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Thread: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

  1. #31
    peasantman
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Personally I think the DD v Plough debate is symptomatic of the polarised thinking that typifies our age.

    Both are good tools in the right hands at the right time. Both have pros and cons. Neither is the "winner" or "loser."

    To address a few points:

    We had better blackgrass control using Kerb in DD osr/wheat rotation than we ever had when ploughing as we did not keep bringing up more seed.

    On the other hand, in this wet year, we would never have been able to DD our heavy clay, so the plough was the best way forward and just managed to get a seedbed over 95% of the area.

    We too have customers but when you sit down with them and show them the establishment costs of DD as compared to ploughing they are happy to accept a bit of untidy looking crop, which in any case looks good by late spring.

    But unless I was one light land I would not DD this year. Just basic common sense really.

  2. #32
    s.chiles
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by fred View Post
    Blimey , to the point or what,

    York, perhaps you would like to elaborate on why not,

    Maybe in the midst of translation you have missed the jist of what I was trying to say, or how I was saying it, i was effectively asking questions as to why I or other potential direct drillers would not direct drill,
    I don't think he's missed anything in the translation, what he's telling you is that if you haven't studied the system enough, arent 100% sure it'll work, and aren't committed to making it work then don't bother as you're wasting your time.

    Several years ago a farmer rang me for advise on direct drilling, which he followed. The following year we went to do some baling and packing for him. My mate asked him how he got on with dd and if it had worked for him. His reply was "Of course it worked because I wanted it too". I think he said it all really.

  3. #33
    s.chiles
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by peasantman View Post
    Personally I think the DD v Plough debate is symptomatic of the polarised thinking that typifies our age.

    Both are good tools in the right hands at the right time. Both have pros and cons. Neither is the "winner" or "loser."

    To address a few points:

    We had better blackgrass control using Kerb in DD osr/wheat rotation than we ever had when ploughing as we did not keep bringing up more seed.

    On the other hand, in this wet year, we would never have been able to DD our heavy clay, so the plough was the best way forward and just managed to get a seedbed over 95% of the area.

    We too have customers but when you sit down with them and show them the establishment costs of DD as compared to ploughing they are happy to accept a bit of untidy looking crop, which in any case looks good by late spring.

    But unless I was one light land I would not DD this year. Just basic common sense really.
    I farm on some fairly heavy land and I wouldn't contemplate ploughing at all. I don't think you can successfully mix and match dding with ploughing as it takes years to get the system going properly, and there is no way that I'm undoing 12 years work.
    I agree that if you've been mixing both systems you have nothing to loose, long term dd'ers see it differently.

  4. #34
    peasantman
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    I don't think he's missed anything in the translation, what he's telling you is that if you haven't studied the system enough, arent 100% sure it'll work, and aren't committed to making it work then don't bother as you're wasting your time.

    Several years ago a farmer rang me for advise on direct drilling, which he followed. The following year we went to do some baling and packing for him. My mate asked him how he got on with dd and if it had worked for him. His reply was "Of course it worked because I wanted it too". I think he said it all really.
    Yes you need to have the right mindset, but you can only push it so far IMO, depending on your soil type.

    There comes a time when slowness of seedling establishment, disruption or prohibition of preems, and the amount of slug pellets required becomes unacceptable.

  5. #35
    Badshot
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Fred, I've jumped in both feet first with the wheat this year. With a drill that isn't really a direct drill but in the right conditions it seems to be working.

    I spent the last 12 months looking at claydons, I still can't bring myself to spend that sort of money on a drill. I hope i don't regret it too much.

    This year has been difficult for many with ruts etc, my tramlines are deep and only getting partly filled by the drill so I will use them again and maybe next year I'll get a chance to level them.

    The advice to start with a drill that'll work in cultivated ground is good as it gives you options.

    I will say that there isn't another drill working near me today, I've drilled 50 acres this afternoon in 5 1/2 hrs, I'm hoping that it will dry enough to roll in the next few days, that would really finish the job off.

    I nearly sold my drill earlier this year for a claydon, but to be honest I'm glad I didn't, I'd be using 3m not 6.

    I am already seeing the worms that I have seen elsewhere, my rape stubbles are covered in piles of chaff/pods over their holes. It's exciting and satisfying, it's also nice thinking of my wheat being established with about 5 litres of fuel/acre. I know the saving in fuel could easily be less than the lost yield that some people experience but I would not be able to do the farm if I carried on spending the time subsoiling etc, I just wouldn't get round it all and before anyone says contractors, I refuse to pay someone to come and do something that I have the machinery to do myself. I have also been let down in the past on timeliness so unless I am incapacitated it won't happen.

    I am also seeing a vast improvement in my soil since I stopped ploughing it, the pictures that someone posted on another thread are typical of this ground when it has turned over nicely, get it wrong and it's far, far worse.

    If another year I have combine wheelings that are too deep to drill through successfully I will pull a springtine or something over it to level it off.

    rambling a bit now, off to find a can of something nice to drink.:lolk:

  6. #36
    s.chiles
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by peasantman View Post
    Yes you need to have the right mindset, but you can only push it so far IMO, depending on your soil type.

    There comes a time when slowness of seedling establishment, disruption or prohibition of preems, and the amount of slug pellets required becomes unacceptable.
    Later in the year increasing the surface area of the soil ( by cultivation ) will reduce it's temperature quicker slowing seedling emergance.
    Soil movement will increase weed germination. I don't know of any preems that can't be used in a dd situation.
    Increased beetle no's will reduce the need for slug pellets, I haven't used any in the last 5 years, I may use some this year but I shall be carefull what I use, and I certainly will be using no more than my cultivating neighbours.

    In the spring dd'ed ground will take longer to warm than cultivated ground but as you are less worried about moisture loss ( can anybody remember last spring ) you can afford to drill much later with dd. Spring crops weren't an option for us on this soil until we dd'ed.

  7. #37
    Mr Bean
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by Badshot View Post

    I nearly sold my drill earlier this year for a claydon, but to be honest I'm glad I didn't, I'd be using 3m not 6.
    The pictures of your drill working into bean stubble looks very similar to the job my Sim-Tec has been doing really, so it seems a good way to start to me. If your land is in good nick, I think you are better off without the extra loosening tine fitted to the Claydon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Badshot View Post


    If another year I have combine wheelings that are too deep to drill through successfully I will pull a springtine or something over it to level it off.
    I'll be surprised if you get any combine wheelings worth mentioning next year, even if it is wet. Unmoved ground just carries so much better. Drilling at an angle with a tine drill soon fills any small depressions for you.

    Still combining beans here, I made a mistake and put a strob fungicide on and the damn things won't ripen.:cry: I keep doing a bit as patches come ready, no ruts yet and then follow immediately behind the combine with the drill. Combined a really nasty wet field the other day and I was amazed that I got it drilled straight after. If it had been ploughed, I am not sure I could have even got the crop off the field.

  8. #38
    Tim Fr
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    I juped in feed first last year. Crops were OK. This year started off badly as too dry now too wet for OSR. Seems too much chopped straw for OSR, will address that next year.
    Start with a cheep(ish) Moore. Mine cost 3000, changed discs & culters circa 2000. Have changed to Accord air hopper but tha'ts to do with my very stony ground 4000.
    Sold my old drill this year so that paid for the accord. Still got plough & cultivator in shed. The Moore will be ok on worked ground as long as it is rolled.

    Alternatively find a contractor to do a field or two.

  9. #39
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Fred - If you have a Horsch and you are loyal to the brand why not pay a visit to Soren in Denmark and if you like his openers bring them back in the suitcase with you?

    At least you've got a chance to do something then if you wish.

  10. #40
    York
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    Later in the year increasing the surface area of the soil ( by cultivation ) will reduce it's temperature quicker slowing seedling emergance.
    Soil movement will increase weed germination. I don't know of any preems that can't be used in a dd situation.
    Increased beetle no's will reduce the need for slug pellets, I haven't used any in the last 5 years, I may use some this year but I shall be carefull what I use, and I certainly will be using no more than my cultivating neighbours.

    In the spring dd'ed ground will take longer to warm than cultivated ground but as you are less worried about moisture loss ( can anybody remember last spring ) you can afford to drill much later with dd. Spring crops weren't an option for us on this soil until we dd'ed.
    Simon,
    that's absolutely what we find as well.
    All the talk about slower warming up soils in DD is "funny". Yes, the tilled soils warm up faster, are warmer in the day but because they lack the "insulation" cover they cool down much more during the night. So the flucs in temp. is much bigger.
    Friend of mine did intensive temperature measurements under various cultivation regimes as on his farm he had a 10+ year tillage comparison from No Till - DD down to various Min Till - to Plough system on large scale, continuously same, blocks.
    Like you so nicely wrote: You can wait! But this is the biggest hinderence as who is able to wait nowadays? We all want it now, the I-Pad, the latest gymics etc.. Just look at the young once. They even don't want to be surprised for x-mas any more.
    York-Th.

  11. #41
    York
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    I don't think he's missed anything in the translation, what he's telling you is that if you haven't studied the system enough, arent 100% sure it'll work, and aren't committed to making it work then don't bother as you're wasting your time.

    Several years ago a farmer rang me for advise on direct drilling, which he followed. The following year we went to do some baling and packing for him. My mate asked him how he got on with dd and if it had worked for him. His reply was "Of course it worked because I wanted it too". I think he said it all really.
    Fred,
    I couldn't have put it better.
    York-Th.

  12. #42
    fred
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by York View Post
    Simon,
    that's absolutely what we find as well.
    All the talk about slower warming up soils in DD is "funny". Yes, the tilled soils warm up faster, are warmer in the day but because they lack the "insulation" cover they cool down much more during the night. So the flucs in temp. is much bigger.
    Friend of mine did intensive temperature measurements under various cultivation regimes as on his farm he had a 10+ year tillage comparison from No Till - DD down to various Min Till - to Plough system on large scale, continuously same, blocks.
    Like you so nicely wrote: You can wait! But this is the biggest hinderence as who is able to wait nowadays? We all want it now, the I-Pad, the latest gymics etc.. Just look at the young once. They even don't want to be surprised for x-mas any more.
    York-Th.

    This is what I wanted to know and hear,

  13. #43
    fred
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    Later in the year increasing the surface area of the soil ( by cultivation ) will reduce it's temperature quicker slowing seedling emergance.
    Soil movement will increase weed germination. I don't know of any preems that can't be used in a dd situation.
    Increased beetle no's will reduce the need for slug pellets, I haven't used any in the last 5 years, I may use some this year but I shall be carefull what I use, and I certainly will be using no more than my cultivating neighbours.

    In the spring dd'ed ground will take longer to warm than cultivated ground but as you are less worried about moisture loss ( can anybody remember last spring ) you can afford to drill much later with dd. Spring crops weren't an option for us on this soil until we dd'ed.
    And this ,

  14. #44
    RBM
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    Later in the year increasing the surface area of the soil ( by cultivation ) will reduce it's temperature quicker slowing seedling emergance.
    Soil movement will increase weed germination. I don't know of any preems that can't be used in a dd situation.
    Increased beetle no's will reduce the need for slug pellets, I haven't used any in the last 5 years, I may use some this year but I shall be carefull what I use, and I certainly will be using no more than my cultivating neighbours.

    In the spring dd'ed ground will take longer to warm than cultivated ground but as you are less worried about moisture loss ( can anybody remember last spring ) you can afford to drill much later with dd. Spring crops weren't an option for us on this soil until we dd'ed.
    Can I ask how much OSR you have in your rotation Simon?

  15. #45
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by s.chiles View Post
    In the spring dd'ed ground will take longer to warm than cultivated ground but as you are less worried about moisture loss ( can anybody remember last spring ) you can afford to drill much later with dd.
    This confuses me. Everyone is saying untouched fields are drier now than tilled ones - why in the spring would untouched fields be wetter than tilled ones?

  16. #46
    Clive
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    This confuses me. Everyone is saying untouched fields are drier now than tilled ones - why in the spring would untouched fields be wetter than tilled ones?
    I don't think they would be - what I guess Simon means is that after drilling with good ground cover and better structure that the DD crops will use availbe water better due to less evaporation and better infiltration ??

  17. #47
    Willscale
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    This confuses me. Everyone is saying untouched fields are drier now than tilled ones - why in the spring would untouched fields be wetter than tilled ones?
    I think what they are saying is that a longer term untouched field will have better drainage channels etc giving a decent oppourtunity to drill in the Spring. If its not draining very well (and tillage rotations don't really help water percolation) then spring cropping is more difficult.

  18. #48
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Hmmm, not convinced.

    The original quote was that with DD "you are less worried about moisture loss". This implies to me that there is more moisture with DD than tillage.

    This must be because either there is more moisture there to begin with, or it will keep what moisture is there more effectively. (Or is there a third option?)

    If either of these premises are correct, then surely the same goes for the autumn?

  19. #49
    knockie
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    I know up here in a "usual" year it is a case of soils are warmer coming out of the summer but colder going into the spring having cooled down over winter. Wetness cools soil quickly and also slows down warming, cover I'm sure would slow down cooling at this time of year but I think in the spring would slow down warming...... or I could be talking rubbish....wouldn't be the first time and won't be the last!
    SD.

  20. #50
    kpa
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    This confuses me. Everyone is saying untouched fields are drier now than tilled ones - why in the spring would untouched fields be wetter than tilled ones?
    Untouched fields that have been in DD for several years definitely walk drier than conventionally drilled/cultivated fields (CCF), you need to take advantage of this and drill early, which is the reason that currently we have our W/W up & running and most of our neighbours' seed is in the barn.

    In Spring CCF are turned over exposing fresh soil to sun and wind and evaporating surplus moisture, allowing soil to lose moisture and warm up sooner. With DD patience is the key to success. If the Spring is dry, with DD you have kept the water in the soil so are less dependant on what comes from above.

  21. #51
    shakerator
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Re spring crop
    If you've got soil cover coming out of winter, transpiration does not exceed the damp shading effect of vegetation until mid April. Thus is an argument for terminating covers in the back end. Although there are arguments for sustaining soil life over winter etc. An exception may be brassicas with potentially rapid march growth

  22. #52
    kpa
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by shakerator View Post
    Re spring crop
    If you've got soil cover coming out of winter, transpiration does not exceed the damp shading effect of vegetation until mid April. Thus is an argument for terminating covers in the back end. Although there are arguments for sustaining soil life over winter etc. An exception may be brassicas with potentially rapid march growth
    Also an argument for sheep grazing the soil cover during the Winter.

  23. #53
    Ploughman1963
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    Hmmm, not convinced.

    The original quote was that with DD "you are less worried about moisture loss". This implies to me that there is more moisture with DD than tillage.

    This must be because either there is more moisture there to begin with, or it will keep what moisture is there more effectively. (Or is there a third option?)

    If either of these premises are correct, then surely the same goes for the autumn?
    My thoughts are that with un-tilled ground the route for moisture to travel upwards through the soil by capillary action is unbroken therefore moisture remains available. With tilled ground, the the air gaps prevent moisture travel by capillary action. At least that is my opinion.

  24. #54
    JD_Kid
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    one of the DD guy here used to work on 1 inch of rain loss per pass during tillage so in low rain fall areas DD banks more of your rain fall

  25. #55
    The ruminant
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by dontknowanything View Post
    Hmmm, not convinced.

    The original quote was that with DD "you are less worried about moisture loss". This implies to me that there is more moisture with DD than tillage.

    This must be because either there is more moisture there to begin with, or it will keep what moisture is there more effectively. (Or is there a third option?)

    If either of these premises are correct, then surely the same goes for the autumn?
    DKA, have we taught you nothing?

    D/D promotes soil organic matter. Soil organic matter, once 'decomposed' acts like a sponge. Therefore, in autumn it allows water to infiltrate more easily hence you don't get water pooling either on the surface or on the plough pan. In Spring, when ground is drying out, the sponge-like qualities of high OM soils means more water is held within the soil structure and is therefore available to the plants for longer.

    Here's a link to an article which touches on it: http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/a0100e/a0100e08.htm

  26. #56
    martian
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Yeah, what he says. However it has to be said that it takes a year or two for SOM levels to build up (unless you are mob-stocking of course), so I suspect it is a mixture of many causes that keeps the ground moist in the spring.

  27. #57
    mbsrhol
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ploughman1963 View Post
    My thoughts are that with un-tilled ground the route for moisture to travel upwards through the soil by capillary action is unbroken therefore moisture remains available. With tilled ground, the the air gaps prevent moisture travel by capillary action. At least that is my opinion.
    I like this opinion,

    plus higher organic matter levels, and surface mulch keeping the soil cool and reducing evaporation.

  28. #58
    JD_Kid
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    ummmmmm cool soil and lower evaporation is only going to be a factor during summer fallows

    look at most of the openers in the US planting early crops the strip the trash away from the rows and also work the soil more .. reson is dark soil heats up more and dryer soil is warmer

    OM levels would only be lower on back to back cropping farms removeing straw off etc to be fair selling the baler than buying a DD would have larger efects

  29. #59
    dontknowanything
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    Quote Originally Posted by The ruminant View Post
    DKA, have we taught you nothing?

    D/D promotes soil organic matter. Soil organic matter, once 'decomposed' acts like a sponge. Therefore, in autumn it allows water to infiltrate more easily hence you don't get water pooling either on the surface or on the plough pan. In Spring, when ground is drying out, the sponge-like qualities of high OM soils means more water is held within the soil structure and is therefore available to the plants for longer.

    Here's a link to an article which touches on it: http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/a0100e/a0100e08.htm
    fair enough

  30. #60
    slartybartfast
    Guest

    Re: i would love to start direct drilling but i.....?

    A beginner in this carry on but here's my experiences.

    Started three years ago with grass straight into stubble, worked fine though huge differences noticed with when round-up went on.
    Next year, grass plus a bit of wheat. Fine again though the wheat should have been fed earlier, though whether that was down to the cold winter or dd or both.
    This year jumped all in, spring barley, which happened to be "The dawn of..." , "the day of...", "The land of...." THE SLUG!
    Having never had to deal with the critters before it was an eye opener. Now, you'd think with a 6m margin round every field there'd be lots of predators but that wasn't the case. Three and a half fields had to be redrilled. Hopefully with so many about there'll be more predators this coming year. Barley did really well apart from two fields which failed for lots of reasons.
    DD seems to be working, the structure in the fields that have been in it a while is improving, mind you, I've been careful as the only thing up the field was the the combine.(baler might have been but weather being as it is...)
    As I'm small fry,it suits too, as one small 100hp tractor and one drill do all, were as any other method seems to be a case of chasing the horsepower tail.

    By the way, moisture retention is NOT an issue here.

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