Arable Farmer Focus: Chaser bin helps reduce soil compaction for Nick Padwick

We’ve finally shut the door on the dryer pit for another season, with a mixed bag in the shed.

The oilseed rape came off well in dryish conditions and we felt that, after finising the oilseed rape, we would have a clear run of weather into the wheat. How wrong could I have been?

The thought of having 10 dry days in August I didn’t feel was too much to ask. But yet again we struggled at the beginning of wheat harvest to have a couple of dry days in a row. This also has hampered straw baling which in turn has led to delays in oilseed rape establishment.

The wheat has done fairly well, especially where organic matter has been applied in the rotation, with good Hagbergs before the rain.

Winter beans have been disappointing with yields below budget.

I start to get nervous when we get to the end of August and we still have so much work to do, with harvest staff starting to drift back to university and college. But just as the children headed back to school after the summer holidays, the weather improved enough to finish the wheat and establish oilseed rape.

This year we have introduced a chaser bin to our harvesting system and wanted to see if we could reduce wheelings in our fields. This should help with the oilseed rape establishment by minimising compaction.

We have been looking over and walking fields, digging little soil pits to look at soil structure and have been amazed at how much damage is done to soils even with just an empty trailer running over them. So staying in the tramlines with the chaser bin with wide wheels has significantly reduced compaction.


• Visit Nick’s blog on FWI, which includes video diaries.

• For more columns from other Arable Farmer Focus writers

See more