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Thread: Cereals and Direct Drilling

  1. #61
    s.chiles
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by walter melon View Post
    Simon,

    I believe your right but some soils achieve that easier and more quickly than others. This country is littered with many different soil types so what works for you in Kent may not work for somebody else in Lincolnshire for example.

    Soil self structuring takes a while.
    Some soils do self structure easier than others, and ironically it's the easier soils to work that take the longest. As I am a contractor I've drilled a huge acreage on lots of completely different soils from chalk fluff to sand and heavy clay.
    Possiibly one of the reasons for compaction in lighter soils is the fact that people work them when they are wetter just because they can, not realising the damage they are doing.
    I also think there is a difference between compaction and consolidation that few appreciate.

  2. #62
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    Some soils do self strucure easier than others, and ironically it's the easier soils to work that take the longest. As I am a contractor I've drilled a huge acreage on lots of completely different soils from chalk fluff to sand and heavy clay.
    Possiibly one of the reasons for compaction in lighter soils is the fact that people work them when they are wetter just because they can, not realising the damage they are doing.
    I also think there is a difference between compaction and consolidation that few appreciate.
    And furthermore when you look at what little yield data there is on direct drilling it is not that often that DD crops yield significantly less than any other system of establishment. There are always anomolies and there are always cock ups but in my experience and from the people I talk to yields are always "there, thereabouts, a little less or a little more" ie there is not a lot in it.

    I know Lee has had trouble but (no offence Lee) his experience is not representative.

    So I guess we're down to issues of management, planning, optimising your drill, predicting your weed burden etc. and to use Simon's anology when to get off the hamster wheel and when to stay on it.

  3. #63
    s.chiles
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    I spoke to someone yesterday who used to work for a bank before and now he runs his own farm. The crops are all dd'ed and harvested by contractor's ( different ). The harvesting contractor always has to recalibrate his yield monitor on the combine when he does his farm because the crops were dd'ed and therefore it must have gone out of calibration. Says it all I think.

  4. #64
    s.chiles
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post

    So I guess we're down to issues of management, planning, optimising your drill, predicting your weed burden etc. and to use Simon's anology when to get off the hamster wheel and when to stay on it.
    Or put another way, how old you are, how far you think ahead and the size of your bo**ocks. Fortune favors the brave.

  5. #65
    SimonC
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by walter melon View Post

    Soil self structuring takes a while.
    There is no such thing as a self structuring soil. People say to me, well it's easy for you, you heavy soil structures itself, what rubbish. Yes it used to crack wide open when dry but then when it got wet again, the cracks closed and the clay particles all stuck together again like a big mud pie.

    It is soil biology that structures soil, roots, worms, mycorrhizae, glomalin and the rest. These are all the things that tillage destroys, no wonder cultivated land needs cultivating.

    The supposed yield drop is directly related to how dead your soil is at the start and whether you have an idea how to re-instate your soil life as quickly as possible.

  6. #66
    Dockers
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    He who dares, Wins, Rodders.

    Del Boy.

  7. #67
    texas pete
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    I've never found any of this to be true, we never saw a dip in yields and even if you did have a slight dip in yield would that extra yield have paid for the cultivation and fuel? I find that once the soil strucure is good it will take more traffic, we drive all over ours baling and collecting the small bales because they are an important part of my business and it's never been an issue. Last year we did some trial work for Procam and when we were harvesting the Agronomist was checking the compaction with a penetrometer. He couldn't detect a difference between where the combine ran and where it didn't. In my opinion CTF is a complete waste of time even although I originally thought it to be the answer, it's much better to get soil structure right over the whole field, especialy for erosion.
    Simon, do you sell/remove a high proportion of your straw?

    As a long term direct driller what are your thoughts on chopping or removing straw, with relation to establishing the following crop, and also building soil OM levels?

  8. #68
    s.chiles
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Firstly we obviously bale wheat, triticale, barley and oat straw. I don't have a set rotation as such but grow crops that I can see a market for,and that suit the situation so in reality the straw is only baled every other year.

    Secondly we bale straw in conventional bales for the equestrian market. I need a premium product so we don't cut the stubbles too short so that the straw is held off the ground allowing it to dry underneath if it's wet. I once had a woman tell me that se needed to buy my straw as it was the only straw that hadn't been rained on. I was glad see told me that as I thought it had been in the field for a good 3 weeks.

    Thirdly I believe that at least 1/2 the plant is underground, By not oxidising it through cultivation it will be kept there, therefore as far as I see it what we actually remove is much less than half because of the combination of low disturbance and long stubble.

    So to answer your question I really don't think it makes much difference in our situation.

  9. #69
    martian
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Interesting stuff. I think Simon C is right that it is the army of soil fauna that do the 'self' structuring. Worms in particular are the boys on our side and the more you can help them, the better off you'll be. So straw and cover crops as well and compost will all give the little beauties something to eat and they'll structure and fertilise your soil for you.
    btw Will, I am still chuckling over the mankini gag from first time round...

  10. #70
    Seat Right Back
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    it is quite interesting that when we had Simon Draper digging over our wheat direct drilled field his one comment was that the ground was quite lifeless and it was just possible that it would not be a field that will DD easily in the near future , it needs some tlc to try and build up the goodness and our little friends and then we may stand a chance ,
    and looking at it now it seems that it may be missing that little something , but at least it will give us plenty to talk about , if I went and stood a load of people in a perfect field and they all said ''yup that looks well , lets all go down the pub'' then nothing much will be learnt

  11. #71
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by martian View Post
    Interesting stuff. I think Simon C is right that it is the army of soil fauna that do the 'self' structuring. Worms in particular are the boys on our side and the more you can help them, the better off you'll be. So straw and cover crops as well and compost will all give the little beauties something to eat and they'll structure and fertilise your soil for you.
    btw Will, I am still chuckling over the mankini gag from first time round...
    Worms are boys and girls are the same time!

  12. #72
    Michael Greenberro
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    Firstly we obviously bale wheat, triticale, barley and oat straw. I don't have a set rotation as such but grow crops that I can see a market for,and that suit the situation so in reality the straw is only baled every other year.

    Secondly we bale straw in conventional bales for the equestrian market. I need a premium product so we don't cut the stubbles too short so that the straw is held off the ground allowing it to dry underneath if it's wet. I once had a woman tell me that se needed to buy my straw as it was the only straw that hadn't been rained on. I was glad see told me that as I thought it had been in the field for a good 3 weeks.

    Thirdly I believe that at least 1/2 the plant is underground, By not oxidising it through cultivation it will be kept there, therefore as far as I see it what we actually remove is much less than half because of the combination of low disturbance and long stubble.

    So to answer your question I really don't think it makes much difference in our situation.
    This is what I am struggling to comprehend because of the direct drilling talks I have heard most speakers agree that running subsoilers does not really help the whole soil profile. They will lift the soil at depth but they are not breaking open all the clods within the profile.
    So you could have a clod the size of a football that was lifted away from all the soil around it, but the clod itself is still compacted. In a similar vain you could have a clod the size of a 50 pence piece which was compacted but a subsoiler cant help that due to its size.
    So to remove all levels of compaction from the soil profile means letting it self structure itself whilst keeping all traffic off it.
    I remember a soils days at Silsoe where they prooved even in bone dry conditions a 20.8 tractor tyre pushed the soil down which creates compaction. Obviously it was not as bad as wet soil but it was still evident to the 50 or so people present.
    So how can you expect to run around all over your fields with equipment, no matter how lightweight and small, and not cause some level of compaction? Its impossible.
    You are also removing crop residue which does aid soil life so again you are not helping the matter. If you are yielding well at the moment, I would guess that if you went to control traffic whilst leaving the crop residue your yields would increase yet again. Perhaps you are holding yourself back, so how important are these small bales of straw money wise?

  13. #73
    s.chiles
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    The straw is worth between 150 an 300/ acre, so at least an extra tonne of wheat and two tonnes of oats. The last crop of oats I grew yielded 3.3 tonnes/ acre. Do you think I would get over 5 tonnes of oats?

    From what I've seen of CTF people have to subsoil where the machinery has run, about 1/4 of the cropped area. I, however, have only subsoiled 38 acres in the last 5 years. Some of that was because we cut the hedges in the winter.

    If you look at our soils the first thing you will see is masses of worm casts.

    If you look at our crops you will see that they are table top level, something we never had when we ploughed. Surely if the soil couldn't take the traffic we wouldn't have either of these.

    Ask Clive what he thought of our crops, he was probably the last one on here to see them.

  14. #74
    Pedders
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    I saw them too ...on one of the wettest days I can remember ...they looked bloody good and we were able to walk across them without getting completely covered in mud.. the soil just didn't stick to your boots ...something you could never have done had they been ploughed and combi drilled

  15. #75
    brit
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    IF ! you need to subsoil it's to let the water through and the air in, not to break clods. If the you create the right coditions for the soil flora and fauna they will work on the clod for you.
    Haveing said that, a clod is only a clod if it is sitting on the surface, too dry for seeds to grow, sheltering slugs and creating shadows in residual herbicides. If its buried it causes none of these pproblems.
    If you you don't make clods you don't have to break clods.

  16. #76
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by brit View Post
    IF ! you need to subsoil it's to let the water through and the air in, not to break clods. If the you create the right coditions for the soil flora and fauna they will work on the clod for you.
    Haveing said that, a clod is only a clod if it is sitting on the surface, too dry for seeds to grow, sheltering slugs and creating shadows in residual herbicides. If its buried it causes none of these pproblems.
    If you you don't make clods you don't have to break clods.
    And sometimes we sort clods out to suit the suffolk coulter drill! And breaking up clods begets more clods as you smash soil particles apart they will go back together as finer particles yet more tightly bonded next time.

  17. #77
    fullback155
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    The straw is worth between 150 an 300/ acre, so at least an extra tonne of wheat and two tonnes of oats. The last crop of oats I grew yielded 3.3 tonnes/ acre. Do you think I would get over 5 tonnes of oats?

    From what I've seen of CTF people have to subsoil where the machinery has run, about 1/4 of the cropped area. I, however, have only subsoiled 38 acres in the last 5 years. Some of that was because we cut the hedges in the winter.

    If you look at our soils the first thing you will see is masses of worm casts.

    If you look at our crops you will see that they are table top level, something we never had when we ploughed. Surely if the soil couldn't take the traffic we wouldn't have either of these.

    Ask Clive what he thought of our crops, he was probably the last one on here to see them.
    Not all people in CTF subsoil where the machinery runs. I for one use CTF across all our farming operations (3000 acres) and don't do anything to the wheel ways. Everything is direct drilled and no straw is baled. You can see in about half of the fields where the wheels run but I think generally over time they are getting less noticeable. This autumn will be my 3rd year of CTF and DD. Out of interest we only run on 17.5% of the field if you exclude the tramlines.

    I agree with what you say if your soil is in good order structurally you may not benefit from CTF but coming from a reasonably aggressive min till system CTF for me has been a great way of entering into DD. Maybe in the future I will not benefit from CTF but at the moment it is a definite benefit on my farm and is here to stay.

    Another benefit of CTF is if you are using large machines because you are covering a large area it does restrict soil damage. Would even the best structured soils cope with today's heavy machinery? I don't know the answer to that but I suspect not?!

  18. #78
    Johndeere
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Do you think horsch will promote the focus SD drill in the uk more as strip till becomes more popular. Will they make a smaller version say 3 or 4 metres instead of the current 6 metres.

  19. #79
    fred
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    I think Horsch have missed a trick with the Sprinter, it could be used as a direct drill similar to the claydon with alteration to the coulters .

  20. #80
    The ruminant
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by Willscale View Post
    What colour do you want Clive? Only second hand ones left now...

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SEXY-BORAT...#ht_661wt_1185
    Heck, Will, that's the second Sunday morning ruined Would you please stop posting such images, it's spoiling my breakfast

  21. #81
    walter melon
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by fred View Post
    I think Horsch have missed a trick with the Sprinter, it could be used as a direct drill similar to the claydon with alteration to the coulters .
    Horsch will have a proper direct drill running this autumn in the UK on trial. Sounds like a perfect machine from what I'm told. Another forum member knows far more about it though !

  22. #82
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: Cereals and Direct Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    The straw is worth between 150 an 300/ acre, so at least an extra tonne of wheat and two tonnes of oats. The last crop of oats I grew yielded 3.3 tonnes/ acre. Do you think I would get over 5 tonnes of oats?

    From what I've seen of CTF people have to subsoil where the machinery has run, about 1/4 of the cropped area. I, however, have only subsoiled 38 acres in the last 5 years. Some of that was because we cut the hedges in the winter.

    If you look at our soils the first thing you will see is masses of worm casts.

    If you look at our crops you will see that they are table top level, something we never had when we ploughed. Surely if the soil couldn't take the traffic we wouldn't have either of these.

    Ask Clive what he thought of our crops, he was probably the last one on here to see them.

    Simons crop were remarkable and not on easy soils ! what hes doing flies in the face of CTF and compaction worries - despite selling all his straw and not subsoiling any more than the worst of headlands there was no evidence of compaction or wheeling from any operations to be seen

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