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Thread: "Fixing" your soil

  1. #1
    static
    Guest

    "Fixing" your soil

    Drill not going here. And wont be this autumn on mine. Nor in the spring. Went out to top 2ac of stood wheat and sunk 8" down. Unladen 6495 with wide tyres and 3m kuhn topper. If you put pressure on your heel, it will hapily sink five inches or so. The idea of a spring crop which could easily end up being cut in late September, versus a broadcast spring cover crop is just a no-brainer. 2007 taught me to leave it be rather than make a mess. The drains have been running at full-bore since late March now. I have decided to forget the DD spring barley into the oat stubbles and just give 150 acres a year off.

    I have fields with ruts from the combine reversing out of wet holes; trailers getting stuck etc and, given I have only been farming for a few years, I have no idea what to do now. There are no wet "patches" where I have drains to fix, just general saturation.

    Could I have some sugestions on what to do to help it recover? I think step one is to just leave it well along, but what to fix the ruts? In general, the structure is fine, but this is very slow draining soil. I have a mole plough but I cant travel now. Is it something that I can only really fix with cultivation next summer?

    I was hoping not to have to get too intensive as this year we actually had some mole hills in the fields, so something must have got better over the years!

  2. #2
    Badshot
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    That sounds really grim static, I've planted wheat as late as Feb and still got a perfectly acceptable 3-3.5t/acre, much to my surprise I might add.

    I wonder what a claydon type drill, or any tine drill would do on a heavy frost? I'm assuming that it is still stubble, are the ruts so bad that you couldn't live with them for a year here and there?

    Other than that a spring planted cover crop, even if it's in May would probably be the best bet, and a good entry into wheat next year. It'd be a bugger to miss out on what will probably be some good prices next harvest if it was at all possible to get something in.

    Or just take some wheat seed out the shed and spin on asap(by that I mean when it's possible to travel without making a further mess), my beans that the combine couldn't get under have all grown on the surface.


    Probably no help at all, hope it dries up a bit for you.

  3. #3
    peterraugland
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    can I suggest more drains??

    If your running at max outtake and the intake gives satturation, then sure I would put down more drains.

    If the situation is the same for your neighbors aswell, then invest in a "gold digger" drainplough or something the like and put down more drains..

    Id bet the average rainfall has changed since your tiledrains was put down some years ago...?

  4. #4
    Tim May
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    With out knowing your situation its hard to say but here are my knee jerk reactions...

    Sounds like a Mob grazing opportunity to me on a spring cover, or spin on some rye grass/ westerwolds to try and keep the soil going over the winter. Easy for me to say though as I'm not the one who would have to make the decision. If you did something like that I would take the opportunity to go off and learn something that you could bring back to your business a bit like a Nuffield, but you don't have to do it through them just do it yourself, I'm sure there's plenty of folks with global and local contacts that could help you with gaining whatever knowledge you wanted.

  5. #5
    static
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    New drains are an option, but given the amount they would pay to have the land in long-term stewardship as "wet grassland" I think as a tennant I would find it hard to justify.

    I am really thinking of the best way to fix the ruts. Some of the fields are small and once the rutted bits are taken away, then no point. I am also thinking of what state it would be in after say six sprayer passes between now and April. Ruts will have to be filled one way or another. How did you no-tillers manage back in 2007, or did principles have to give way to hard steel?

    In terms of the cash situation, I think I have had enough of a decent harvest this time to get through next year without loosing any money. Half the farm is planted with OSR so I do have some income potential. There should also be some income from the other contracting side of the business which is on much better condition land.

    So I can afford the fallow, but if you had 3/4 of a foot ruts, how would you go about getting back to a level surface? I cant see any other way than with a heavy cultivator and a subsoiler...

  6. #6
    peterraugland
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    If it was your land, then drains - but if your renting it?? Plough and spring crop? If I rented land I would think ROI - not long term no-till benefit, even though, maybe we all should....?

  7. #7
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    If I were you and you can't drain it for cost/tenancy reasons I'd plough it and put spring beans in.

    Low cost, easy to DD into after if you want and some income and work forward from there if you want to direct drill.

  8. #8
    RGT
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    Its Bad Static- and all over the country as well? If the truth was known?

  9. #9
    static
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    I must admit the plough came out but soon went back in. Its wet all the way down and just sticks. I am still in the "leave it be" camp, but any ploughing is going to have to wait until the frost. We have grown spring beans without the plough. My main concern is that if the soil ruts etc cannot be levelled out, all I am going to end up with is a poor crop of spring beans harvested late so no proper time to fix it! Mole plough pre-plough I think?

    I have no forward prices for beans, but working on say 200/t, and at a ton and a half to the acre, thats 300. Spring bean seed would need to be bought in at 430/t (!!!!) and at high TGW could be 60/ac in seed. Hate to say but I am unsure there would be much of a margin. It would be just typical to get a "hottest spring and summer in 100 years", the bastard beans to give up, and miss a great soil fixing oppertunity.

    What a depressing farming year this has been.

  10. #10
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    If you can afford to go without a cash crop this season I would just leave it until it's dry next late spring / early summer then drag something like a shakerator through it to level it up - drill a cover crop into it and then wheat next year

  11. #11
    KILDARE
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim May View Post
    With out knowing your situation its hard to say but here are my knee jerk reactions...

    Sounds like a Mob grazing opportunity to me on a spring cover, or spin on some rye grass/ westerwolds to try and keep the soil going over the winter. Easy for me to say though as I'm not the one who would have to make the decision. If you did something like that I would take the opportunity to go off and learn something that you could bring back to your business a bit like a Nuffield, but you don't have to do it through them just do it yourself, I'm sure there's plenty of folks with global and local contacts that could help you with gaining whatever knowledge you wanted.
    I agree with you tim. i have heavy land in stubble and grass pasture, the difference in the dryness of the grass field compared to the stubble is unreal.

  12. #12
    clover
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    Leave it be.Once it has dried up a bit you can have a run around the place with a grubber and take out the worst ruts.Then plough in good order at a good depth.If you can do this before mid April,get a spring crop in.If not,youll have to get the drainage sorted.Or let someone else have a go.

  13. #13
    static
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    I am looking at the problem as an oppertunity (!) to try out some of this "hot" biofumigant mustard vs just plain mustard. So every cloud and all that

  14. #14
    autopilot
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    I don't know how long your tenancy lasts, but if you get the permission from the landlord to carry out a drainage program there is a formula for him or the new tenant to pay you a proportion of the capital cost back to you if the tenancy ends. From memory I think it lasts for 15 years from the date of the capital expenditure and the total repayment probably reduces by one fifteenth each year, assuming that the landlord has not helped you with the capital cost. After all you are improving his asset so it is in his interest for improvements to be carried out even if he doesn't provide any funds. You need to speak to somebody who knows the various tenancy rules and regulations.

    Most of my drains were originally put in at 22 yards and when drained again about 20 years later in between the original pipes, so the fields have finished up drained every 11 yards apart on the heaviest land. It sounds as if yours could benfit from the same treatment, but make sure that you get written permission from the landlord before anything is started.

  15. #15
    yellow belly
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    i have wet land that is uncultivated which i am now planning to put linseed in next spring
    the best drop to leave dry land in september
    late harvest is not a problem bale the straw and no till drill next day

    linseed should cover all costs all weeds can be controlled ,very bad black grass fields excepted and it does not use up a rape wheat or beans slot

  16. #16
    Badshot
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    Quote Originally Posted by yellow belly View Post
    i have wet land that is uncultivated which i am now planning to put linseed in next spring
    the best drop to leave dry land in september
    late harvest is not a problem bale the straw and no till drill next day

    linseed should cover all costs all weeds can be controlled ,very bad black grass fields excepted and it does not use up a rape wheat or beans slot

    Except where I had a patch of linseed 2 years ago in a slugged area of rape. The fusarium very nearly wiped out the spring beans this year on that area. Should have photgraphed it really, my neighbour who sprayed the beans off commented on it as he could remember the linseed patch in the rape when he sprayed that off.

  17. #17
    static
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    I get on well with linseed. Much prefer it to spring beans. Not sure how many acres I would like to have though. Still got to fix the ruts though. I have subsoiled on the frost before and at least with a large surface area, the soil around the ruts should freeze quite well.

    Redraining is not really an option on part of it. The land in itself is never usually like this, and 1000/ac expense is unjustifiable for me. Landlord would fund it, but the land has fairly good drains - it just lies very flat and is essentially the bottom of an old river that was diverted into ditches. Increased rent vs the secure income from a 10 yr HLS wetland scheme is not really a competition. Like I say, its not normally anything like this. And apart from a couple of acres, I did get the other 78! And yielded well for the year.

  18. #18
    yellow belly
    Guest

    Re: "Fixing" your soil

    Quote Originally Posted by static View Post
    I get on well with linseed. Much prefer it to spring beans. Not sure how many acres I would like to have though. Still got to fix the ruts though. I have subsoiled on the frost before and at least with a large surface area, the soil around the ruts should freeze quite well.

    Redraining is not really an option on part of it. The land in itself is never usually like this, and 1000/ac expense is unjustifiable for me. Landlord would fund it, but the land has fairly good drains - it just lies very flat and is essentially the bottom of an old river that was diverted into ditches. Increased rent vs the secure income from a 10 yr HLS wetland scheme is not really a competition. Like I say, its not normally anything like this. And apart from a couple of acres, I did get the other 78! And yielded well for the year.
    growing linseed or beans as close as 4 years a part is a risk

    linseed is the fastest combining on a sunny day 100 plus acres with a 17 ft cut 200 plus with a 30ft should be possible
    if it goes dull then find something else to do such as combine beans

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