A recent drills trial held on our farm was a great success. Thanks go to Farol for the Horsch Sprinter, borrowed from William Emmett and to Steve Berry for the Kockerling Ultima. Both drills ended up in the same field on the same day, which was great to compare them.
There was nothing much in the finish between them, although the Kockerling did leave fewer ridges. The Kockerling was by far the easiest to set up, with an easy-to-use control box. It seems to be a well-made drill, which should use less metal on our very abrasive soils. Horsch produce some great equipment and the Simba Horsch C06 we run has been excellent. However, we have decided to buy the Ultima as we feel it will suit us better than the Sprinter. The new drill should be delivered by July and I promise to review how it fares in the autumn.
T0 sprays have been completed and we are now considering T1s. For wheats, I like to add a low-rate strobilurin, which makes more sense on our light land due to possible early senescence. Proline (prothioconazole) is the triazole choice with the strobilurin taking care of rusts. Bravo (chlorothalonil) will help with septoria control.
The main dose of nitrogen will again be applied using SOYL’s variable rate spreading system, based on satellite imagery. Farm trials over the last three years have shown between 0.25 to 1 tonne increase over the farm standard. The first application of sulphur and nitrogen is applied as a blanket spread, then the first variable dose applies more fertiliser on poorer areas and less on better areas. The final application swaps around and increases the dose to the good parts of the field, which should yield more and, therefore, need more nitrogen.
Finally, I must say thanks to Imogen Parker from Natural England for guiding us through a successful HLS application, which is now up and running.