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Thread: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

  1. #1
    BSH
    Guest

    Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Unfortunately I wasnt able to go to this event which was rather frustrating. Would love to hear any feed back from those went.

  2. #2
    The ruminant
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    ditto as I couldn't make it either

  3. #3
    Jim Bullock
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Probably the best event I have been to in the last decade.. I picked up information and ideas which will have a radical effect on the way in which we farm in future.
    It was good to see so many faces from BFF... not a load of nutters but a group of really nice people...friendly and prepared to exchange info...I think we have a really good base for our "No-Tillers" group..

  4. #4
    martian
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    A lot of food for thought today, Frederic Thomas is an extraordinary force of nature, firing ideas at us all day. By the end we all slunk away with heads bursting with the possibilities that cover crops offer.

    Most of the really innovative stuff that is going on seems to be in different conditions to what we are used to (ie in France he's wrapped harvest up by end of July so a cover crop can be 8 foot tall by drilling time in October), but the message is basically give it a go over winter and work out what savings in herbicides and fertiliser you can make in your spring crops, or grow companion crops in your winter wheat/rape that the frost will remove , or...

    (Martian shakes his head and goes to bed)

  5. #5
    BSH
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bullock View Post
    Probably the best event I have been to in the last decade.. I picked up information and ideas which will have a radical effect on the way in which we farm in future.
    It was good to see so many faces from BFF... not a load of nutters but a group of really nice people...friendly and prepared to exchange info...I think we have a really good base for our "No-Tillers" group..
    Knew it would be Did he reference any books that are EU compatible or was it all on the back of his own experience? What was his advice on allelopathic effects of different c crops and how to use them to advantage? Do you think the NTA can get him over again?

  6. #6
    155tm
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Why I chose to go to the dentist rather than this meeting is a question that will elude me for some time.

    I have a neighbour who went, he will have a few questions to answer tomorrow!

  7. #7
    Col
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Anything that would help with free living nematodes? A lot of the light soil up here has them at levels that damage cereals and rape, and Vydate is a bit pricey for that not to mention not registered.
    I have been thinking about doing something over winter before s. barley but have lots of clubroot so brassicas would struggle I think. Maybe even a bit of s. barley possibly then frost would/should kill it off

  8. #8
    Jim Bullock
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by BSH View Post
    Knew it would be Did he reference any books that are EU compatible or was it all on the back of his own experience? What was his advice on allelopathic effects of different c crops and how to use them to advantage? Do you think the NTA can get him over again?
    Tim Chamen said that the presntations would soon be available on-line via the CTF website...
    I have a "brainstorming" day with Frederic, Steve Townsend and George Simon (Simtech-Europe) tommorrow so will be able to post more info afterwards.

  9. #9
    BSH
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Thanks Jim, look foward to hearing more.

  10. #10
    shakerator
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by BSH View Post
    Unfortunately I wasnt able to go to this event which was rather frustrating. Would love to hear any feed back from those went.
    absolutely fantastic- my head was buzzing afterwards. Frederic is a true inspiration who's flexible approach we can all learn from. He certainly answered the queries i had on herbicide use in cover crops, and justification of glyphosate. During the session on inter cropping i couldn't help but notice a senior farmer shaking his head in absolute awe and disbelief. The main questions i came away asking is were

    1) Do i have the innovation/brains/personality to replicate what he has done - v. doubtful

    2) Should i be looking at setting up a livestock enterprise to help the system along rather than drafting stock in from time to time?

    Many thanks to CTF Europe and all speakers.

    John

  11. #11
    Tom H
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    As Jim has said, it was up there as one of the best meetings I've been too. Very much out the box thinking. I think one reason it was so good was down to the fact that I, and others I'm sure didn't know much about the subject before hand. Frederic, like Micheal Horsch is very ingaging and makes you want to listen to him, and hang off every word he says!

    Top marks to Tim at CTF euorpe for yet another cracking meeting, I've not been to a bad one yet.

  12. #12
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by shakerator View Post

    1) Do i have the innovation/brains/personality to replicate what he has done - v. doubtful

    2) Should i be looking at setting up a livestock enterprise to help the system along rather than drafting stock in from time to time?

    Many thanks to CTF Europe and all speakers.

    John
    1 - I'm sure you do.
    2 - Depends on how big you can make it. I keep hovering around the idea of getting my own stock but not sure I can be big enough to make it viable and tack is better for cashflow. Whats you rule of thumb in terms of ewe/cattle numbers for a viable enterprise slotted into your arable one?

  13. #13
    martian
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    I think the livestock angle is potentially a game changer. I definitely got the feeling that he was showing us a root back to 'proper farming' ie continuous living cover and a minimum of outside chemical sprays and fertilisers and an ever improving soil. He briefly wondered at the end whether he should get some animals, but it would put a brake on his international speaking career...

    When he was talking about 10 tonne of DM of cover crop per hectare, I had a picture in my minds eye of mobstocking cattle turning it into a) money, b) ready spread dung, whilst the roots opened up the clay ever deeper.

    Slept well last night thanks.

  14. #14
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    This is exactly why I didn't go (but will read the info with interest when put on line) because its just not possible to add a livestock enterprise big enough to work with a large scale combinable crop farm. I know some make it work but generally its been in place for many years. To start one fresh is very expensive as I found out last year. I looked at beef, sheep and pig enterprises and there is not much in it, but a lot more hard work. All for a bit of manure!

    If this cover crop thing can save on herbs and fert still within a arable system then yes I am interested as I am looking towards more spring crops to facilitate the composting enterprise, so I will have bare stubble from Aug - March. If I can plant something easily that will reduce input costs then great. If I have to start mucking around with livestock then I will continue on as normal.

    So if I was thinking of a rotation that was based on ww, spring crop, ww, osr. Potatoes would be grown every 6th year in that rotation as well, what cover crop could I used between a winter wheat and say a spring linseed or peas that would save me input costs in the spring crop but also potentially in other crops following the spring crop?

    Could I plant one after osr and before planting ww that would save me inputs in the wheat? If so what and at what cost?


    Oats or pedder mix probably. Nothing too or complicated.

  15. #15
    will7
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    I thought it was an excellent day. I went with one particular question which I wanted answering, which it was, but another handful were posed so it is back to the drawing board.

    Frederic is an infectious speaker who keeps you listening and interested throughout his presentation.

    Now we have to be brave enough and start trying some of these ideas.

    Is there anyway (Jim, Tim or Will) to create a database/posting type arrangement whereby growers/researchers can offer their own cover crop experience detailing what they did, why they did it and the results.

    I appreciate you cover crop for long term benefits, but I currently want an overwinter cover crop which will allow me to spring crop heavy land, ie absorb some moisture; so any experiences would be great to hear.

    Regards

    Will

  16. #16
    Pedders
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    unfortunately I too missed as the combination of a Doctors appointment and the imminent delivery of my new (s/h) drill meant I couldn't get away ..kicking myself now
    sounds like it was a very interesting day ...
    I am putting a lot of thought into some new Pedders Mixes for the coming season one in particular for post maize

    Lee ..it would be hard to get any cheaper than oats ...after that as you add variety to the mixes it gets progressively more expensive ...you will need to be able to Direct drill it too although the Vaddy will cope its probably an expensive way to drill

    Will ...I doubt anyone can give you a definitive answer about whats best for your soils ...I think we're all at a very early part of the learning curve ...There was over 1000 acres drilled with Pedders mixes last year ..that area will just be coming into the drilling season now ...hopefully those who bought last year will be able to put up some of the experiences .. I would have thought though that oats vetch and maybe rye would be what you're looking for

  17. #17
    pig fighter
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    Oats or pedder mix probably. Nothing too or complicated.
    Usually the poorest "looking" wheat in Autumn and Spring is that min tilled or even ploughed into a natural regeneration cover of volunteer oats. Not sure if that is a legacy of the previous oat crop scavenging all N from the soil or something to do with the cover crop.

  18. #18
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by pig fighter View Post
    Usually the poorest "looking" wheat in Autumn and Spring is that min tilled or even ploughed into a natural regeneration cover of volunteer oats. Not sure if that is a legacy of the previous oat crop scavenging all N from the soil or something to do with the cover crop.
    I probably should have said look more towards black oats then normal ones. That said I think variety is the key as well when you look at cover crops look at them from this crop group perspective and figure out what you want to do:

    Warm Season Broadleaf
    Cool Season BL
    Warm Season Grass
    Cool Season Grass

    This is where we're missing Jimmy Clark who had tried a few black oats and fodder radish :cry:

    p.s. Pedders what you bought?

  19. #19
    kpa
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bullock View Post
    Probably the best event I have been to in the last decade.. I picked up information and ideas which will have a radical effect on the way in which we farm in future.
    It was good to see so many faces from BFF... not a load of nutters but a group of really nice people...friendly and prepared to exchange info...I think we have a really good base for our "No-Tillers" group..
    +1
    I've always thought there was scope for a marriage between CTF & NTA

  20. #20
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by pig fighter View Post
    Usually the poorest "looking" wheat in Autumn and Spring is that min tilled or even ploughed into a natural regeneration cover of volunteer oats. Not sure if that is a legacy of the previous oat crop scavenging all N from the soil or something to do with the cover crop.
    Quote Originally Posted by kpa View Post
    +1
    I've always thought there was scope for a marriage between CTF & NTA
    There is though I think Tim wants to keep his identity for understandable reasons.

    What we could probably do with is some sort of "Innovative Farmers" umbrella to help us all do PR, admin and promotion and use as a hub of sorts and various interests can feed into this which have a common aim.

    And then instead of being rigid about what certain things, people can take their pick of certain techniques and apply accordingly and there will still be room to have a robust debate about different systems and people can view things as you would a motorway and you choose when to get off and on with certain technology eg soil health, precision ag, ctf, organic, grazing styles, cover crop, no till, holistic management and too many more ideas to mention.

    http://www.ifao.com/Index.html - like this?

  21. #21
    Pedders
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post

    p.s. Pedders what you bought?
    I bought that 6m Bertini that was on ebay last year ...its a beast !

  22. #22
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pedders View Post
    I bought that 6m Bertini that was on ebay last year ...its a beast !
    Crikey - better get yourself a hoover for cleaning the seed boxes out then!

  23. #23
    shakerator
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    1 - I'm sure you do.
    2 - Depends on how big you can make it. I keep hovering around the idea of getting my own stock but not sure I can be big enough to make it viable and tack is better for cashflow. Whats you rule of thumb in terms of ewe/cattle numbers for a viable enterprise slotted into your arable one?

    i dont know. i would hope to cost out synergies between the enterprises e.g. better nutrient recycling but as lee says the time invested is the biggest compromise. interesting that one of frederics chaps didnt even build a shed- just rotates cattle round all year in 900mm area of northern france. not sure if he was no till tho. some of his methods towards the end were certainly leaning towards permaculture with the use of tree strip cropping etc.

  24. #24
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    This is exactly why I didn't go (but will read the info with interest when put on line) because its just not possible to add a livestock enterprise big enough to work with a large scale combinable crop farm.
    that wasn't a very good reason not to go given that livestock made up about 90 seconds of the talking, and Frederic doesn't even do it himself!

    It was a very good day, but so much stuff to take in. I thought the most interesting from a short term perspective was the companion crops in the rape, and then not having to use a pre em.

  25. #25
    SimonC
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Thanks to Tim for organizing the meeting yesterday and for allowing us non CTF members to go as well.

    I think Frederic's ideas with cover crops will finally give us a way of not being so dependent on glyphosate when no-tilling, the idea is to smother out weeds and then destroy the cover by just rolling and drilling into the flattened residue. Personally, I am not in a position to get this to work yet, firstly the cover needs to go into a clean stubble, there is no way it will out compete weeds if they have already got a head start, so we are back to a glypho spray behind the combine, which is what I had to do this year. Secondly, I have just sprayed off all my pedders mix covers because there are quite a lot of thistles and blackgrass plants in the bottom and there is no way of controlling them in a crop of peas.

    However, I can see that with zero soil movement disc drilling and enhanced soil biology, the weed pressure should reduce to a point where we only need to keep it at bay, rather than having a zero tolerance policy.

    Another thing is that to suppress weeds, the cover needs to be very rapidly growing which depends on the right species in the mix and time of establishment. In France wheat harvest is finished in July so the cover crop is growing at the hottest time of year, but here it is already cooling down by the end of August and so everything is growing slower.

    Frederic didn't say much about where he is getting his seed from, home grown of bought in already mixed to his specification. French seed companies are already doing custom cover crop mixes, but at what cost? Jim, perhaps you could ask a few questions when you see him tomorrow.

    I was very pleased to here Kings are getting into the cover crop market, the guy said they have been researching and trialing for a few years and now feel they know enough to start marketing. All the other seed companies will not want to be left out, so hopefully there will be lots of competition and they will all bring their own new ideas for us to try.

    I thought that after all that had been said about these revolutionary crop establishment ideas, the guy talking about strip till seemed a bit out of date. Once you have got your perfect soil structure, why would you ever want to go digging it up and wrecking that structure, just to get a few seeds to germinate.

  26. #26
    Shutesy
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonC View Post
    I thought that after all that had been said about these revolutionary crop establishment ideas, the guy talking about strip till seemed a bit out of date. Once you have got your perfect soil structure, why would you ever want to go digging it up and wrecking that structure, just to get a few seeds to germinate.
    Would a drill like a Mzuri or Claydon togethor with a well thought out cover crop/rotation strategy be a good halfway house for those wanting to move away from a plough or min-till based system to a no-till system. Then after a couple of years once the soil has improved move to a full no-till drill like a JD750A?

  27. #27
    SimonC
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shutesy View Post
    Would a drill like a Mzuri or Claydon togethor with a well thought out cover crop/rotation strategy be a good halfway house for those wanting to move away from a plough or min-till based system to a no-till system. Then after a couple of years once the soil has improved move to a full no-till drill like a JD750A?

    Nothing wrong with these drill/cultivator combinations to get you through the first year or two. If your soil is completely buggered from all that mechanical battery, no-till is not going to work straight away, but actually the "cover crop/ rotation strategy" bit of your question is the most important.

    The M or C drill would also give your brain time to adjust to a whole new way of farming.

  28. #28
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by SimonC View Post
    I thought that after all that had been said about these revolutionary crop establishment ideas, the guy talking about strip till seemed a bit out of date. Once you have got your perfect soil structure, why would you ever want to go digging it up and wrecking that structure, just to get a few seeds to germinate.
    I think it may have a place for keeping sugar beet yields/margins high, whilst leaving ~50% of the ground totally untouched and preserving as much as possible of your hard won no-till soil structure.

  29. #29
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    I love a disc drill for reasons I've yarned about before, but its not for everyone and certainly Claydon aren't the biggest selling direct drill at the moment for no reason.

    I think the important thing is to point yourself in the direction of direct drilling/ one pass seeding with whatever machine you fancy - because if you like it and respect what it does the chances are you will spend the time tinkering around to make it work best for you. And then how the system evolves -you may eventually fancy lower disturbance but equally you may have spuds or beet and mean that a cultivator direct drill is the best.

  30. #30
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Any comments on the CTF cover crops day?

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    I think it may have a place for keeping sugar beet yields/margins high, whilst leaving ~50% of the ground totally untouched and preserving as much as possible of your hard won no-till soil structure.
    Only in suagr beet, fodder beet or maize do I think a strip till rig is justifiable - otherwise I don't think it is efficent. I don't call Claydon/ Mzuri's strip till either even though - they are direct drills to me.

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