Know How / Drilling

Get guidance on the right conditions for drilling for successful crop establishment.  See the pros and cons of different establishment techniques, including min till and direct drilling, how to get good seed to soil contact for rapid establishment and how to cover off early weed and pest threats.

Advice and tips


Cereals 2024: Why September drilled OSR can boost yield

Drilling oilseed rape from the second week of September rather than the typical August sowing window could be a strategic move for growers to boost yield potential. Latest research from…


How to get spring barley off to a good start

Whether it’s an option to replace missed or failed winter drillings, or a profitable mainstay in the rotations of committed malting growers, spring barley is expected to increase its area…


How to manage waterlogged soils in an autumn deluge

This season’s washout autumn has seen crops battered by flooding and swamped by slugs, in what was the wettest October in England since 2000. In fact, some fields have been…


Oats come out top in heavy land direct drilling trial

Oats gave a higher yield and profit margin when direct drilled compared with minimum tillage in an eight-year trial, due largely to the cereal crop showing a very vigorous growth…

See all

Case studies


Notts Monitor Farm sees benefits of reduced cultivations

Reduced labour and machinery costs and more resilient soils are some of the benefits being seen since reducing cultivations at Manor Farm, near Bingham in Nottinghamshire. The Fisher family have…


Spring drilling: 3 farmers battle to get crops established

Wet weather is causing havoc with spring drilling. Some farmers have nearly finished while others are yet to begin, as yield potential falls with each delayed day. Farmers Weekly‘s deputy…


Drill change improves cereal crop resilience

Spring barley was the last crop to be fully drilled with the 3m Mzuri Pro-till drill and despite the tricky spring, it yielded nearly 8t/ha last summer.  Neil White believes…


Grower moves to direct-drilled OSR and companion crops

Dorset grower Andrew Fry is growing oilseed rape for the first time and is hoping for a good yield from his new break crop. There is also £100/ha of government…

See all



Autumn deluge floods crops and delays drills

Farmers have faced yet another difficult autumn drilling season as continuous rainstorms play havoc with those attempting to get crops in the ground. Some growers who managed to get fields…

See all



Direct-drilling: Main findings from major five-year trial

Farming on heavy land in Leicestershire, Joe Stanley was skeptical that reducing cultivations by adopting a direct-drilling system would increase farm profitability and improve the environment. But after seeing the…


Suffolk grower sees big savings with lean management

Short videos on setting up three grain drills are part of Suffolk grower Richard Ling’s move into lean management techniques in an overall approach that could benefit him £82,000 each…


Is there still a need for costly wheat seed treatments?

Cereal growers are increasingly questioning the need for chemical seed treatments as they continue to improve soil health, encourage soil biology and drive down costs. With autumn drilling under way,…


Why more research is needed for no-till wheat variety picks

More scientific information on how different wheat varieties perform in no-till systems is needed, as growers are having to make selections based on limited data. As the establishment method increases…

See all



Still time to drill a summer legume mix to improve soils

Arable growers with uncropped bare soil are being encouraged to use a summer legume mix cover crop to protect their soils from summer thunderstorms, fix nitrogen and give a good…


UK wheat area drop and shift to spring drilling is forecast

This season’s autumn drilling campaign has proved to be a turbulent one, with intense rainstorms disrupting drilling and playing havoc with emerging crops. As a result, the AHDB is forecasting…


Maize grower relief at emergency seed treatment ruling

British maize growers can breathe a sigh of relief that three European seed treatments have been given the green light for UK use next year. UK regulators have granted emergency…


Video: Robotti successfully drills and weeds 150ha of sugar beet

Autonomous Agri Solutions and Sentry farming have teamed up to use a fully autonomous robot to successfully drill and weed a 150ha area of sugar beet across Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.…

See all



FW Opinion: Farmers shouldn't bear full cost of wild weather

Uncertainty in farming is nothing new – whether it's late support payments, commodity price swings, or changing consumer trends. But it seems each year is becoming more of a gamble…

See all

Test and reviews


How new tech turns standard drill into variable-rate system

Thanks to a new drill-conversion kit, arable farmers hoping to adopt an adjustable-rate system can now simply and affordably convert any standard drill into variable-rate capacity. Developed by crop production…


Driver's View: Steve Heard's John Deere 750A drill

Leicestershire farmer Steve Heard imported and assembled his own John Deere no-till drill – he gives us his verdict on how it has performed, what he most likes about it…


Driver’s view: Sky Easy Drill

Cambridgeshire grower Edward Davison picks out the best and worst points of his Sky Easy Drill, which he bought in 2016 when his crop yields were hammered by a high…

See all



Video: Robotti successfully drills and weeds 150ha of sugar beet

Autonomous Agri Solutions and Sentry farming have teamed up to use a fully autonomous robot to successfully drill and weed a 150ha area of sugar beet across Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire.…


Video: High-pressure water tech aids direct drilling success

Replacing drill coulters with a high-pressure jet to open up the soil will not only improve germination, its inventors believe it can aid rooting by cracking compaction and aerating soils.…


Video: Min-till drill-off the highlight of Cereals 2018

Cereals show-goers were treated to a drill-off at this year’s event, giving them chance to see how five different low soil-disturbance systems deal with the challenge of a cover crop.…


Video: Drilling OSR companion crop follows early wheat harvest

Drilling a companion crop is the order of the day for Cambridgeshire grower David White as soon as early-maturing winter wheat is cut on his light soils. He is sowing…

See all