Neil Thomson weighs up different establishment systems

You will note, that I have not mentioned anything about Scottish rugby for a while. So moving on…

The last field of barley was sown on the 19 March in near perfect conditions, and we have never been finished earlier. But we cheated a bit.

We are considering changing our drill, and our local suppliers of Vaderstad, Horsche, Kuhn and Sulky were kind enough to give us meaningful demonstrations of each of their systems. Currently, we operate a 3m Kuhn/Accord power harrow, disc coulter drill on a 155hp John Deere tractor and drill about 730ha of crop per year. This works fine, but, like most of us, we want to do everything that little bit quicker, so we have decided to move to 4m wide. That’s the easy bit, weighing up the merits of two completely different systems is another matter, especially when there are three of us deciding.

The Vaderstad and Horsche prefer to work on prepared ground, and that requires another expensive piece of shiny metal and labour, which our current system does not need. Our land varies from almost sand to some with some meat in it, so a system that can accommodate all is essential.

And with some steep banks, it would seem sensible to carry the machinery on the tractor rather than dragging a dead weight up the hill. But, on the other hand, the workrate and performance of the Vaderstad and Horsche were outstanding, making a very satisfactory job, and a lot of farmers are switching to them. They can’t all be wrong, can they? One field was sown with seed and fertiliser together, a technique last used here more than 25 years ago, and I am keen to go back to that, particularly for spring barley. But only very complex power harrow/drill combinations offer that at present, and that sounds expensive.

PS Well done Wales. Three Grand Slams in eight years is impressive.

Read more from Neil Thomson

Read more from our arable Farmer Focus writers

Online grain trading made easy with Farmers Weekly Graindex

It takes just a couple of minutes to create a listing on Farmers Weekly Graindex and you’ll get a range of prices to compare from active buyers who want your grain.
Visit Farmers Weekly Graindex
See more