats on the following spring crop ?!
 
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Just strip down the component parts a bit:

Drilling into OSR stubble is easy - Tick
Drilling into Winter Barley should be easy - Tick
OSR into WW is potentially trickier but its not as if there aren't plenty of one pass machines already doing a similar job in Scotland and the North.
Spring Cropping Barley/ Oats - my opinion is don't go super thick on cover crops. Just get something that can keep the soil a bit open - I think beans/ peas as cover crop could be a good option- they're don't form part of the Scottish cash crop portfolio much so not too many worries about nematodes, they can wick away moisture but leave the canopy reasonably open because of high N/C ratio.

Don't be afraid to do a bit of short discing or something to get confident - do the easy bits first eg into rape, into winter barley. I'd love to read the statistics on later drilling dates and colder seedbeds in Scotland vs elsewhere. Your advantage is longer days - does the plant know it needs to be in early?
 

quattro

Member
Location
scotland
We’ve a short window for getting crops in up here,you don’t see much drilled after October in a normal year
been growing a green manure crop for 3years and it does the ground a lot of good
but that’s instead of a spring sown crop
 
If I was to start DD again I would go down the Claydon system first , only because of the leading tine to drain away water from the seed . Being just over the Welsh border near Chester we get I would think nearly as much rain as you in the north, and if I drill before a wet spell with my SimTech drill the channels will flood with water. I would like SimTech to design something similar to the Claydon tine to run instead of the disk but I think patents might be involved.
 

Farmer Fin

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
Just strip down the component parts a bit:

Drilling into OSR stubble is easy - Tick
Drilling into Winter Barley should be easy - Tick
OSR into WW is potentially trickier but its not as if there aren't plenty of one pass machines already doing a similar job in Scotland and the North.
Spring Cropping Barley/ Oats - my opinion is don't go super thick on cover crops. Just get something that can keep the soil a bit open - I think beans/ peas as cover crop could be a good option- they're don't form part of the Scottish cash crop portfolio much so not too many worries about nematodes, they can wick away moisture but leave the canopy reasonably open because of high N/C ratio.

Don't be afraid to do a bit of short discing or something to get confident - do the easy bits first eg into rape, into winter barley. I'd love to read the statistics on later drilling dates and colder seedbeds in Scotland vs elsewhere. Your advantage is longer days - does the plant know it needs to be in early?
We tend to find up here if autumn stuff is not in early it generally struggles to get decent establishment by the time winter comes and yield then suffers. There is a claydon near me and his stuff looks ok. My agronomist has a client with a Mzuri and the feedback is that it pulls up a lot of stones.
For me it’s getting spring barley to perform that is the number one priority. If it could be done with DD I’d be in.
 

Happy

Member
Location
Scotland
If I was to start DD again I would go down the Claydon system first , only because of the leading tine to drain away water from the seed . Being just over the Welsh border near Chester we get I would think nearly as much rain as you in the north, and if I drill before a wet spell with my SimTech drill the channels will flood with water. I would like SimTech to design something similar to the Claydon tine to run instead of the disk but I think patents might be involved.

Interesting. At Nroso course a month ago I was sat next to a guy who has been direct drilling up here for 9 years.
Says he has a Moore and a Claydon but that he can’t get the Claydon to perform with his spring crops at all so it does all his autumn sowing and the Moore gets the spring work.

Very interested in this thread. Have never seen my ground plough up as sad as it’s looking this year.
Would love to be able to successfully DD the place instead. It’s the heavy ground that concerns me. I know many down south are successfully DD’ing heavy clay but I suspect it tends to be a dry heavy clay a lot more often than the stuff with me. Could it still be successfully done?
 

jh.

Member
Location
fife
Don't go crazy on the cover crops just work on the no till and follow the "rules" and see how you get on.

If the Finns can do it why can't the Jocks?
I was thinking the opposite . My dad has always been a "ploughing needs done before Christmas" type for the spring cereals into heavier ground . More often than not , this has been the case as well .

This year I went into a heavy 30acre field we have to plough on the 20th November , I've now been in it 8 times and given up , with the plough as shallow as I can get away with just to try and get it done and keep the pan shallower . The last attempt was last week on a frost but as soon as the frost came out the ground mid morning , I was stopped again . The land now is coming over like a mirror and soaking wet compared to how it was in November. I have pictures but it's not pretty or clever so better not pollute this forum with them .

That was why I was thinking we would definitely need a cover crop to sook up this moisture and hopefully some big roots to open it up ?

Edit , just seen your later reply [emoji106]
 
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jh.

Member
Location
fife
Quite a few claydons running in the borders, and I see you are in the kingdom, I guess growing conditions maybe similar in both areas.
Don't really fancy a Clayton or tined machine tbh. Stones are bad but a fair few hillsides to sow , I just think any soil throw will fall down the hillside rather than stay in the strip
 

Chae1

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
I was thinking the opposite . My dad has always been a "ploughing needs done before Christmas" type for the spring cereals into heavier ground . More often than not , this has been the case as well .

This year I went into a heavy 30acre field we have to plough on the 20th November , I've now been in it 8 times and given up , with the plough as shallow as I can get away with just to try and get it done and keep the pan shallower . The last attempt was last week on a frost but as soon as the frost came out the ground mid morning , I was stopped again . The land now is coming over like a mirror and soaking wet compared to how it was in November. I have pictures but it's not pretty or clever so better not pollute this forum with them .

That was why I was thinking we would definitely need a cover crop to sook up this moisture and hopefully some big roots to open it up ?

Edit , just seen your later reply [emoji106]

I remember seeing a picture of your ploughing. Looked heavy stuff!
 

jh.

Member
Location
fife
If I was to start DD again I would go down the Claydon system first , only because of the leading tine to drain away water from the seed . Being just over the Welsh border near Chester we get I would think nearly as much rain as you in the north, and if I drill before a wet spell with my SimTech drill the channels will flood with water. I would like SimTech to design something similar to the Claydon tine to run instead of the disk but I think patents might be involved.
Interesting read as one of the few tine machine I like the look of is a simtech with its inverted T but again I feel all the hills will have depth control all over the place as it drags through hollows and over hilltops? Also the leading disc looks quite far in front for crabbing on a hillside
 

jh.

Member
Location
fife
I remember seeing a picture of your ploughing. Looked heavy stuff!
Got a strip of 5 fields up through the middle of the farm . Either side is fine enough stuff . This strip would probably be better in grass for a AD cow . 2 fields as good as ploughed now but tempted to leave the other 3 as fallow , rather than panning at depth and then having to throw metal and diesel at it , to try and make a seed bed this late . If it gets dry it turns to type 1. Gut feeling is it will struggle now to get close to 2 ton a acre of barley .

My thinking at the moment is to drill a summer cover crop by shallow disc and in with combi , then try DD in the back end but all could be pointless if the following harvest , normally September is too late for another decent cover crop to establish.

Not much between harvest dates between winter wheat , spring barley or oats so it's getting a late sown but winter hardy mix that does the job .
 

KB6930

Member
Location
Borders
There's a few round here that are shallow discing cover crop in or direct drilling and this year it's been a disaster due to late drilling and wet conditions where in a normal year its 3ft tall this year 3inch has been the norm .

We put our first cover crops in behind winter barley this year but due to straw lying it was a month late it was just spread off the back of the sumo worked 8 inch deep and it was still growing fine in mid January when someone put sheep on to graze it . It was about a foot tall and reasonably thick but could have been better if it got off to a better start .

As I said before there's a few that have jumped headlong into DD and it's not been a good season to start there's a lot of re drilling to do in the spring
 

Top cereal and oilseed growers honoured at the Yield Enhancement Network Awards 2021

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Despite an average growing year for most crops, many growers managed to go above and beyond their predicted max yields, with Lincolnshire grower Tim Lamyman taking the top spots for his wheat yields and his world record breaking winter barley yield.

The highest cereal and oilseed yields achieved at harvest 2021 were announced at this year’s Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) Awards on Wednesday 24th November at the Croptec Show. With award presentations by Tom Bradshaw, Vice President of NFU, 24 farms took home the evening’s top awards for highest yield and highest potential yield achieved for wheat, winter and spring barley, oats, and oilseed. The 2021 winners came from all corners of the UK, as well as from as far afield as Finland and New Zealand.

Familiar names from 2020 made the...
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