Is the Claydon direct seeding system able to work on farms where compaction is an issue?
Yes. In fact, one of the key attributes of the Claydon system is that it will dramatically reduce soil compaction. Plough and min-till cultivation systems create ‘fluffy seedbeds’ which compact and form like concrete when traffic passes over or subsoiler tines pass through the ground.
With the Claydon system, the solid shoulders of soil between the seeding rows hold traffic all year round, so spraying, baling and muck spreading isn’t an issue. The earthworm population will double in the first year of direct seeding if you’re coming from a plough based system and they will do all the hard work of breaking and lifting the soil for you. The front tine on the drill can go as deep as 7 inches and will pull up any compaction and create a drainage channel for the perfect growing environment.
We have to plough because of blackgrass. How do you manage weeds?
The Claydon philosophy regarding weed management is to keep weed seeds where we can control them; on the top of the soil. Ploughing doesn’t eradicate weed seeds because it takes several years for them to perish in soil. Ploughing simply turns weed seeds into the soil and causes the topsoil to be infested with seeds at different levels which then germinate at different times throughout the growing season.
The Claydon Straw Harrow was brought to the market 3 years ago to help create a stale seedbed. The Straw Harrow will pass across the field at high speeds (25kph) and create a micro-tilth in the top 2cm of soil. Because the Straw Harrow only operates at a shallow depth it doesn’t release moisture from the ground so enables a fast germination of weeds. The straw harrow can be used several times in one season and is incredibly cost effective with wearing parts only costing £0.14 per acre.
Will the Claydon Drill work on our soils and in our climate?
Yes. We now have several hundred drills creating excellent yields and cost savings on every soil type and in every micro climate the UK and Europe can throw at us. We will happily put you in touch with existing customers who are realising excellent results in similar conditions to you.
We’re mixed farmers and therefore like to spread manure and grow maize silage, could the drill work for us?
Yes, spreading farmyard manure works really well as long as it’s applied in sensible weather conditions. Its fine to leave the manure on the top of the soil, the Claydon Hybrid Drill has excellent clearance so will pass through with no blockages. The best place to put manure is on the top soil where microbe levels are highest so the manure decomposes quickly, releasing organic N and P in the root zone.
If you do chose to incorporate the manure, the Claydon Straw Harrow will do this at shallow depths or alternatively the drill will happily pass over cultivated land.
The Claydon Drill will establish strong cereal crops directly into maize stubble providing the crop was harvested in sensible conditions and the field was left level. If deep wheels marks were left you will need to pass over the soil with a light cultivator or press. You will also want to keep a close eye on mycotoxin levels in the soil and adopt a robust fungicide programme following maize. The Claydon Drill will establish good quality crops of maize for silage or cover crops, however most of our customers choose to use a dedicated maize drill for establishing maize silage.
Will we experience reduced yields?
Absolutely not. Providing your soils are already in a sensible condition you should experience comparable or improved yields in year one. The myths about reduced yields in the early years with direct drilling only apply to disc dills which create compressed slots and rely on a build up of organic matter to produce strong yields. The Claydon Drill uses a patented two tine technique which breaks compaction, creates drainage and encourages very deep and complex rooting structures.
By eliminating primary cultivations, the Claydon system enables farmers to hit optimum drilling dates and therefore plant the seed into a warm, moist seedbed which delivers quick germination, tillering and vigour.
The Claydon farm usually averages over 10 tonne per hectare for 1st and 2nd wheats and 4-5 tonne per hectare for oilseed rape. In recent trials carried out by Saaten Union, the Claydon Drill produced a 26% increase in wheat yields against plough based cultivations across 17 different varieties.