Success of direct drilling in long term.

kiwi

Member
Having used a Dale drill successfully for 20 years of notillage leaving all straw chopped on the surface with a mix of autumn and spring sown cash crops . I have come to the conclusion that a notillage idealist approach is maybe not the answer and we have to be flexible to aerating the soil with machinery when needed and/ or growing a restorative crop for at least two years in a rotation to maintain enough airspace in the soil.
The flavour at the moment is growing covercrops to maintain the root in the soil but in our experience the termination of covercrops for spring cash crops is or can be problematic from an allopathic point of view.
What are other longer term direct drill farmers thoughts on this.?
 

kiwi

Member
Rotation had been winter wheat, spring barley, peas or spring Brassica seed crop or clover so 9 years but have now included a multi species pasture crop for grazing lambs and making silage for two years To make 10 yr rotation. That has return the earthworm numbers as they were in decline for last 6 years And our nice silt loam we’re becoming anaerobic I believe.
 

alomy75

Member
Having used a Dale drill successfully for 20 years of notillage leaving all straw chopped on the surface with a mix of autumn and spring sown cash crops . I have come to the conclusion that a notillage idealist approach is maybe not the answer and we have to be flexible to aerating the soil with machinery when needed and/ or growing a restorative crop for at least two years in a rotation to maintain enough airspace in the soil.
The flavour at the moment is growing covercrops to maintain the root in the soil but in our experience the termination of covercrops for spring cash crops is or can be problematic from an allopathic point of view.
What are other longer term direct drill farmers thoughts on this.?
What problems are you seeing or just a general decline in production?
 

kiwi

Member
decline in earthworm number and also increase in fusarium head scab in wheat. Was always under illusion that returning the straw to surface would build organic carbon but most important solution to that is root biomass. When incorporating straw into soil I think the earthworms were better fed.
 
Having used a Dale drill successfully for 20 years of notillage leaving all straw chopped on the surface with a mix of autumn and spring sown cash crops . I have come to the conclusion that a notillage idealist approach is maybe not the answer and we have to be flexible to aerating the soil with machinery when needed and/ or growing a restorative crop for at least two years in a rotation to maintain enough airspace in the soil.
The flavour at the moment is growing covercrops to maintain the root in the soil but in our experience the termination of covercrops for spring cash crops is or can be problematic from an allopathic point of view.
What are other longer term direct drill farmers thoughts on this.?

We are getting more and more surface water especially on headlands that under tillage never had water issues and your right about cover crops. We dessicate them first job back after Christmas then as it then gives the soil time to dry out prior to spring drilling in mid March. With clay soils with high magnesium levels leaving cover crops in place makes the job virtually impossible because both disc and tine direct drills just smear very badly.
 

Hobbit

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
South West
We are getting more and more surface water especially on headlands that under tillage never had water issues and your right about cover crops. We dessicate them first job back after Christmas then as it then gives the soil time to dry out prior to spring drilling in mid March. With clay soils with high magnesium levels leaving cover crops in place makes the job virtually impossible because both disc and tine direct drills just smear very badly.
I couldn’t agree more. We seem to suffer with water logging much worse than when we tilled. Currently looking at low disturbance subsoilers but not sure if that’s the answer. The agronomist disagrees with me about when to terminate the cc’s. They need to be done around Christmas but he thinks they should be left and drilled into because it keeps the soil life alive.
 

alomy75

Member
I couldn’t agree more. We seem to suffer with water logging much worse than when we tilled. Currently looking at low disturbance subsoilers but not sure if that’s the answer. The agronomist disagrees with me about when to terminate the cc’s. They need to be done around Christmas but he thinks they should be left and drilled into because it keeps the soil life alive.
In theory the soil always needs to have living roots in it to keep it ‘alive’ but practically unless you’re on the sort of soil you can work in any weather it’s not practical imo. I’ve just LD’d my headlands this year an DD’d the rest and it’s brought the headlands back up to the level of the middle of the field. Medium land.
 
I couldn’t agree more. We seem to suffer with water logging much worse than when we tilled. Currently looking at low disturbance subsoilers but not sure if that’s the answer. The agronomist disagrees with me about when to terminate the cc’s. They need to be done around Christmas but he thinks they should be left and drilled into because it keeps the soil life alive.

It can work but I think no one has quite perfected the art in spring cereals yet.

I think Tim Parton says he drills on the green in the spring but not sure how he gets on. I would like to try leaving a cover crop and spraying off just after germination. But its bloody risky...
 
I couldn’t agree more. We seem to suffer with water logging much worse than when we tilled. Currently looking at low disturbance subsoilers but not sure if that’s the answer. The agronomist disagrees with me about when to terminate the cc’s. They need to be done around Christmas but he thinks they should be left and drilled into because it keeps the soil life alive.

Bought an Erth Panbuster exactly for this reason last year. Just done some bits this spring with it and it works well and much better value than everything else on the market.

 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
We are getting more and more surface water especially on headlands that under tillage never had water issues and your right about cover crops. We dessicate them first job back after Christmas then as it then gives the soil time to dry out prior to spring drilling in mid March. With clay soils with high magnesium levels leaving cover crops in place makes the job virtually impossible because both disc and tine direct drills just smear very badly.
Do you not end up having to spray twice though, once for burn off and once pre drilling?
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej
I couldn’t agree more. We seem to suffer with water logging much worse than when we tilled. Currently looking at low disturbance subsoilers but not sure if that’s the answer. The agronomist disagrees with me about when to terminate the cc’s. They need to be done around Christmas but he thinks they should be left and drilled into because it keeps the soil life alive.
I agree with him but also see your point.

I'm trying lupins as a pan buster this year to see if that helps.
 

Humble Village Farmer

Member
NFFN Member
Location
Cb97ej

Hobbit

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
South West
I agree with him but also see your point.

I'm trying lupins as a pan buster this year to see if that helps.
I love the idea of using roots to sort out compaction, which we do but it doesn’t do enough on its own. The plan is to subsoil then plant a deep rooting cover crop. Lupins look a really interesting crop. Are you growing for your own use?
 

kiwi

Member
our issue is deeper down from the top 3 inches and it has an overall affect on soil biology. If we could sow all autumn cash crops with good rooting ability I don’t think there would be an issue but due to grass weeds that’s not possible. I know most farmers here still burn and a very light surface cultivation with stale seed bed seems to work quite well with good earthworm activity still. But I find burning not socially exceptable anymore so haven’t done that for over 20 years.
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

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A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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