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

How Angus growers built cover crop broadcaster for just £4k

Cover crop establishment doesn’t get any lower disturbance than the few tramline cleat marks left by Malcolm Pattullo’s New Holland T7.210. Together with his father Ranald, they have developed a…

CEREAL DRILLS

Moore Unidrill gets split hopper for seed and fert placement

Buyers in the market for a Moore Unidrill now have the option of fitting a split hopper for applying seed and fertiliser at the same time. The MDH-1700 unit offers…

CULTIVATION AND DRILLING

Four-wheel FarmDroid allows for crop bed seeding and weeding

The ability to seed and weed crops grown in beds is a key driver for the development of a four-wheel version of the usually three-wheel FarmDroid autonomous tool carrier. It…

MACHINERY

Farmers share kit ideas for sowing SFI seed mixes cheaply

Getting the right kit for establishing SFI and Countryside Stewardship seed mixes needn’t cost a fortune. James Andrews takes a look at some nifty home-spun setups. See also: Low-input cropping plan…

CULTIVATION AND DRILLING

Cheshire contractor's five custom seed drills for SFI sowing

Variable seed sizes, different sowing depths and the need for cost-effective establishment make environmental mixes tricky to get right. But thanks to their five modified seed drills, each of which…

Cultivation and drilling reviews and tests

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CEREAL DRILLS

Direct drills revisited: 6m Sly/Horizon Boss

Swithin Waterer was one of the first UK growers to purchase a Sly (now Horizon) Boss angled disc drill and he’s still using it six years on. The 6m Australian-inspired…

CEREAL DRILLS

Driver's View: Weaving GD drill

Henry Muntz reveals how his Weaving GD no-till drill has performed across his farm of Warwickshire clay loam. What drill are you using? We’ve got a 4.8m trailed Weaving GD…

CEREAL DRILLS

Direct drills revisited: 5m Cross Slot delivering 7 years on

Spending £120,000 on a 5m Cross Slot drill has proved a worthwhile investment for Suffolk farmer David Bird. The aim of switching to the system from a Vaderstad Rapid seven…

CEREAL DRILLS

Direct drills revisited: Mzuri Pro-Til 3T out, Avatar in

The transition from multi-pass cultivations to a no-till system is all but complete at Gillshaw Farm, the final piece of the puzzle coming last summer with the switch from a…

CEREAL DRILLS

Direct drills revisited: 10m Dale Eco XL

This year marked a decade of Dale Drills at Whiting Ash Farms in Malvern, Worcestershire, and David Fellows sees no prospect of that changing in the future. His latest model,…

MACHINERY

Combination drill buyer's guide

Combination drills Host implements Buyer's Guide Min-till, strip-till and no-till may be all the rage but the once ubiquitous combination of power harrow and piggy-back seeder still retains a place…

CULTIVATION AND DRILLING

Driver's view: Jack Tooley's McConnel Seedaerator

McConnel’s Seedaerator is a single-pass strip-till dril that cultivates and seeds the crop in bands. Nottinghamshire farmer Jack Tooley talks us though the highs and lows of his machine. What…

CEREAL DRILLS

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…

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

Direct drills revisited: 9m custom-built John Deere 750A

After spending several years heavily modifying a 9m-wide, US-built John Deere 1890 drill for European conditions and UK roads, Leicestershire farmer Steve Heard put the implement – and the rest…

CEREAL DRILLS

Driver’s view: Ralph Castle’s Virkar Dynamic DC drill

We find out how Oxfordshire arable farmer Ralph Castle has been getting on after 18 months with a Virkar Dynamic drill, which is playing a central role in his effort…

CEREAL DRILLS

Direct drills revisited: Novag TForcePlus 440 improves soil

Since we visited Andrew Tucker last year, he has put another autumn and spring season’s worth of work through the farm’s 4m Novag TForcePlus 440 drill. It has performed well…

Cultivation and drilling insights and practical advice

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CULTIVATORS

Chain-linked disc harrows offer speedy stubble management

Chain-linked disc cultivators have yet to take off in the UK, but their simplicity, moderate power requirement and ability to incorporate stubbles at high speeds could change that. The versatility…

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…

ARABLE

Effect of cultivation method on crop yields

There are many ways to cultivate a field, ranging from deep ploughing to no-till farming, and choosing the right variety and cultivation technique combination is the key to getting the…

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…

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…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

How a new soil scoring tool picks the best cultivation option

A new crop establishment tool which assesses a range of soil management factors is set to help farmers identify whether a change in cultivation may benefit their soils. There is…

PLOUGHING AND CULTIVATION

Plough, min-till and no-till compared: year one

A major trial has been set up to find the most profitable and sustainable way to grow arable crops by comparing three different establishment systems over five years. Establishment systems…

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…

PEST MANAGEMENT

How harvest cultivations can help beat flea beetle in OSR

Shallow cultivations carried out shortly after the combine can help reduce adult flea beetle populations, but more research is needed to refine advice to growers. Speaking at a recent Limagrain…

CEREAL DRILLS

Spanish-made Virkar Dynamic adds to no-till drill options

The continued concerns over the future of key chemicals and the knock-on effect for those operating zero-tillage systems seem to have done little to stifle the direct drill market, with…

CEREAL DRILLS

Ultimate Guide to buying a direct tine drill 2023

In the Ultimate Guide listing for direct drills using tine coulters, Claydon has the most changes from the previous edition thanks to the changeover from the Hybrid to Evolution design.…

Cultivation and drilling technology

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PEST MANAGEMENT

How a grower uses cultivations and tech to kill slugs

Slugs have been a major headache for North Yorkshire grower Graham Potter since he switched from a plough-based crop establishment system to direct drilling. But with proactive implementation of integrated…

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…

ARABLE

Yorks farmer slashes fuel costs with variable-depth tillage

A more streamlined approach to "prescription cultivation" is promised with the introduction of a tractor-mounted scanner that enables variations in soil type and compaction depth to be identified on the…

TECHNOLOGY

Opico to sell FarmDroid drilling and weeding robot

Opico has branched into uncharted waters by taking on the distribution of Danish-made autonomous tool carriers. Carbon neutral and powered by sunshine alone, the so-called FarmDroid is the brainchild of…

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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…

CEREALS

Video: Machinery highlights from Cereals 2018

The Farmers Weekly machinery team headed to the southern site for the annual Cereals show, this year at Chrishall Grange in Cambridgeshire. Although several machinery manufacturers scaled back their stands,…

CULTIVATION AND DRILLING

Video: Horsch reveal drilling innovations and tillage tweaks

German implement maker Horsch is experiencing strong UK sales from its tillage and crop protection machines. However, with the uncertainty surrounding glyphosate regulation and Brexit, the company thinks that exploring…

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…