Arable Farmer Focus: Keith Challen demos new Vaderstad drill

It has been a busy month since I last wrote. Drilling has almost been completed, although the final 40ha has been delayed pending a seed delivery.


It is frustrating when someone else holds the job up. The rolls and Avadex combination are also nearing completion in what can only be described as perfect seed-beds, leaving just the gate to shut.

I couldn’t resist the urge to try some direct drilling so a demonstration of a Vaderstad Seed Hawk drill was arranged with B&B Tractors and our best 40ha, which had been left as stubble, was drilled during a red hot weekend. Oakley was drilled at 135kg/ha with phosphate placed 25mm below the seed at 60kg/ha, again in fantastic conditions. Feeling smug with myself, I checked the coulters to find three blocked – not so smug now.

The 91st Flintham & District Ploughing Match took place on 23 September and as a min-tiller potential direct driller, I must admit to taking pleasure in seeing some seriously good ploughing and vintage tractors that shine far more than they did when they rolled off the production line. The show was well attended by both public and exhibiters, and after official duties it was nice to indulge in a beer or two courtesy of local machinery dealers. A fantastic day out, but it was a good job I had a lift home.

First drilled Viscount wheat is nicely through and has so far been left well alone by slugs. Oilseed rape has grown beyond slugs now and is ready for spraying. A tank mix of Aramo (tepraloxydim) and Proline (prothioconazole) should take care of blackgrass and any early phoma. DK ExPower hybrid rape was last to be Autocast and fast catching crops established two weeks earlier. I’m starting to believe that hybrids are the way forward on cold, wet heavy clay soils.

• To read more from our arable farmer focus writers click here.

See more