Standing on the roof of another world

My name is Richard. I farm on the north bank of the River Ouse near Howden, E Yorks.
2 main soil types: warp and loamy sand. Both relatively easy to work and well drained.
Combineable crops and vining peas for Birds Eye.

Started dd/not-till last autumn after learning about it for about 2 years. I have always tried to take care of my soil and consider the cost of improving it as money in the bank. All crop residues have been returned to the soil for many years except a small amount of straw which goes to a local livestock man and comes back as fym. I think of selling straw as robbing the soil bank.
We also have imported fym in the past and now use imported compost mixed with sewage sludge.
I believe getting carbon into the soil, and keeping it there, is the key to healthy soil.
Over the years we have gone from a totally plough based system to gradually doing less and less cultivation. I have learned that the less you can disturb the soil, the better.
My studies have made me realise what a complex and fascinating thing soil is. The title of this post is part of a quotation I came across: "We are not standing on dirt but on the roof of another world"

A potential stumbling block in my move to no-till is the pea crop. I am part of a co-operative (Green Pea Company) that supplies peas to Birds Eye. The drilling is done by Herriau precision drills which require a cultivated, trash free seedbed.
From next season I am planning to sow some peas in a no-till manner.
I have arranged a meeting for this coming autumn to try to get Birds Eye and GPC to understand the principles of no-till and how it could work for vining peas. Fortunately the BE development fieldperson is interested in this subject.

I run a Sumo Versadrill Plus. The coulters are basically Moore Unidrill tandem coulters. It has subsoiler tines on the front and 2 rows of cultivation discs which can be raised or lowered. I bought it because I thought I would still be able to use it as a cultivator drill if the no-till doesn't work out. I also do some contract work and not everyone wants to dd. The drill has worked well so far. The only issue being common to virtually all disc drills: hairpinning of chopped straw.
I have just bought a cheap tine drill to overcome this issue in autumn when drilling cover crops for example. It is a Simba Freeflow which was converted by Weaving and now has 10 rigid tines on a subframe. I plan to make a second interchangeable subframe with closer spaced legs for drilling cereals.

I offer a contracting service majoring on drilling and Avadex application with a 24m Kuhn Aero.
I am BASIS and FACTS qualified and do my own agronomy as well as walking crops for a number of other farmers.

Follow me on Twitter @RBoldan
 

chaffcutter

Moderator
Arable Farmer
Location
S. Staffs
Have you been ploughing everything up until last year, or min tilling for a time ? Min till seems to be the way into dd for most people

Interesting intro, you'll find plenty to discuss on here !
 
Very good intro.In terms of lime what road have you gone down in the past/future.
Thanks.
Our warp soil has a natural pH of 7.5 - 8 so has never been limed. The sandy soil has usually had magnesium limestone when pH tests have shown a need.
The use of ML was mainly because that is our nearest source of lime.
This has resulted in Mg indices of 4-5+ .
Had Albrecht tests done last year and applied a low rate of Limex 70 in response, even on fields with adequate pH. The aim was to apply some Calcium as a nutrient and redress that CA:Mg ratio a bit.
 

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