Norfolk – David & Andrew Cooper
Strip-till approach cultivates the right conditions for expansion
A switch to strip seeding has meant much more than just a change of drilling system for one Norfolk farm business. Arable Farming finds out more:
Worcestershire – Richard & Matthew Bray
Having reached a yield plateau using a traditional plough and power harrow-drill-based crop establishment system, Richard and Matthew Bray changed to Claydon strip seeding in 2013 – and they say that there is no going back.
“ . . . the cost savings have transformed the profitability of the business, our soils and soil biology have improved immeasurably, while the huge time savings have transformed the quality of our working and family lives at peak times.”
Berkshire – Jonathan Holland
Autumn 2019 was the wettest since national records began in 1910, yet during a period when many farms using conventional or min-till methods had an agonising wait for more favourable weather, Jonathan Holland strip seeded almost 1000 acres of crops on his own using a 7.5m Claydon Straw Harrow and 4.8m Claydon Hybrid mounted drill.
Ayrshire – Lord David Kennedy
On his Maybole estate, Lord David Kennedy used to plough the land most months of the year. After 10 years of using min-till, he moved to Claydon direct strip seeding in 2010. Since then, he has noticed big improvements in soil health and worms populations.
Gloucestershire – Eric Lewis
At an age when most farmers would have long given up an active role on their farm, Eric Lewis remains as keen as ever to do the job himself. And, according to Eric, it’s the Claydon System that makes this possible.
Berkshire – Jonathan Holland
Back in 2015, Jonathan Holland was carefully considering the future of his farming operation, even though yields were good and the business was profitable. Despite being in a good position, he felt that the economic and legislative pressures on the farming sector would only increase, reducing profitability.
County Durham – David Hankey
Using strip seeding solely to save money is the wrong approach, believes David Hankey. Instead, he says that caring for the soil must come first and everything else will follow. “The more you work with nature the better the results,” says David, who farms 300 acres at Dunkirk Farm, Chester-le-Street within sight of the famous Angel of the North statue which dominates the skyline beside the A1 at Gateshead.
Northamptonshire – Toby Saunders
Until 2009 Northamptonshire farmer Toby Saunders used traditional plough-based and min-till methods to establish combinable crops, but they were slow, expensive and inefficient. Since adopting the Claydon Opti-Till® System in 2009, Mr Saunders has never looked back − it has transformed the way he farms.
Yorkshire – Graham Potter
Plough-based establishment of combinable crops is unsustainable at current prices according to award-winning farmer Graham Potter, who has seen significant economic and agronomic benefits since changing to strip seeding.
Suffolk – Andrew West
Warren Hill Farms in Suffolk produces up to 14 crops, from herbs to maize. Despite the wide variation in seed sizes and sowing depths, all are established using just one drill whose accuracy in establishing crops is “exceptional”.
Essex – Donald Macaulay
Switching from conventional cultivations to direct strip seeding has brought multiple benefits for Essex farming business I J Macaulay & Sons. Fuel used to establish crops has been reduced by more than 50 per cent, tractor hours are a fraction of what they were, timeliness and soil condition have been significantly improved and headlands are now much more productive, increasing average yields.
Northumberland – James Fairbairn
Changing to the Claydon System of crop establishment on their arable farm in Northumberland enabled the Fairbairn family to replace the 335hp tractor, which was the mainstay of a min-till system, with a 215hp model. This has saved significant capital and operating costs. Despite the considerable reduction in horsepower, the timeliness of establishment and quality of crops has improved, while additional revenue is being generated by using their 4m Claydon Hybrid to drill 500 acres for other farms in the area.
Yorkshire – Phil Redfearn
Phil and Simon Redfearn are third-generation farmers whose family have lived at Park House Farm, Birkin near Knottingley for almost 100 years. Phil and Simon farm 170 hectares. Since making the switch to the Claydon System in 2012, they have made significant time and cost savings as well as seen progressive improvement in soil condition and levelling of fields as surface compaction is continually removed.
East Yorkshire – Mark Duckitt
Establishing crops on heavy clay soils demands a more flexible approach. Being able to farm his very heavy, difficult-to-manage land more efficiently and with more timeliness were the reasons behind Mark Duckitt’s decision to switch to the Claydon System of crop establishment in 2014. The change has brought numerous benefits, both financial and agronomic.
Dorset – Julian Lownds
The economic pressures of farming in an environment of low agricultural commodity prices were the driving force behind Dorset farmer and contractor Julian Lownds’ decision to change from min-till methods of crop establishment to strip tillage.
Suffolk – Hugh Edgeley
Adopting strip tillage has transformed crop establishment for award-winning family farming partnership R & H Edgeley in Suffolk, bringing a wide range of benefits.
Yorkshire – Graham Potter
“After visiting the Claydon farm in Suffolk in 2013,I bought a 4.8m Claydon Hybrid drill to fit in with our 24m system. It was simple, well made, cost very little to maintain and made a big difference to farm profitability through savings in establishment costs. I hadn’t expected higher yields, but they were a pleasant surprise.”
Hampshire – TerraStar Product Focus: Compton Manor Estates Hampshire
TerraStar: fast, shallow, simple, robust – yet good mixing whilst leaving level and firm ground
Buckinghamshire – Rick Davies
The need to replace machinery often provides a catalyst for change and that was exactly how the Davies family came to adopt the Claydon System, which has dramatically reduced costs, improved timeliness and benefited soil structure, while improving yields and profitability.
Bedfordshire – Jamie Osborne
Turvey Farms Ltd is a privately-owned 2000-acre estate in Bedfordshire. It hosts 10 days of private and syndicated pheasant shooting each season. Since using the Claydon System to establish game cover crops, quality has significantly improved and costs have decreased. The soil is in much better condition and the population of English partridge has also benefited as stubbles remain largely intact, providing dry ground, food and shelter.
Devon – Mark & Emma Sampson
Purchasing a Claydon Hybrid Direct Drill has enabled Mark and Emma Sampson to dramatically reduce the cost of establishing crops on their own farm in Devon and allowed them to add a much-in-demand service to their contracting business.