The Patented Claydon System has perhaps become the most sustainable direct drilling / strip till technique in Western Europe.
Strip Stillage can b used year on year attaining above average yields without the need for expensive and unnecessary pre-cultivations. Hundreds of units have been sold across the varied soil types of the UK and Europe including light soils, heavy soils and even stoney grounds all providing customers with very similar results.
The Claydon farm has not been ploughed for over 12 years thanks to the Claydon Strip Till Drill which has provided huge cost savings of tens of thousands per year. Earlier drilling; due to superior moisture conservation and typical average work rates of 4Ha (10 acres) per hour we establish our 480Ha (1,185 acres) in just 10 drilling days, giving us time to drill an additional 1,000Ha (2,471 acres) on contract with our farms 6m drill bring in additional income for the farm.
On our own farms yields are consistently around 10% higher than the previous plough based full cultivation system and this is true for most customers too. We believe this to be directly related better water retention and performance of well structured soil not to mention the growing environment our drill provides.
The Claydon system creates the ideal growing environment allowing every seed superb rooting, drainage, tilled soil, moisture, nutrients, light and air.
This growing environment has proven to increase yields when used in both cultivated and uncultivated soils. Our patented 2 tine design uses a leading tine which chisels a drainage channel up to 18cm (but typically run 7 to 15cm deep) depending upon the crop being seeded. The leading tine is held in a fixed relationship to, and followed directly inline by; the seeding tine which uses an additionally patent protected interchangeable seeding colture.
The seed is injected under the soil lifted by the seeding culture and placed shallowly in the ground above the drainage channel in a band of varying widths depending on the seed being sown and the seeding colture being used.
The seed has drainage and roots have the channel to grow into unhindered by compaction to quickly find moisture and nutrients in the unmoved soil between the seeded grow where complex rooting structures will further develop. You might be surprised to know lower seed rates are employed compared to those used with most traditional cultivation systems this is due to the seed going straight into moisture and an accurate shallow placement.
With ever increasing input costs including machinery, wearing parts and diesel; cutting out unnecessary machinery and cultivations could be the key to the future success of your business.
Most cultivations typically cost you approx £20,000 to £30,000 per 500 Ha so you can make huge cost savings by cutting passes from your programme.
Using the Claydon System works out to be around 1/3rd of the cost of the full cultivation and 1/2 of the minimum tillage systems. This includes straw harrowing a very fast low power operation which is extremely cheap to do.
When you consider the operational, invested and maintenance costs of most farms with large tracked tractors it is easy to see how you can cut your costs significantly by using one wheeled tractors of between 150 and 300 hp to pull a Claydon drill and one 100 hp plus wheeled tractor for the straw harrow.
The Claydon family have noted approximately 10% higher yields in most years compared to their previous full cultivation system; this has been backed up by numerous years of trial results. The 2011 Saaturn Union, HGCA, winter wheat, trial results using the drill direct into chopped straw and stubble showed a huge 20% uplift in yield compared to the full cultivation comparison. We believe this is due to better moisture retention.
When you consider the window of opportunity between August and October in which to cultivate and establish your crops and take into account the weather you are only left with around 5 to 10 weeks to complete the process, so timeliness is essential!
We sow our 480Ha (1,185 acres) farm in just 10 twelve hour drilling days with a 6m drill and if we were not contract drilling a further 1000 Ha in an autumn drilling season we could comfortably establish our whole farm with a small 3m Claydon drill and a small 150hp tractor. Considering that all other preparations including spraying and straw harrowing (optional), take a matter of days each, you begin to see how efficient this system really is.
Earlier drilling dates and the efficiency of the system gives a huge time window to establish your crops in the best conditions, using minimal tractors and machinery.
Soil organic matter and earthworms significantly increase soil fertility, water handling ability and provide structure to the soil. Evidence from worm counts has proven there to be around three times the number of earthworms on Claydon Drilled soils than on directly comparable ploughed and cultivated soils.
The average for our direct drilled land in the experiment was 52 worms per cubic foot.
Worms significantly increase the air exchange ratio and cultivate soils by burrowing through them, simultaneously removing compaction and improving drainage. Along with humus, bacteria, fungi, and microbes which are developed by decomposition of the crop residue, earthworms significantly increase soil fertility. Because the trash is left at the surface it oxidises fast and what is not cycled by the earthworms is left on the surface to provide a natural compost rich in nutrients.
The soil retains its structure and supports machinery as an untouched stubble field or meadow would significantly reducing compaction damage.
The sheer amount of fuel that could be saved if the majority of farmers used our drill would be staggering and would significantly reduce carbon emissions globally. Agriculture is responsible for around 20% of green house gases, here is you chance to benefit the environment whilst saving yourself a small fortune on diesel.
The improved structure and water holding capacity of the soil reduces the potential for soils to be washed away down the hill, into rivers and reservoirs carrying harmful chemicals, expensive fertilizers and YOUR SOIL!
The micro environment the trash provides is ideal cover for birds and other wildlife who feast and sometimes nest within it.
The band-sowing technique used for cereals and other small seed crops spreads the seed across a 180mm (7 ) wide band. The residue from the previous years crop is brushed into the 120mm (5 ) row between the lines of established crop.
As the seed is injected underneath the soil contamination problems are virtually eliminated as the seed does not come into contact with the previous years straw or stubble as it has not been mixed.
The leftover weed seeds, volunteers and crop residue remain at the surface in the harshest environment with plenty of sunlight and air to allow the oxidisation process to begin, if any chit they can be easily dealt with using chemicals.
The use of residual chemicals is just as, or even slightly more,effective with the Claydon system because all the weeds and seeds are at the surface.
Prior to drilling we also recommend using a scratch cultivation ideally using our straw harrow which will quickly aid the growth of unchitted weed seeds and decimate slug populations. Once sprayed with glyphosate this will provide the ideal conditions for drilling.
In the first couple of years slugs move closer to the surface when you move towards min-tilling or direct seeding from a plough based system. Scratch cultivations ideally using a Claydon straw harrowing, baling or a light cultivation has the benefit of leveling straw and reducing the number of large, damp, chaff covered areas that may contain slugs.
The Claydon Straw Harrow is designed to shake out weed and voulteer seeds getting them into moisture whilst ripping through slug nests decimating their populations.
Claydon Drills can also be fitted with slug pellet distributors so pellets can be spread whilst drilling for additional assurance. Structured soil suffers less from soil washing and reduces the release of chemicals and pesticides into rivers and water supplies. For the environmentally conscious, slug pellets which do not contain metaldehyde can be bought, these too have proven highly effective at controlling slugs. Good management, the use of effective pest control, raking and monitoring for slugs eliminates the problem from the system and its cost is far less than that of cultivation.
Claydon have been leading the field in direct drilling and strip tillage in the UK for over a decade now and their guide to direct seeding and DVD are designed to show you how you can make the huge cost and time savings the Claydon system provides without experiencing the many pit falls traditional direct drilling systems suffer.
We feel the guide to direct drilling and DVD give you a great taster of the what Claydon can offer you and your future in agriculture.