2013-05-08 xml

Flexible Strip Tillage System Offers Great Potential

Most strip tillage in Western Europe has been based around the establishment of oil seed rape, but as the benefits of strip tillage continue to grab growers’ attention, many are looking at flexible solutions that will enable them to drill a wider range of crops.

“We have put a lot of development work across Europe into strip tillage in the past six years,” said Stephen Burcham, Horsch UK General Manager. “And where conditions are right, farmers are seeing some good yields.

Focus TD

Horsch Focus TD

“We have some excellent trial results from Horsch’s own farm and on our customers’ farms. It’s clear that the weather at seeding time and the placement of fertiliser is as important as choosing the right fertiliser. Depending on whether it’s dry or a moist affects where to place the fertiliser. If you take time, you will see yields increase.”

By cultivating only the seed rows, strip tillage promises increased work rate while reducing costs with deep soil loosening, precise fertiliser placement, seedbed preparation and sowing in one pass.

Horsch has developed its strip tillage machine, the Focus TD, along this principle with the removal of harvest residues from the root area and precise and deep fertiliser placement below the seed rows.

Focus Sequence

Focus Sequence

“Our experience shows that soil type has a lot to do with the success of the system and that fertilisation is key to increasing yields and reducing costs,” said Mr Burcham. “We want to create a nice friable seedbed in a short distance. In light to medium soils this is achieved easily but it is more difficult on heavier land.”

Customers who have the experience of strip tillage for OSR now want to use it for other crops, such as winter wheat. However, multiple drills for specific roles may be burden that some farmers do not wish to bear.

“We are continuing to research flexible solutions that enables the drill to do different jobs, but the key is still the ability to apply fertiliser,” said Mr Burcham. “The Focus system is the proven strip-till drill that we have had on test in the UK. We will have a new, more flexible version working in the UK this autumn, and this looks like it will give us the flexibility we want to get the best results.

“Our proven Sprinter drill with the Horsch Duett coulter is ideal for normal crops, either direct drilling or working after a plough. For oilseed rape, we are developing a new coulter to attach to the MultiGrip tine that can deep loosen. We can then use the grain hopper to apply the fertiliser and then have a small seed drill to apply the rapeseed. It can be blown on to the surface and consolidated by the tyre packer of the drill or use a small tine coulter with its own press wheel.”


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