Organic no till

scotston

Member
Aren't we are just talking around the Norfolk Four Course Rotation? Grass, Cereal, Break, Cereal, Grass? Remember those farmers were up against a Gov determined to drive down food costs for industrial workers, with no subsidy, no well funded trials in place, no agrochemcials, just what they knew and had experienced for themselves. Of course it wasn't perfect, but I'm sure that there is definitely something in what they were doing, and its a good starting point.
Never heard of a Norfolk four course. Seems like the basics of what we already do right enough.
 

scotston

Member
Ordered an 8 furrow reversible ovlac shallow plough. On a 30 day money back guarantee if my brother doesn't like it. Fellow says he will. Getting towed by a 4 pot fendt. Should be interesting... Hope that doesn't upset a direct drilling thread.
 

Cutlerstom

Member
Arable Farmer
Tell us more! Intrigued.
SRC are developing 3 robots, Tom Dick and Harry to carry out per plant farming. Tom is the scouting robot. He locates and records the position of every plant in the field. That is run through cental intelligence "Wilma", and the AI can now recognise wheat from weeds, final nut to crack was blackgrass, and it seems this is now done with help from CHAP and Rothamsted. So Wilma will give this data to Dick, the weed zapper robot who is equipped with several Rootwave probes which electrocute weeds. Dick goes to the location of the weeds and kills them.
Tom and Wilma are running in final prototype before pre series, and Dick early prototype stage. Not sure if Covid has extended timeline, but we were due to see prototypes of Dick working in fields this Autumn.
Other crops will follow.
Harry will be the planting bot, and will come later.
 

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
SRC are developing 3 robots, Tom Dick and Harry to carry out per plant farming. Tom is the scouting robot. He locates and records the position of every plant in the field. That is run through cental intelligence "Wilma", and the AI can now recognise wheat from weeds, final nut to crack was blackgrass, and it seems this is now done with help from CHAP and Rothamsted. So Wilma will give this data to Dick, the weed zapper robot who is equipped with several Rootwave probes which electrocute weeds. Dick goes to the location of the weeds and kills them.
Tom and Wilma are running in final prototype before pre series, and Dick early prototype stage. Not sure if Covid has extended timeline, but we were due to see prototypes of Dick working in fields this Autumn.
Other crops will follow.
Harry will be the planting bot, and will come later.
Any thoughts on using them for veg growing? I’ll have a few acres of organic veg who’d love to meet Tom and Dick this summer!
 

Cutlerstom

Member
Arable Farmer
Any thoughts on using them for veg growing? I’ll have a few acres of organic veg who’d love to meet Tom and Dick this summer!
Yes, eventually, but because there are other solutions already at market for veg (Robocrop etc) it was the vision of the founders to create a solution for broad acre crops first, as thats the biggest market, and the biggest environmental gain
 

scotston

Member
Hope no one is offended if I post a couple of plough pictures! Maximum of 4", just enough to turn the docks and grasses over. Next step is direct drill if we can get the weeder to work.
 

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EddieB

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Staffs
I’m hoping to see a robotic weeder in our spring barley this spring to do a small trial patch. My agronomist has been asked to find some trial sites and asked me if I’m interested.
 

scotston

Member
Thanks for the link to the older thread. It's a very good read. Lentils were fine but weeds were an issue. I ended up combining them at a foot off the ground but had the reel as high as possible dealing with volunteer rape. barsteward. But they grew quite happily. This year we're going to get the robotic weeder working them hard. Yes hodmedods. Plough was around £18k for 8 furrow reversible. Done a magic job at 4 inches. Just enough to turn the weeds and grass upside down. Not great seeing brown soil but only for a month from stu like to growing crop so hopefully not too much carbon lost. Adding hemp and lupins to our rotation this year. Bees should be happy as we're gonna have around a dozen flowering crops. I'll post a drone flowering pic of the farm hopefully at some point.
 
Good thread. I farm organic and have tried many different methods from full tillage, direct drill, min till and lots in between. I would recommend reading Robert Elliot's excellent clifton park farming system and newman turners book, both available online for free. In summary for me that main issue is the weed bank accumulation, especially charlock, hemp nettle and spurry in spring oats. Min till and no till can also exacerbate weed growth if the soil substructure is a problem as the cereal crop will struggle to get down roots whereas the shallow rooting weeds will mop up the surface nutrients. I am of the opinion that the tillage method is just one factor of a very complex equation and isn't a magic bullet for good organic crops although I find that deep conventional ploughing buries the important living humus too deep for the new seeds to get the nutrients and high concentration of bacteria when required e.g. compare using a heavy flat roller with a cambridge roller, the flat roller will encourage weed seed germination far more than the cambridge roller.
I am still learning and refining my approach but this year I am using a chisel plough on a field that had winter kale and hybrid rape last year. Another field will be chisel ploughed, I have cattle overwintered on that field and they are doing the initial tillage. I tried that same method last year on a 5a park and by spring the field looked like something from world war 1, but by the time it was disked the organic matter from the broken turf and cattle dung made an amazing seed bed. I grew Bere barley over sown with a herbal ley that has no ryegrass and it came a treat. I actually ran an experiment with an adjacent field that the cattle had access to as well. I conventional ploughed that field and it was laid down with oats and the same over sown herbal mix. The grass response was poor when compared with the disked field, although it looks fine now. The weeds were far worse on the deep ploughed field. I put this down to a long term weed bank issue that is exacerbated by deep tillage. All it does is bury the seeds in a safe moist location ready to germinate when they are brought to the surface at next tillage. The weed seeds are moist and therefore more ready to germinate and get a head start on the cereal crop. I don't do enough cropping to justify expensive robotic machinery but I am convinced that historically farmers did not have our modern methods and found ways to be productive.
 
Good video. I would of liked to have seen a control crop without that Biorga Quick on it for comparison. Those organic fertilizers are good but they sure eat into the profit margin. We tried drilling oats into clover one year but the clover was too strong and smothered the oats. I'm yet to be convinced there is much difference for organic between the crimping, discing or shallow ploughing as the green matter is all near the surface and the subsoil is relatively undisturbed. I have tried growing rape and turnips into a min tilled cover crop with varying success, to be honest the areas that did best were where the most muck was spread... not rocket science! IMO when they do those studies I like to see one plot where they till and leave bare so you can get an idea of the initial weed bank they're dealing with, one plot without any "special" additives and one plot with the full works. Then you can really determine what is working and what the effect of each of the treatments really is.
 

Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

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Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Written by Lisa Applin

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In July, we opened the applications window for farmers to join our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is 1 of the 3 new environmental land management schemes. It sits alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes.

Through the Sustainable Farming Incentive, farmers will be paid for environmentally sustainable actions – ones that are simple to do and do not require previous agri-environment scheme experience.

We are piloting the scheme to...
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