Monday, July 15, 2019

Direct drilling trials to highlight cost savings

April 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Crops

DrillMzuriPro-tilA

A farm consultancy in Northamptonshire has joined forces with a national arable company to organise farm scale crop demonstrations to help growers cut production costs.

Arable farmers have been hard hit with fluctuating grain prices and rocketing fuel costs and with zero tillage being one way to reduce crop production costs, Berrys and Frontier are putting on field-scale demonstrations to see if direct drilling can do the job.

The plots have been established at Lamport Hall near Kettering, a 2000-acre estate in Northamponshire advised by Berrys on behalf of a charitable trust.

The trust has an educational remit to safeguard and develop the land and estate for future generations and Berrys in conjunction with Frontier have been organising small scale wheat and oilseed rape variety demonstration plots for the past five years.

Adviser George Stanley said: “With such an excellent site available to us at Lamport, this year we are extending the plots to compare direct drilling options as a means of reducing establishment costs, a major expense on farms these days.”

“This will be a five-year site to really show the long term effects of direct drilling. We will have four direct drills under demonstration, each covering a hectare plot starting this year with oilseed rape then alternating with winter wheat.”

Drills under observation are the Claydon Hybrid, Sumo Versadrill Plus, Mzuri Pro-til and the Great Plains Spartan. The oilseed rape variety is PR46W21 hybrid OSR. Farmers will be able to see for themselves the long term effects of the different treatments throughout the season.

The aim of the project is to improve awareness of direct drilling, highlighting the benefits and issues of moving down the direct drilling route as currently only about five per cent of farmers in the area are direct drilling.

“Direct drilling can offer a way to improve gross margins, reducing costs, labour and time pressures. In some cases it can also improve soil structure,” George said. This will be the first prolonged study of continuous direct drilling in the area.”

SOYL, a firm specialising in precision farming, has soil mapped the entire farm and will supply variable rate nitrogen application recommendations. The benefit of this is that plots receive exactly what they need; avoiding waste in some areas and over application in others.

Mr Stanley said: “Standard flat rate seed rates will also be compared with variable seed rates. Some less favourable soils might need up to 40 per cent more seed to establish an optimum plant population compared to other lighter areas.”

Arable farmers in the area can look forward to the first demonstration mid spring. “This is a way of giving our clients the confidence to take advantage of favourable and modern techniques to maximise their gross margins,” said Mr Stanley.

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