No Till Where to start?

Discussion in 'Direct Drilling General Discussion' started by Jimmy3645, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Jimmy3645

    Jimmy3645 New Member

    Hi everyone, I’ve always been interested in direct drilling and have this year started looking into it a bit more... we currently plough every inch of our farm and that wont change in the near future.... but im keen to build up my knowledge and learn more for the future...
    Ive found lots of useful info on these forums about specific aspects but im looking for more general info on where to start ie. courses, upcoming events, books etc where where a complete newbe should start....
    Thanks in advance for your help
  2. Warp Land Farmer

    Hazzard County
    Where abouts in the country are you? What land type? What cropping? What motivation (save cost / save time / save the soil)? What current equipment? ... are all questions that will be asked so advice can be offered. There is a growing library of information, on her especially that you can use for research and some farmers who are willing to share. Sign up for the Direct Driller magazine, it’s first few editions have referenced some of the good historical information and it gives a diary of relative events on the back cover I think.
  3. Jimmy3645

    Jimmy3645 New Member

    Hi, thanks for your response, we’re in the West Midlands mostly heavy loam with about 1/4 of the farm sand in a separate block
    My motivation is climate change (doing my bit), saving time and being more efficient but also improving the soil, increasing organic matter and potentially reducing our reliance on fertiliser in the future. We plough and combi everything and have for the last 10 years, the farm was a mixed/dairy farm before then and i think we are still reaping the benifits from those days. I certainly don’t expect it to be easy and i would imagine yields would be down for years after making the switch, but its more about ‘the greater good’ or something like that.....
    Farmer Roy likes this.
  4. britt

    britt Member

    leics/warks border
    No need for your yields to be down after changing to notill unless you are on a very high input system now, in which case the cost savings will probably even things out.
    Going straight from annual ploughing to notill will hurt.
    Start by going min (not max !) till to give your soil a chance to develop strata, with occasional or biannual notill.
    Subsoil the first year to brake your plough pan.
    It will take time for your soil to build up structure, a worm and invertebrate population, fungi etc. Don't expect to be able to go straight from one extreme to the other.
  5. Go on tour this winter and make friends with farmers with as many no till farmers as possible but most importantly see their farms not just what they tell you.

    (I like a nice bottle of Jura)
  6. Jimmy3645

    Jimmy3645 New Member

    Thanks..... Everyone seems to talk about the transition period between the two extremes..... seems a shame to have to buy any special machines for that though, I’m wondering what the cheapest/simplest min till set up I would need during that period? We’re only about 400ac
  7. Warp Land Farmer

    Hazzard County
    How handy are you? Convert something to DD tines? Freeflow or Horsch? Look for a Moore?
  8. marco

    marco Member

    tipperary, ireland
    What you want is conservation agriculture, not necessarily dd. Start with cover crops and broadening your rotation.
    Farmer Roy likes this.
  9. Will Blackburn

    What is your rotation?
  10. Jimmy3645

    Jimmy3645 New Member

    WW W oats WW potatoes (let out)
    WB maize Potatoes WB on sand
  11. You could get a grant for 40% of a new drill
    Which may work out cheaper in the long run

    Second hand disc drills often need new discs and bearings

    Find some farmers who do notill well on your soil types and study what aspects they do well but most of all learn from their mistakes

    You also need to stick at it and not worry what it looks like from the road
    pine_guy likes this.
  12. pine_guy

    pine_guy Member

    North Cumbria
    The potatoes could be tricky for DD. Don’t think they’ll fit down the pipes

    But seriously, very interested in this as I’m considering it. Was going to jump on the deepend and get a demo to DD some WB. But haven’t managed. Asked a contractor with a uni to do it. He thought I was mad. Just uses it for grass, cover crops and game cover, stubble turnips. What’s wrong with the plough/combi he said. I don’t think Cumbria is ready for DD yet :(:D
    KennyO likes this.
  13. Will Blackburn

    I think with so many spuds I'd be looking more to non-inversion minimum tillage? Maize is a funny one as well not very often you can no-till after.
  14. Brisel

    Brisel Member

    Consider strip till drills as a starting point. After maize and spuds you may well need the soil loosening tine. It would be hard to go no till with maize & spuds as if you have to plough you're effectively pushing the reset button.

    Mzuri are based at Pershore. I have a Claydon as a stepping stone into no till. Perhaps chat up @wellingtonfarmer as he's in your part of the world & runs a Mzuri.

    In terms of knowledge, TFF is excellent. Look at joining BASE UK and get yourself to the Groundswell event next June. Lots of links to resources in a sub section of the Direct Drilling part of TFF.
    juke likes this.
  15. Fish

    Fish Member

    North yorkshire
    How good is your drainage?
    If you have any problems at all, fix them first, before even considering no-till.
    Andrew K, juke, Brisel and 1 other person like this.
  16. cows r us

    cows r us Member

    We have properly jumped in at the deep end. Before this year we either ploughed or soloed all our ground. We are currently direct drilling the lot. I looked at strip till drills but felt that they germinated too much black grass for us and don't suit late drilling at all. We are on heavy clays and silty clay loams. I think this is a great year to get started as mother nature has subsoiler it for us. I write in the Direct Driller so you can follow the ups and downs and learn from where we go wrong (I'm brutally honest about our own failings).
  17. Yields don't really drop if you can plan it properly. That's a bit of a myth. If you've got spuds staying in the rotation though I'm not sure I'd bother with no till.
  18. farmerm

    farmerm Member

    Spuds surely will destroy soil faster than it can improve during your no till cereal years?
    SilliamWhale and Brisel like this.
  19. chaffcutter

    chaffcutter Moderator

    S. Staffs
    Not just the excessive cultivations, but Vydate or Temik or whatever is used for eelworm treatment these days will kill all the beneficials that have been carefully built up by the previous cropping and lack of disturbance.
    Fish, farmerm and Brisel like this.
  20. Jimmy3645

    Jimmy3645 New Member

    Thanks for all your help and advice..... really useful stuff
    The potatoes aren’t ours so they don’t have to stay in the rotation.... but its good money for doing nothing..... and a good wheat afterwards....
    I’m not in a position to do anything at the moment, but I’m keen to learn as much as possible and build up a case to one day persuade the powers that be..... I can see how this year has been great advert for anything except ploughing

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