Farmer Focus: Finally happy with direct drilling results


I like spring. One week I’m 400m up within the lovely, however very snowy, Yorkshire Dales donning additional jumpers, and the subsequent I’m digging out my shorts again in Kent and the whole lot is rising like loopy.

During my week away the later-drilled spring barley emerged on our heavier land. I’m a gradual learner, however I’ve lastly obtained a direct drilling consequence I’m happy with.

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About the creator

Andy Barr

Andy Barr farms 700ha in a household partnership in Kent. Combinable crops quantity to about 400ha and embody milling wheat and malting barley in an more and more assorted rotation. He additionally grazes 800 Romney ewes and 40 Sussex cattle and the farm makes use of conservation agriculture strategies.

Using a single slender tine, extensively spaced rows and seed positioned to a depth of 5-7cm, this can fight the (now inevitable) two months of dry climate instantly post-drilling.

I additionally love attempting new methods, however I’m afraid to say I’m slightly hesitant to strive nudging inputs decrease once more this 12 months, given this season’s ratio of grain value to nitrogen price.

Although subsequent 12 months could also be a special matter.

I might like to strive widening my supply of nitrogen because it appears there may be proof {that a} range of natural and inorganic sources can act synergistically, however I concern I’ll simply be restricted to no matter I can pay money for and I’m significantly involved about how a lot meals we’re going to produce.

Furthermore, my new Countryside Stewardship scheme settlement has simply come by.

We have a photo voltaic farm, a number of hundred acres of beforehand rented land has gone into bushes, and the native council must construct hundreds extra homes.

Mr Eustace assured us all just lately within the Saturday paper I learn that there received’t be an issue.

However, we had been additionally informed we had been going to have much less crimson tape, and I’ve simply needed to fill in one other kind to register that I’m a consumer of pesticides.

This is regardless of having just lately been inspected by Red Tractor, the Environment Agency, the RPA and the HSE, and making certain I’ve gained sufficient Basis factors and my sprayer operator has his NRoSO factors.


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