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


Majority of oilseed rape crop gets off to a flying start

Nearly two-thirds of oilseed rape crops are better established this autumn as many growers have moved to earlier drilling to avoid the ravages of cabbage stem flea beetles. More growers…


How to tackle the spring milling oat challenge

The quest for spring oats to be a consistent, profitable crop that meets millers’ requirements continues after another difficult year for getting the best from the crop. A wide range…


Autumn-sown spring beans could fill winter seed shortage 

Spring beans can be successfully drilled in the autumn without any major dip in yield, which may help overcome a shortage of winter bean seed this coming season. The Processors and…


Advice on best drilling date for winter wheat

The best time to drill winter wheat can vary, whether you farm in England or Scotland, as delayed drilling is often advised south of the border, while the earlier the…

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Case studies


Soil health improves after switch to new drills

Soil fertility is improving on one Berkshire estate after switching to low-disturbance drilling and cover crops to achieve a more sustainable farming system. Addressing soil health was deemed necessary after…


How a drill kit enabled farmer to adopt variable seeding

Reaping the benefits of variable-rate drilling has, for many growers, meant spending many thousands upgrading their drills. However, a low-cost conversion kit is opening up this technique to many more.…


Autocasting gets oilseed rape in early to resist flea beetle

A Northamptonshire farm is sowing oilseed rape when combining the previous cereal crop, cutting costs and getting the rapeseed off to a good early start on its light land. The…


20 years of regenerative agriculture: One farm’s success story

What started as a cost-cutting exercise more than 20 years ago on Doug Christie’s 570ha farm in Fife has developed into a regenerative system that ticks all the boxes and…

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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…


Is regenerative agriculture the future of arable farming?

A growing number of farmers are overhauling their systems and are now farming in a way that has little impact on soil health, includes greater diversity and leads to more…


How a better understanding of oat agronomy will lift yields

Researchers are addressing the urgent need for better agronomy knowledge for spring oats, which has the potential to become a high-yielding breakcrop. Not only will the new benchmark figures help…

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Sugar output up after 2020's virus yellows-hit beet crop

Sugar production from Britain’s sugar beet crop is set to rise more than 10% with a smaller drilled crop area offset by a recovery in yields after last season’s virus…


Rain prompts fears of repeat wet autumn

Rain and stormy weather have prompted concern that UK farmers could be in for a repeat of last year’s wet autumn. Eastern England is experiencing heavy rain and strong winds…


Smaller oilseed rape crop looks good with low beetle damage

The area of oilseed rape drilled this summer is set to be down on last season, although with good establishment ironically the harvest area next year could well be higher.…


Most wheat growers not tempted to drill early this autumn

The vast majority of winter wheat growers plan to drill at the same time as usual, and are not tempted to sow earlier after last year's wet difficult autumn. Heavy…

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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…

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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…

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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…


9 amazing grower videos to celebrate spring drilling

Spring drilling and potato planting is progressing well across the country, as soil temperatures climb and drier weather helps growers get on heavier land. It isn't all work and no fun,…

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