Scottish precision

18 July 1997

Scottish precision

THREE years of precision farming has convinced Scottish farmer Doug Niven of its benefits and he is now offering a service to neighbours.

Mr Niven, of Whitsome Hill, Berwickshire, is offering yield mapping at £5/ha (£2/acre) above the cost of combining.

"We will also offer a soil sampling service with our GPS bike at about £6.50/acre, so farmers can overlay a soil status map on to the yield map and have a full picture of their arable land.

"I am completely converted to precision farming. Dairy farmers look after their cows on an individual basis and that is what we are now able to do with our cropping," he says.

"Our yield mapping showed 100% variation in each field and while we might have been satisfied with an average of 10t/ha, there was something worrying about a variation between 7 and 14t.

"Set-aside was one of the driving factors. We wanted to be sure we were setting aside the poorer parts of fields. But the broad thrust is targeting inputs over the whole farm."

Mr Niven has noticed consistent yield reduction at headlands and tramlines because of compaction and has now started a regular pattern of sub-soiling those areas. &#42

Allan Wright

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