CASE STUDIES

Case studies

Yorkshire – Wayne Turnbull

“Our largest field is 50 hectares and had a legacy of light blackgrass from years of conventional cultivations. I have Claydon-drilled it in December for each of the last four years without any problems and the land has become so supportive that travelling on it has never been an issue, even late in the year. The blackgrass has almost completely disappeared.”

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East Yorkshire – Sam Middleton

“We had tried disc-type direct drills in the past, but crop establishment was not good enough to risk going down that route on a larger scale. It is not easy land to farm, so a much more robust method of direct drilling was needed.”

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Oxfordshire – Clattercote Priory

“Since we introduced the Claydon Opti-Till® System our soils have become much easier to work and drain much better.  Our soils have also become much more supportive, so they carry the weight of following machinery much better without becoming rutted, as was the case when we ploughed.  The top layer is improving, yields are stable, establishment costs are under control and worm counts have gone from just two or three in a spadeful of soil, to 30-40 worms.”

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Claydon - Mick Stanley

Lincolnshire – M & G Farms

“Since introducing the Claydon System our average yields have definitely increased.  Most of the winter wheats are milling varieties which average over 4t/a (9.88t/ha), and we have had up to 5t/a (12.35t/ha).  Oilseed rape has always averaged around 2 t/a (5t/ha) . . . the Claydon System has transformed the way that I farm and helped to ensure the financial sustainability of the operation.”

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West Sussex – J G Eales & Son

Time and cost savings and an improved soil structure have resulted from a move to direct drilling for a South Downs family farm. David Williams from Farmers Guide reports.

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Kent – Joe Strand

Reducing blackgrass was the primary reason why A. J. Strand & Sons moved away from a plough and min-till-based approach to crop establishment in favour of direct strip seeding.

“Disc-type direct drills will not work reliably here, so we wanted a method that would allow us to produce a stale seedbed, plant with little disturbance and provide consistently high yields.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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Hampshire – TerraStar Product Focus: Compton Manor Estates Hampshire

TerraStar: fast, shallow, simple, robust – yet good mixing whilst leaving level and firm ground

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hertfordshire – Madeleine Palmer

“The fact that the Claydon enables us to establish a crop in couple of passes – the first with a straw
harrow to distribute chaff evenly and disturb slugs – has cut our establishment time considerably, and we can cover 20ha/day in oilseed rape and 12ha/day in wheat, working between other farm/livery duties. With our other enterprises and our lack of staff, we simply wouldn’t have time to plough all our ground and then work it down and drill it.”

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Devon – James Lee

“With higher rainfall than the east, small field sizes, some areas with soils susceptible to erosion, and a lot of maize grown, I wanted to find a crop establishment system, that would best suit these types of South West farms, and cut establishment costs while maintaining yields.  I wanted to develop a contracting business focusing on direct drilling, as the work I’d done
at university suggested there was potential to reduce establishment costs on our soils with no detriment to yield. Having looked at various drill designs, the conclusion I reached was that the twin-tine principle of the Claydon, with the leading breaker tine working deeper than the following seeding tine to create a channel for drainage and root growth, would also help
address compaction, something that wasn’t possible with disc coulter-based drills. It would therefore have a wider working window than alternatives, as well as being a better tool to begin the conversion of uneven, compacted fields from conventional tillage to direct drilling.”

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