The Cross slot vs 750a trial

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
175k for a 6m drill, that's just plain bonkers by any standards. Would have to make a huge and instant yield increase.

Claim is it will do............
And if it does so by the margin baker claim it would be worth the extra capital

That's what David is finally, thankfully, putting to the test here
 

green giant

Member
Location
Northumberland
Claim is it will do............
And if it does so by the margin baker claim it would be worth the extra capital

That's what David is finally, thankfully, putting to the test here
Well we will see then, 33.3k per m, you'd have to be very brave to jump in with both feet on the back of one years small trial !!
Will be very interesting to know what the verdict is this time next year.
 
Location
Cambridge
Well we will see then, 33.3k per m, you'd have to be very brave to jump in with both feet on the back of one years small trial !!
Will be very interesting to know what the verdict is this time next year.
I've been giving this some thought.

I used to believe that drills made a yield difference, and argued such on Clive's old drill trial thread. Then the results came out, and I had to eat my words. Partly as a result of that trial, I'm now more aligned with the thinking that as long as the establishment is satisfactory, which on our land should be fairly easy most of the time, there will be no significant differences.

So if this test shows no real difference, it will confirm my beliefs, and be "good enough" for me personally to make my mind up. If however there is a difference, I'll have to think again, and probably run more tests to clarify. So I will not be taking big risks as a result of this single trial.

Is that asymmetric and unfair towards Cross Slot? Possibly. I'm sure @Feldspar will be along shortly to castigate me on poor science.
 

Tom Sewell

Member
Location
Maidstone Kent
One point I would make is that perhaps CS is easier to justify when coming to no-till from a full tillage or min-till (whatever that means) system. 2 of the best arable farmers I know in the UK have done this and opted for 6m CS NZ built drills. One of these was voted as Farmers Weekly Arable Farmer of the year this year and is a fellow Nuffield Scholar so no pushover. While neither of them spent their own money (they are both farm managers) they did have to justify to their bosses/directors why spending big money on a drill was worthwhile.

Once you're 5 years into a full no-till system with retained residues, cover crops and a good rotation drill choice could be completely different matter?!

Just another 2p in the pot!
 
I've been giving this some thought.

I used to believe that drills made a yield difference, and argued such on Clive's old drill trial thread. Then the results came out, and I had to eat my words. Partly as a result of that trial, I'm now more aligned with the thinking that as long as the establishment is satisfactory, which on our land should be fairly easy most of the time, there will be no significant differences.

So if this test shows no real difference, it will confirm my beliefs, and be "good enough" for me personally to make my mind up. If however there is a difference, I'll have to think again, and probably run more tests to clarify. So I will not be taking big risks as a result of this single trial.

Is that asymmetric and unfair towards Cross Slot? Possibly. I'm sure @Feldspar will be along shortly to castigate me on poor science.

They don't really. They can't can they? If they did then you'd have seen it before.

I know farmers might like to think they choose the best drill for their land thanks to meticulous research and an innate depth on knowledge about their soil type and climatic conditions etc. and may then wish to congratulate themselves on a successful if they've had a good crop.

But basically a drill only has to get enough plants in the soil up and running, and three weeks later I can't see how it would have mattered what the colour or price of the drill was. It then comes down to how consistent you want the depth, how many seeds your expecting it to get in the ground and how much ground disturbance you want. All the other management practices like soil fertility and agronomy are not drill specific.
 

Fuzzy

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Bedfordshire
They don't really. They can't can they? If they did then you'd have seen it before.

I know farmers might like to think they choose the best drill for their land thanks to meticulous research and an innate depth on knowledge about their soil type and climatic conditions etc. and may then wish to congratulate themselves on a successful if they've had a good crop.

But basically a drill only has to get enough plants in the soil up and running, and three weeks later I can't see how it would have mattered what the colour or price of the drill was. It then comes down to how consistent you want the depth, how many seeds your expecting it to get in the ground and how much ground disturbance you want. All the other management practices like soil fertility and agronomy are not drill specific.
I agree that in good drilling conditions the type of drill makes little or no difference to crop yield. Clive's drill trial demonstrated this very well IMO. However the majority of UK farmers are likely to need to drill in less than ideal conditions at some point in the season, and the choice of drill depending on what those conditions are and what you need to plant is very important.
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
They don't really. They can't can they? If they did then you'd have seen it before.

I know farmers might like to think they choose the best drill for their land thanks to meticulous research and an innate depth on knowledge about their soil type and climatic conditions etc. and may then wish to congratulate themselves on a successful if they've had a good crop.

But basically a drill only has to get enough plants in the soil up and running, and three weeks later I can't see how it would have mattered what the colour or price of the drill was. It then comes down to how consistent you want the depth, how many seeds your expecting it to get in the ground and how much ground disturbance you want. All the other management practices like soil fertility and agronomy are not drill specific.

I would agree but for the difference in consolidation between drills

Various drills I have used over the years have been capable of different levels of consolidation and that has had effect on agronomically issues like slugs and manganese etc
 
They don't really. They can't can they? If they did then you'd have seen it before.

I know farmers might like to think they choose the best drill for their land thanks to meticulous research and an innate depth on knowledge about their soil type and climatic conditions etc. and may then wish to congratulate themselves on a successful if they've had a good crop.

But basically a drill only has to get enough plants in the soil up and running, and three weeks later I can't see how it would have mattered what the colour or price of the drill was. It then comes down to how consistent you want the depth, how many seeds your expecting it to get in the ground and how much ground disturbance you want. All the other management practices like soil fertility and agronomy are not drill specific.

Drills do make a difference in some instances whereas in others they don't. I've seen quite considerable differences between Claydon and Mzuri when drilling rape. Difference being a crop versus no crop at all in places. Cultivation elements, countour following and fert placement are features present on drills that can make differences in establishment, plant growth and vigour.
 
Drills do make a difference in some instances whereas in others they don't. I've seen quite considerable differences between Claydon and Mzuri when drilling rape. Difference being a crop versus no crop at all in places. Cultivation elements, countour following and fert placement are features present on drills that can make differences in establishment, plant growth and vigour.

They may be responsible for getting enough seeds to germinate but I don't think they are responsible for yield.
 
They don't really. They can't can they? If they did then you'd have seen it before.

I know farmers might like to think they choose the best drill for their land thanks to meticulous research and an innate depth on knowledge about their soil type and climatic conditions etc. and may then wish to congratulate themselves on a successful if they've had a good crop.

But basically a drill only has to get enough plants in the soil up and running, and three weeks later I can't see how it would have mattered what the colour or price of the drill was. It then comes down to how consistent you want the depth, how many seeds your expecting it to get in the ground and how much ground disturbance you want. All the other management practices like soil fertility and agronomy are not drill specific.

Sorry Silliam that's silly and I'm calling complete, total and utter BS on that post. I don't know why I'm wasting time replying to this but at the risk of further entertaining the popcorn brigade, you've sucked me in again.

Why don't we all just buy the cheapest nastiest drill... Please !? What about when some machines can't get into hard/ firm ground or the times when emergence of brassica (for example) is 90-95% but then suffers in the dry because the roots are growing along the 'v' cut.... Does that effect yield? What about in low fertility situations when high fert rates are needed to overcome the odds during early establishment, or surface residue issues effecting drill operation? I could go on and I haven't even mentioned the sod drilling and stock grazing consolidation senarios yet.
 
Sorry Silliam that's silly and I'm calling complete, total and utter BS on that post. I don't know why I'm wasting time replying to this but at the risk of further entertaining the popcorn brigade, you've sucked me in again.

Why don't we all just buy the cheapest nastiest drill... Please !? What about when some machines can't get into hard/ firm ground or the times when emergence of brassica (for example) is 90-95% but then suffers in the dry because the roots are growing along the 'v' cut.... Does that effect yield? What about in low fertility situations when high fert rates are needed to overcome the odds during early establishment, or surface residue issues effecting drill operation? I could go on and I haven't even mentioned the sod drilling and stock grazing consolidation senarios yet.

What I'm saying is that provided you've got enough seeds in the ground up and growing for your chosen system (tillage, no tillage, min tillage etc.) then beyond that you cannot really attribute yield increase to the drill if you have the plants you wanted. There is an issue of fitness for purpose as well of course which is why you wouldn't use a suffolk coulter drill on its own for no till for obvious reasons.

So an old beaten up suffolk coulter drill from the 60's is just as capable of getting a 12t/ha crop as a £200k cross slot, though obviously your 60's drill would not be capable of no till and would need tillage to work. Its all about getting the optimal amount of seeds in the ground and established. Clives demo a while back highlighted this. I think David Walstons trial will also show the same thing (not a lot of difference give or take) and most of the time drill trials show that . Cross Slot trials don't show yield increases from the drill, neither do Horsch, neither to John Deere, neither do Claydon. There will be some years where that extra bit of moisture may have helped or hindered and other scenarios but its still not drill specific.

I did say notwithstanding fertility issues which are not specifically drill related. They are soil related.
 
What I'm saying is that provided you've got enough seeds in the ground up and growing for your chosen system (tillage, no tillage, min tillage etc.) then beyond that you cannot really attribute yield increase to the drill if you have the plants you wanted. There is an issue of fitness for purpose as well of course which is why you wouldn't use a suffolk coulter drill on its own for no till for obvious reasons.

So an old beaten up suffolk coulter drill from the 60's is just as capable of getting a 12t/ha crop as a £200k cross slot, though obviously your 60's drill would not be capable of no till and would need tillage to work. Its all about getting the optimal amount of seeds in the ground and established. Clives demo a while back highlighted this. I think David Walstons trial will also show the same thing (not a lot of difference give or take) and most of the time drill trials show that . Cross Slot trials don't show yield increases from the drill, neither do Horsch, neither to John Deere, neither do Claydon. There will be some years where that extra bit of moisture may have helped or hindered and other scenarios but its still not drill specific.

I did say notwithstanding fertility issues which are not specifically drill related. They are soil related.

You don't need to go as far as an old Suffolk coulter to illustrate the point, and I'm not going to to keep repeating myself with various examples that I would have thought were easy to understand and accept. To put it another way there are plenty of senarios where some setups will struggle to even operate let alone achieve a comparable yield.... Surely that illustrates my point.

With regard to fertility issues you mentioned, some machines cannot place it and others can't put much on because it is being mixed with the seed so to say it is not drill specific is ridiculous..... Simply bulk spreading fert on the top is not satisfactory in many no-till situations.

Clive's trial has been mentioned a number of times here now. I don't recall it or know any details but to keep putting it up as evidence to the 'drill has no influence' debate is rubbish, NOT because his trial was rubbish but because presumably it was on his land that is at the lighter end of the spectrum, and has no live stock. Furthermore with regard to rotation (which incidentally I believe is important for ones own situation) there is still a question mark over at what point the drill (tail) wags the rotation (dog). Did that trial attempt anything outside his normal crop sequence? where in the past Clive has ruled certain sequences due to drilling difficulties. To put the results of one trial up in support of such a general statement is about as shonky as some of you blokes reckon drill marketing is.
 
You don't need to go as far as an old Suffolk coulter to illustrate the point, and I'm not going to to keep repeating myself with various examples that I would have thought were easy to understand and accept. To put it another way there are plenty of senarios where some setups will struggle to even operate let alone achieve a comparable yield.... Surely that illustrates my point.

.

Yes I agree some set ups will struggle in some situations. My point was if you've used a drill that is set up for direct drill/ strip till then if it comes up as expected with the first few weeks (plant population, spacings etc.) then you can it expect yield to be very similar to another one. If someone is thinking "I think I'll buy a Mzuri over a Claydon or a DTS over an Aitchison then I'll get better yields" then i'd argue providing you have the plant counts you need for crop then the drills job is done, it doesn't contribute to yield.

Yes I would expect a drill that shoves down a ton of NPK down the spout to produce a higher yielding crop than one that doesn't put any fert down the spout. I would also expect a better crop from a field that was drilled with fertilser broadcast after compared to one that was given none, wouldn't you?

This is why most of the time yields are similar to others in general. Yes we all get good and bad parts of fields and farms and good and bad bits of weather.

Put it this way - I think any make of direct drill could turn up on my farm (or anyones farm) and if all drilled on the same day in the same soil type/ field and providing that enough seeds grew then I would expect the yield to be the same or very similar. Presumably if they turned up at your place you would expect wildly different crop yields from each drill?

Can you tell me which exactly which direct drill colour consistently yields less crops than another? There is not really evidence of this in the UK as far as I'm aware. We've had debates in the past about the Cross Slot being marketed as yield enhancing drill, there is no need to go into depth about it again but I'll say there is no such thing as a yield enhancing drill, providing you have satisfactory germination and plant population.

Do ploughs increase yield? How about fert spinners? Sprayers? How about which set of rolls?
If so which makes? Its a marketeers wet dream to make you think this is the magic yield enhancing machine when the reality is all are totally capable of giving the yield provided it gives you the plants you need. The reason I like a 750 (with fert too!) is not because I'm daft enough to think it will give me a higher yield than any other no till or strip till drill - it would be totally conceited to think that.
 
Last edited:
Location
Cambridge
Clive's trial has been mentioned a number of times here now. I don't recall it or know any details but to keep putting it up as evidence to the 'drill has no influence' debate is rubbish, NOT because his trial was rubbish but because presumably it was on his land that is at the lighter end of the spectrum, and has no live stock.

Clive's trial was, as you say, evidence - but not certainly not proof. It's just another small thing to think about, which adds up to form one's personal opinion.

Interesting you mention CS and livestock - I wonder what proportion of CS owners in the UK have livestock on the farm?

Furthermore with regard to rotation (which incidentally I believe is important for ones own situation) there is still a question mark over at what point the drill (tail) wags the rotation (dog).

Totally agree with this
 
Clive's trial was, as you say, evidence - but not certainly not proof. It's just another small thing to think about, which adds up to form one's personal opinion.

Interesting you mention CS and livestock - I wonder what proportion of CS owners in the UK have livestock on the farm?



Totally agree with this

Agree regarding proportion of livestock farms in UK, however mentioned it because there seems a lot more talk on here regarding 'mixed ' farms which will lead to firmer spring sowing conditions and almost certainly lead to more grass in your rotation..... Both these conditions result more challenges in the drilling department.

The evidence as you say is always around regarding 'no' yield differences between machines. I take notice of others achieve around here and there are plenty of good results with all sorts, especially the 'good' operators who do there own work...... Nevertheless those guys know their limitations and either don't go there, or get someone in with more capability....... If that's not a drill influence what is?

Yes I agree some set ups will struggle in some situations. My point was if you've used a drill that is set up for direct drill/ strip till then if it comes up as expected with the first few weeks (plant population, spacings etc.) then you can it expect yield to be very similar to another one. If someone is thinking "I think I'll buy a Mzuri over a Claydon or a DTS over an Aitchison then I'll get better yields" then i'd argue providing you have the plant counts you need for crop then the drills job is done, it doesn't contribute to yield.

Yes I would expect a drill that shoves down a ton of NPK down the spout to produce a higher yielding crop than one that doesn't put any fert down the spout. I would also expect a better crop from a field that was drilled with fertilser broadcast after compared to one that was given none, wouldn't you?

This is why most of the time yields are similar to others in general. Yes we all get good and bad parts of fields and farms and good and bad bits of weather.

Put it this way - I think any make of direct drill could turn up on my farm (or anyones farm) and if all drilled on the same day in the same soil type/ field and providing that enough seeds grew then I would expect the yield to be the same or very similar. Presumably if they turned up at your place you would expect wildly different crop yields from each drill?

Can you tell me which exactly which direct drill colour consistently yields less crops than another? There is not really evidence of this in the UK as far as I'm aware. We've had debates in the past about the Cross Slot being marketed as yield enhancing drill, there is no need to go into depth about it again but I'll say there is no such thing as a yield enhancing drill, providing you have satisfactory germination and plant population.

Do ploughs increase yield? How about fert spinners? Sprayers? How about which set of rolls?
If so which makes? Its a marketeers wet dream to make you think this is the magic yield enhancing machine when the reality is all are totally capable of giving the yield provided it gives you the plants you need. The reason I like a 750 (with fert too!) is not because I'm daft enough to think it will give me a higher yield than any other no till or strip till drill - it would be totally conceited to think that.

There is some humungas 'ifs' and 'provided's ' in there...
I'll reply when more time.....
 

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