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Stackyard News May 06

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Opico designed for grassland success

High-output coupled with first-rate seed coverage producing a good grass mat is the key to the successful grassland service provided by Scottish farm contractor, D.W. Agriculture.
OPICO grass harrow and seeder

The company, based in Kirkpatrick-Fleming, Dumfries & Galloway, use an OPICO Air 16 pneumatic seeder mounted on a 6-metre grass harrow, This season, its second, the outfit has sown 700-1000 acres of grass.

Suitable for over-seeding or re-seeding pastures, the OPICO seeder is designed to fit directly on to an OPICO grass harrow and accurately meters and distributes the seed evenly across the width of the machine.  Meanwhile, the grass harrow opens up the soil and creates a tilth, then covers in the seed resulting in the ideal environment for seed germination.

The Air 16 seeder has 16 outlets for accurate distribution with a seed rate of 80kg per hectare when fitted to a 6m working width.

“The machine is right enough for us,” says Anthony Williamson, who runs DW Agriculture. “Better seed coverage is the main benefit for our customers. The seed is harrowed in after application in the old fashioned way. A lot of machines these days are too abrasive on the ground and leave the seed in rows. But the OPICO machine leaves it like a mat.”

The other key factor is that the field is prepared correctly beforehand, adds Anthony.  “We always Cambridge roll before we harrow in and we roll it again afterwards.  We do try and get the farmers to roll it themselves wherever possible, to avoid the cost of us having to transport the rolls.”

Such is their confidence in the system that they have used it exclusively since the company’s formation nine years ago. In fact, this is their third OPICO grass harrow and air seeder, with the first two Air 8 seeders eventually being upgraded to the larger Air 16 two years ago.

The machine’s capability has not gone unnoticed by other contractors either.
“We were the first contractors in the area to get an OPICO grass harrow and drill,” says Anthony.  “Since then three other contractors within a 10-mile radius have gone over to them as well.”

D.W. Agriculture has a workforce of four, although this can rise to 8/10 in the summer, if the demand is there. In addition to their grassland operation,
they also undertake ploughing, drilling, baling, combining and forage harvesting in an area that extends to Carlisle, Dumfries and Johnstonebridge.

The grassland business remains fairly constant, explains Anthony.  “In a bad year we won’t get as much re-seeding but in a good year like 2005 there’s quite a lot of re-seeding going on.

“With the 6-metre seeder we are getting more acreage per day, which is more beneficial for us. Sometimes we have to go away and do a two-acre paddock, yet we can quite confidently cover 100 acres per day. In fact we have done  136 acres”.

And as far as grass establishment is concerned, he agrees that the grass harrow and air seeder does a good job.  “I don’t think you’ll get anything to beat it, really.”

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