Success for direct drilling syndicate
SUFFOLK-based Framlingham Farmers says its first year of hiring direct drills to a syndicate of members was a complete success.
After a positive trial at Helmingham state in 1999, 18 members paid £17/ha sown (£7/acre) to hire one of two Krause 3m drills last autumn, says Framlingham Farmers Robert Jewers.
About 400ha (1000 acres) of oilseed rape, 280ha (700 acres) of cereals, 80ha (200 acres) of beans were established, comfortably exceeding the groups target.
Demand is expected to be similar this year, with the few drop outs being replaced by newcomers, says Mr Jewers.
In the Helmingham trial direct-drilled oilseed rape matched conventional establishment yields at 3.2t/ha (26 cwt/acre) and the 4.2t/ha (34cwt/acre) of winter beans achieved was marginally better than ploughed down plots.
"We were able to make an immediate saving of £65-£70/ha in our establishment costs [on oilseed rape]" says Helingham farm manager Glen Buckingham.
Mr Jewers says the Framlingham Farmers service is limited to members, but there is no reason why other growers should not club together to spread the cost of similar equipment. *