Time-saving crop establishment crucial

Article written by Claydon Drills

See more of Claydon Drills at Direct Driller @Cereals 2024

This drilling season has been a wash-out with many farmers unable to drill and many having to redrill this spring.  Timing and soil resilience has never been more crucial.  These were deciding factors for farm manager John Davidson in a switch of establishment system to Claydon drilling at the Penicuik Estate in Scotland.

Penicuik Estate is a mixed farming operation, with 567 acres of cropping on a range of soils in the Pentland Hills south west of Edinburgh.  It is an area of high rainfall where much of the land lies at altitude.

Timeliness is the biggest factor”, states John.  “Instead of crop establishment being a two-man system to plough, cultivate and drill it is now a one man, one tractor, one pass operation. Being a mixed farm, with just myself and one member of staff, that is very important, especially early in the year when lambing and calving coincide with spring drilling.”

“Now, we can both deal with the stock in the morning and I can jump on the tractor in the afternoon and go drilling. That approach greatly reduces the weather risk, which is a major consideration being located where we are.”

“Previously, land would have been ploughed, rolled, sown with the power harrow/drill combination, then rolled again. During that time it was very vulnerable to heavy rain, which was a real issue.”

Other than the time saving, the benefits of the Claydon System at Penicuik Estate include an 80% fuel saving and fields that have become more level, easier to work and more supportive.  This has allowed sprays and fertilisers to be applied early in the spring with hardly a mark.   For John, disc-type direct drills were not an option because of inconsistent results and posing too much of a risk whereas, since its introduction three years ago, Claydon drilling has seen an improvement of yield of up to an additional 0.5t/ha.

To find out more about John’s decision to switch and his experiences with Claydon Opti-Till® so far, click here.  Like to know more about user experiences closer to home?  View our user map.

See them in the Drill Arena for Direct Driller @Cereals 11th & 12th June, Bygrave Woods, Newnham Farm, Herts