Straw and DD

BSH

Member
BASE UK Member
There was some discussion in a previous thread on baling straw, but wanted to get further opinions. I have been baling straw since going no till. I use a little my self and have until this year done a straw for muck deal. Unfortunately this came to an end as yet another dairy farm gave up, so ended up selling the straw.
I have baled in large part to enable the drill to work to best advantage, a JD750A, and because I didnt think the soil was ready for a carbon over load. I am some seven years in now and grow half autumn cereal ( winter rye) and half spring crop ( millet this year) with a cover crop between the two which gets grazed. Now that the soil has some moisture I am starting to see the worm casts appear and cant help thinking I dont have enough food for them. I recall reading that in the US they altered their cover crop mixes to increase carbon content to feed the worms as they got further into No Till. I do spread compost in the spring but am starting to think I should chop the straw....
So my question is whether anyone else has gone through this process?
There some some implications that come from not baling for the drill or type of drill. Should/ do i need to fit clearing wheels to the drill. ( Seem a very expensive drill addition but poss cheaper than changing the drill!) Or do I just need to be sure to drill in the dry as early as possible or do I need to consider getting some N on to help break down the straw quicker? What are others experiences?
 

BSH

Member
BASE UK Member
The spring isnt a problem, I have taken to doing a light disc after the cattle have grazed the cover crop. It is putting in the cover crop and drilling through the millet residue in the autumn that is the main issue.
 
And if you want to drill into a cereal stubble in the autumn, combine as high as possible.
with wheat i leave a long stubble 18 inches if the heads are not weathered
for autumn planted crops after cereal i bale

for spring crops i now chop
in a dry spring the top 2 inches does not dry out too much
if it is wetter patience is essential but the later drilling reduces the weed problems in some years 100% control is achievable
the layer of straw and cover reduces germination of blw and black grass
 

Goldilocks

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Oxfordshire
we have been establishing ( and sometimes failing ! ) crops into large amounts of chopped straw for years , including chopped winter barley and spring barley. Have tried lots of drills over the years but have struggled to find anything better than our tined Kockerling which can cope with any amount of straw. Some observations : Sly boss with row cleaners worked very well in chopped wheat straw but didnt try it in barley straw. Real problem with disc drills is hairpinning if drilling cereals or OSR into chopped cereal straw.Had real issues with this with a moore unidrill we had for a couple of years.
We also tend to put some DAP on anything going in where there are large amounts of cereal residues.
Our soil system seems to have adapted to the high C:N ratio residues now and it all dissapears very rapidly down worm burrows. (I reckon it takes about 4 or 5 years for the soil biology to really start to munch it all up easily )
 

BSH

Member
BASE UK Member
Thanks. Any row cleaners fitted, or are you just relying on the sharp edge of the disc to cut through residues?
Just relying on the sharp edge at the moment, but was considering row cleaners. Expensive option though! Advice above suggests I should just cut higher, so will see how i get on next year before making any plans.
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.



Today (20 September) between 7pm-8pm, I and some of my colleagues will be answering your questions about our work including the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Farming in Protected Landscapes, and our test and trials.



We’ll try to answer at least 15 of your top voted questions, so please vote on the questions you’d most like me to answer.



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I’ve answered some of your questions previously: you can watch the videos on...
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