Last week we had the pleasure of welcoming a group of forward-thinking German farmers. The group was keen to learn more about our system and how strip tillage could benefit their own farms back in Germany.
Starting the day with a farm tour, courtesy of our new people carrying trailer, aptly named the Springfield Safari wagon by one of our followers, we drove along permanent tramlines through our crops. First en route were the cover crop trials, some of which have exceeded our expectations so far, with the mustard reaching up the sides of the trailer. I explained that the secret to getting sufficient levels of growth is hinged on the speed of establishment after combining, something we strive for every season. I suggested that for every lost day there really is a lost growth penalty to be had.
Throughout the plots, worm activity could be found by the spadefull and the decomposition of the surface straw was evident. We explained the role that cover crops play in providing a micro-climate for soil organisms and how the flowering radish would benefit beneficial pollinators.
Next, we looked at the Oilseed Rape trials which feature plots of 333mm and 666mm row spacings on the single and double shoot coulters. We’re testing the theory that more light interception is beneficial to yields.
Moving on to the Winter Wheat, where we had replicated the same spacing trials in the Rape, the difference between coulter set ups was visually striking. Our German visitors were fascinated by the plots and will be keenly following our diary for updates.
After lunch I gave a presentation on the farm and how we use a 5-step plan aimed to achieve sustainable cropping with high profit margins:
It was apparent that everyone was impressed by the level of innovation on the farm and the drive for sustainability. Our special visitors had an enjoyable day, and we look forward to seeing members of the party again at Agritechnica.
We are always open to welcoming visitors to the farm, and have an opportunity to talk about our practices in the field.