2014-10-01   facebook twitter rss

Independent Trials Highlight the Benefits of Strip Tillage

Independent trials conducted by leading seed breeder Saaten Union have again confirmed the benefits of establishing crops using the Claydon Strip Tillage System, producing significant yield improvements worth approximately £150 per hectare compared with conventional establishment techniques.

Conducted across two heavy-land sites (Hanslope Grade 2) in Suffolk and encompassing almost 50 varieties the trials highlighted a yield benefit of almost 1t/ha in favour of strip tillage, generating significant additional revenues in addition to considerable savings in time and establishment costs.

The Claydon System enables crops to be established quickly, under optimum conditions, producing higher yields and generating higher margins

The Claydon System enables crops to be established quickly, under optimum conditions, producing higher yields and generating higher margins

“Even though the 2013/2014 season was atypical, yields from the 2014 harvest confirmed what we have found every year since we began these trials eight years ago,” states Richard Jennaway of Saaten Union.
“The Claydon System allowed crops to be established at the correct time, under ideal conditions and throughout the growing season they looked as good as any second wheat crops I have ever seen.

“In a normal season we would expect to have drilled our second wheat trials by the second week of October. That was the case last autumn where we used the Claydon System, which went in on 1 October 2013. Then the weather closed in and it was 15th November before we drilled the conventionally-established plots which were ploughed, pressed, power harrowed and drilled using a disc-coulter unit.

“From then on the weather from then on was atypical, much milder and wetter than average. The results from the conventionally-established plots were therefore similar to what we might expect from drilling in October and the yield differential not as great as we might have been expected from such late sowing. The coefficient of variation was lower for the strip tillage system, 3.02 compared with 3.48 for conventional establishment.

“At harvest, that translated into an average yield of 12.79t/ha from the Claydon System, compared with 12.04t/ha from conventional establishment. The stand-out variety was KWS-Santiago, which achieved an average yield of 13.87t/ha, remarkable for second wheat. In a year when with little pressure from eyespot the cost of using either Redigo Deter or Latitude seed treatments was not justified.

“Farmers’ enthusiasm to drill winter wheat early is being tempered by the need to control blackgrass and this year’s early harvest provided an excellent opportunity to do so. Whereas a normal season might allow them to chit and spray off blackgrass once before drilling, this year some farms have been able to do so two or even three times, which is very unusual, but not something to rely on.

“Although we have recorded consistent benefits from using the Claydon System in terms of yields from second wheats, particularly in a dry autumn, it appears that farms which don’t have major weed and disease problems will see the greatest benefits from using it.”

The Claydon System makes it easy to establish crops directly into stubble, min-tilled or fully-cultivated soils, being approximately five times faster and one-third of the cost of a conventional plough-based system, with much greater certainty. On the Claydon family’s own 1000-acre heavy land farm in Suffolk, which has not been ploughed for 12 years, average yields have increased by approximately 10%, producing an extra 0.40t/acre, in addition to savings in establishment costs of approximately £40/acre, giving a combined benefit of over £80/acre.


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