A healthy soil is full of organic matter, worms, mycorrhizal fungi and another biota.
Claydon Opti-Till® System has been used on the Claydon farm for the past 18 years. Within a couple of years of using the two-tine direct strip till drill to establish crops, it was clear that the benefits were not limited to reduced establishment costs. Soil health vastly improved too.
The Benefits Of The Claydon System
The Claydon system significantly enhances soil health by leaving soil structure intact by not breaking it up with cultivations. Soils are able to support heavy machinery and earthworm populations flourish. Fields are better able to cope with extreme weather events: high rainfall is absorbed through the soil profile and crops can access moisture retained in the unturned soil during drought. Capillary action isn’t interrupted and water moves through the soil. Crop residue left on the surface attracts earthworms that process the straw, taking it into the soil where it is broken down, increasing organic matter content.
“Soil is any farmer’s greatest asset and the soil’s natural biology is there waiting to help, so you just need to create the right conditions to allow it to kick in,” says Jeff Claydon, farmer and CEO at Claydon.
Improvements To Drainage
The key is the Claydon drill’s leading tine, adjustable from 0mm to 150mm deep. It loosens soil only in the rooting and seeding zone. It lifts and aerates the soil, alleviating localised compaction, improving drainage, and providing space to allow strong rooting structures to develop. Strong roots help achieve better plant growth which utilise inputs more effectively and are more resistant to drought, while yields increase and ‘per-tonne’ production costs are much lower.
Dick Neale from Hutchinsons demonstrates how a good soil structure on the Claydon farm allows water to quickly drain down through the soil without surface ponding
Claydon also offers a range of low disturbance kit options that can be swapped into the standard drill set up. This provides a cost-effective way of establishing crops when weather and soil conditions make it possible for zero-tillage, without the need to purchase a second seed drill.
Amongst the many Claydon customers who have seen dramatic improvements in soil health is keen conservationist Lord David Kennedy. On his Morrison Farms in Ayrshire, replacing traditional methods of crop establishment with direct strip seeding has transformed the condition and productivity of soils, with a dramatic improvement in the resident worm population and significant environmental benefits.
Claydon’s Love Your Soil campaign focuses on how the health of your soil can be assessed and improved. Find out more by calling your local dealer, Claydon on 01440 820327 or visiting www.claydondrill.com