With our Oilseed Rape setting a new farm record, I took a moment to look back over the past season to ponder on the magic ingredients of our success. Here’s my secret to ‘profitable farming that doesn’t cost the earth’.
1. Soil Structure
Seven years on since converting to strip tillage, our soils have dramatically improved. Organic matter has doubled and compaction has been eradicated from reduced traffic. The soil is now aerated, friable and much more productive.
2. Moisture Retention
Leaving previous crop residue on the surface has retained vital moisture prior to drilling and throughout the young growth stages. The residue also protects the soil from wind and rain erosion and offers a protective environment for quick and even establishment.
3. Light Interception
Better light interception promotes strong, healthy growth of crops and resulting straw is better able to support higher yields.
4. Drilling with fertiliser
Our Pro-Til 3T gives us the option to band place fertiliser below the seed. This gets seedlings of to a boosted, quick start and saves money on additional operations.
5. Seed placement into fine tilth
Placing the seed in the centre of the tilled area is vital for even establishment. The Pro-Til 3T has a winged breaker leg to produce a finely tilled nursery seedbed and the seeing arm pivots side to side to ensure seed is placed centrally. This makes all the difference in producing an even establishment, headland to headland.
6. Accurate seeding depth
Even germination is dependent on an accurate seeding depth. The coulter arms on our Pro-Til work independently from each other and are hydraulically pressured to ensure the same depth throughout the machine, making light work of uneven ground.
7. Soil-to-seed contact
Providing the optimum germination environment cannot be overlooked. Good reconsolidation from a press wheel following the seeding arm will remove air pockets and help protect from slug damage, whilst clean soil contact will encourage quick germination.