Know How / Cultivation and drilling

News and user views on the latest cultivation techniques to optimise crop establishment, minimise environmental impact, improve soils and reduce costs through direct drilling, minimum tillage, conservation tillage – as well as traditional ploughing and drilling techniques.

Latest cultivation and drilling articles

CULTIVATION AND DRILLING

New cultivators and drills unveiled at Tillage Live event

Punters piled in to Down Ampney airfield in Gloucestershire last month for the return of the Tillage Live event. Here’s a round-up of the best of the action. See also: 10…

CULTIVATION AND DRILLING

Video: Grower builds cover crop broadcaster for £3,000

A farm-built broadcaster costing less than £3,000 has given James Hopkinson the opportunity introduce cover cropping as part of a "regenerative" approach to the arable enterprises he manages. The tractor-mounted…

WORKSHOP SKILLS

Devon contractor develops combination roller seeder

When Devon contractor-cum-engineer Marcus Tucker returned from his second stint working in New Zealand there was one particular piece of kit he felt would really add to his own operation.…

CEREAL DRILLS

12 power-harrow combi drill options with 3m working width

Its ability to create a decent seed-bed in almost any soil conditions and cultivation regime has helped keep the venerable combination drill at the sharp end of manufacturers’ sales charts.…

ROLLS

12m Cambridge rolls buyers guide: Options and prices

Crop establishment trends might come and go, but whatever the cultivation or drilling regime, there’s almost always a role for the humble Cambridge roll. Beyond the usual seed-bed consolidation tasks,…

Cultivation and drilling reviews and tests

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CEREAL DRILLS

Driver's view: Matt Lewis’ Mzuri Pro-Til 3m drill

Farm foreman Matt Lewis talks about the Mzuri Pro-Til drill that he has owned for three years. Its purchase bought about a change in the farm's crop establishment system, which…

MACHINERY

12 no-till drills on show at farmer-organised demo day

Reduced-tillage drilling continues to gain popularity as farmers look for new ways to improve soil structure and reduce cultivation activity during the autumn. With that in mind, hundreds of growers headed…

CEREAL DRILLS

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…

CEREAL DRILLS

Driver’s view: Tom Hounsfield's Sumo DD drill

Lincolnshire farmer Tom Hounsfield gives us his verdict on the adapted Sumo DD no-till drill he bought in 2015. He tells us why he switched to no-till, his likes and…

CEREAL DRILLS

Driver’s view: Swithin Waterer's Sly Boss drill

Swithin Waterer of Halstead, Essex, explains why he opted to go no-till with a Sly Boss drill. He tells us how it has performed, what he likes best about it…

MACHINERY

Maize drills - what's on the market

The tediously slow job that used to be drilling maize is being transformed by a new generation of machines that work with precision at much faster speeds. Peter Hill reports…

CEREAL DRILLS

Driver's view: John Hawkins' Simtech T-Sem drill

Simtech’s T-Sem no-till drill uses a disc and inverted T-shaped coulter to establish a crop without the need for any prior cultivation. We visit Dorset farmer John Hawkins to see…

CEREAL DRILLS

Driver’s view: David Bird's Primewest Cross Slot

Suffolk grower David Bird gives his verdict on the performance of the Primewest Cross Slot no-till drill. Find out how it works, its good points and what could be improved.…

CEREAL DRILLS

Driver's view: James Grandy's Amazone drill

Yorkshire farmer James Grandy runs through the good and bad points of his Amazone Cayena drill and how it has slotted into his establishment system. What drill are you using?…

PLOUGHS

Video: On test - Hubert's seven-furrow plough

Late last year, Suffolk firm Agri-Hire agreed a deal to take on Dowdeswell’s engineering operation with a commitment to restarting plough production on a national scale. Dowdeswell folded last summer,…

CEREAL DRILLS

Is French-made Novag disc drill king of cover crop drilling?

French farmers are established as some of Europe’s pioneers in the brave new world of cultivation-free drilling and pre-season cover crops, so it’s no surprise that the country is home…

PLOUGHS

Six-furrow plough round-up: Specs and prices

If you thought the UK plough market was limited to a handful of well-known brands, think again. We suss out six-furrow offerings from 11 makers. For an implement that took…

Cultivation and drilling insights and practical advice

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EVENTS

Latest high-speed disc cultivators set to work at Tillage-Live

Designed primarily for shallow cultivation of stubbles, the short disc cultivator, has become an increasingly popular farming tool – and so the makes, models, features and options available have multiplied. Underlining their appeal,…

CEREAL DRILLS

Retrofit openers offer drill customisation on a budget

An increasing number of farmers are swapping their manufacturer-supplied drill openers for retrofit replacements in a bid to reduce soil disturbance and improve seed establishment. Switching to aftermarket openers isn’t…

SOILS

Top tips to achieve more resilient and sustainable soils

One of the most common questions for farmers relating to “soil health” is how best to measure it and monitor progress once they have embarked on a mission to improve…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

Why no-till is profitable despite having a yield penalty

As machinery costs are the main driver of arable profit, no-till farms can afford to produce 1t/ha less wheat than their more conventional counterparts. Speaking at the Groundswell event in June, accountant…

CEREAL DRILLS

How to fit a fertiliser kit to a John Deere drill

John Deere’s 750A drill is recognised as being one of the longest-serving no-till seeders used in Europe today. Other smaller manufacturers from around the globe are working hard to grab…

ARABLE

Many UK growers missing out on the benefits of zero tillage

Only 3% of the UK arable area is farmed using Conservation Agriculture (zero tillage), much lower than other parts of the world. Anthony Pope argues why more farmers should consider…

CULTIVATION AND DRILLING

How to crack down on costly soil compaction

Improved on-farm understanding and use of tillage equipment combined with better use of tyre technology could be key to cutting costly soil compaction. Damaged soils are estimated to cost UK…

CEREAL DRILLS

Ultimate guide to buying a min-till drill 2021

Our latest Ultimate Guide focuses on direct, min-till and disc cultivator drills, with the listings providing a snapshot of every make, model and variation in terms of format, specification and retail…

CULTIVATORS

10 single-pass cultivator options for heavy land

Heavy cultivation might not be the trendiest of topics these days, but machines that can whip up a seed-bed in a single pass are still in high demand. Since it…

TECHNOLOGY

Aqua Till waterjets offer ingenious alternative to coulters

Just when you thought variable rate, variable depth, turn compensation and limitless fertiliser combinations had taken drilling technology to its limit, the rule book has been blasted open once again.…

CEREAL DRILLS

12 power-harrow combi drill options with 3m working width

Its ability to create a decent seed-bed in almost any soil conditions and cultivation regime has helped keep the venerable combination drill at the sharp end of manufacturers’ sales charts.…

CULTIVATORS

How, why and when to mole drain

Soggy fields, ruts deeper than your wellies and bubbling water from broken drains are all telltale signs your field drainage could do with a boost. It’s only in a wet…

Cultivation and drilling technology

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CULTIVATORS

Case-IH introduces AFS Soil Command for cultivator

An automatic control system designed to ensure consistent performance from multi-element cultivators has been introduced by Case-IH in North America to help improve seedbed quality. See also: Tips on selecting…

CULTIVATORS

Garford improves spec of super-accurate Robocrop guidance

Garford has launched the latest version of its super-accurate camera-based Robocrop guidance system. Now in its fourth generation, the kit comes with a compact touchscreen to speed up the process…

CULTIVATORS

Topcon launches Norac-designed tillage depth control

Norac is well known in spraying circles for its boom levelling technology and now parent company Topcon has used the same principals to dive underground and develop a tillage depth…

TECHNOLOGY

Aqua Till waterjets offer ingenious alternative to coulters

Just when you thought variable rate, variable depth, turn compensation and limitless fertiliser combinations had taken drilling technology to its limit, the rule book has been blasted open once again.…

Video

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MACHINERY

3 Cereals videos: Top tractors, cultivation kit and sprayers

Machinery makers from across the globe flocked to Boothby Graffoe, Lincolnshire this week (10-15 June) for the annual Cereals 2015 event. We captured a few highlights from the tractor manufacturers, cultivation…

PLOUGHS

Video: On test - Hubert's seven-furrow plough

Late last year, Suffolk firm Agri-Hire agreed a deal to take on Dowdeswell’s engineering operation with a commitment to restarting plough production on a national scale. Dowdeswell folded last summer,…

CULTIVATION AND DRILLING

Video: Grower builds cover crop broadcaster for £3,000

A farm-built broadcaster costing less than £3,000 has given James Hopkinson the opportunity introduce cover cropping as part of a "regenerative" approach to the arable enterprises he manages. The tractor-mounted…

MACHINERY

Video: Autumn drilling season captured from the skies

After the success of last year’s harvest drone video we have been out with the cameras again, capturing autumn work in all its glory, from above. Our drones have flown over…