Drill Manufacturer – Dale Drills

12m Eco XL
Joe Adams – Farmer

Joe Adams farms 2200 acres between Daventry and West Hadden in Northamptonshire. Thrupp Farms Limited are in the 5th year of growing continuous wheat and took delivery of the 12 meter Dale Drill Eco XL in 2021. Joe explains the reasons for moving away from a traditional plough based system to using the Dale Drill Eco XL and the benefits they have experienced across the farm since starting direct

‘One of the biggest advantages we’ve found from moving away from ploughing and power harrowing, is the time saving, it took months to plough and prepare the ground’ Moving the farm into continuous wheat cropping meant that there was more work to be undertaken in a limited amount of time. Being able to drill straight into stubble has not only sped up the drilling process but saved the farm significant costs in both fuel and wearing parts expenses.

‘In two years of ownership the Dale Drill is still on its original points, being a tine drill, we also use it for some light cultivation where necessary, we’ve yet to spend any money on wearing metal for the drill.’ ‘In terms of fuel savings, we reduced our diesel usage by 76,000 litres last year’ which by anyone’s calculations is a huge saving both financially and environmentally. Running a controlled traffic system, a wider drill helps reduce wheelings. Having tried other tine drills during the purchasing process, the Dale Drill seems to require less horsepower to pull it.

The farms John Deere 6250R is more than capable of handling the worst of the slopes that the farm has to offer. ‘Having trialled 200 acres of plough vs Direct Drilling in 2022 the results were quite interesting, the yield from the ploughed ground was 0.5 ton per acre less than the direct drilled land’ Although Joe thinks this could be slightly influenced by take all from ploughing, when you add in the costs of ploughing, metal, time and fuel, the overall costs of the Direct Drilling are far less than a plough based system.

Joe is very much an advocate for tines vs disc debate. ‘Having looked at both before purchasing the Dale Drill, the main concern of a disc drill is the potential for hair pinning and in wet conditions slot closure, I’ve seen a lot of ground drilled with disc drills in the wet, that as the ground dries out the slots open up. Yes the tines move a bit more soil, but I feel that helps with nitrogen mineralisation it works well in the wet and there’s no risk of hair pinning’ 2023 has been an incredibly challenging season, Joe was able to have drilled all of his winter wheat prior to the weather breaking, had they been using the old plough based system, this would unlikely have been the case, all in part to moving over to the Dale Drill