It’s 24 September and Jeff is checking progress on his oilseed rape crop – variety DK Excited. It was drilled on 16 August with the Claydon Hybrid direct drill, straight into stubble at a rate of 50 seeds per square meter or 2.7 kg. This was a low seed rate as DK Excited is a hybrid.
The crop was drilled early and has established well, taking full advantage of the moisture conserved in the uncultivated ground, important in these early growth stages in the dry days we have experienced on farm recently. The key to establishing a good oilseed rape crop is getting it in the ground early, which you can do with Claydon Opti-Till as time is saved by not carrying out unnecessary cultivations. This time saving also gives farmers more flexibility in choosing the best conditions in which to begin drilling- increasingly important when weather extremes are no longer the exception and becoming the norm.
Digging down, Jeff takes a look at root development. The Claydon Hybrid drill is well suited to oilseed rape establishment as the leading tine loosens the soil in the rooting zone to create an aerated, friable tilth which is perfect for long oilseed rape tap roots.
Earthworms have been active in the soil, as can be seen by the channels created by anecic worms, who are heading downwards into the soil in the dry conditions. These channels aid water infiltration into the soil which helps drain fields during periods of high rainfall. The Claydon drill allows worm populations to thrive as it leaves the banks of soil between the seeded rows intact. Earthworms help break down previous crop residue left on top of the soil by the Claydon direct drill. This releases nutrients back into the soil for use by the growing crop. The worms also mix in organic matter throughout the soil profile, increasing the fertility of the soil.