Claydon Drills will use CropTec 2019 to highlight the numerous benefits of its Opti-Till® System for profitable, sustainable crop establishment, including its latest products, the new 6m/20-tine and 8m/26-tine Claydon TerraBlade Heavy-Duty inter-row hoes.
Claydon Opti-Till® is a holistic approach to crop establishment. Proven in all soils, conditions and crops over the last 17 years, it greatly reduces establishment costs, enables higher yields, improves soil health and condition, whilst benefiting the environment in numerous ways, from carbon sequestration and dramatically lower fuel use to reduced soil erosion.
Its inventor, Suffolk arable farmer Jeff Claydon, will be at CropTec to explain the benefits. The Claydon family’s 400-hectare arable farm in the East of England is one of very few in the UK to achieve a five-star rating for the condition and health of its soils, so the company clearly knows about soils and how to get the best from them in the most eco-friendly, sustainable way.
“Soils are any farmer’s greatest asset, but many are unwittingly destroying the structure and productivity of their land through the incorrect use of conventional full cultivations and min-till techniques,” Jeff states. “These can over-work the soil, deplete its biota, greatly reduce worm populations and its ability both to drain water away in wet weather and retain moisture in dry weather. Starving the crop’s roots of essential air and nutrients also reduces yield potential and increases the cost-per-tonne of production, with greater risk of flooding and erosion.”
Whilst offering substantial benefits over conventional methods of crop establishment, Claydon Opti-Till® avoids the considerable pitfalls of other direct and strip seeding systems. As has clearly been seen during the wet autumn of 2019, the use of disc-type and low-disturbance direct drills can result in soils which drain poorly and flood easily, greatly increasing the risk of crop failure or having poor rooting structures and consequently low yield potential.
The Claydon Hybrid drill’s patented leading tines remove surface compaction as part of the drilling process, levelling the surface and ensuring that the seeding zone provides just the right conditions for the new crop to germinate quickly and grow away unhindered. In turn, this means less competition from volunteers and weeds, so inputs are used more efficiently and fully benefit the crop.
With the loss of neonicotinoid seed treatments and some products to control grassweeds there is a fear that the aphid vectors of Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV) will increase significantly. The risks can be reduced considerably by using the Claydon Straw Harrow and TerraStar Light Rotary Cultivator which form part of the Opti-Till® System to manage stubbles and eliminate the ‘green bridge’ effect using a combination of mechanical and chemical methods.
NEW HEAVY-DUTY TERRABLADE MODELS
Strong and increasing demand for its existing TerraBlade inter-row hoes from owners of both Claydon Hybrid drills and other makes led Claydon to develop two new Heavy-Duty models. The TerraBlade range now includes six models, four standard versions in widths of 3m, 4m, 4.8m and 6m and with 10, 14, 16 and 20 tines, plus the two new 6m/20-tine and 8m/26-tine Heavy-Duty units.
Designed to work effectively in even the heaviest soils, both Heavy-Duty TerraBlade models incorporate Claydon’s unique contour following tines which can be infinitely adjusted to suit any row width. This enables them to be used in any band sowing system, the pressure on the blades being adjustable to suit variations in soil types and conditions.
The pure, simple design of the TerraBlade Heavy Duty models deliberately avoids the mechanical complexity, high capital cost and ongoing operating expenses of some competitors. Carried on the tractor’s front linkage and steered manually, they incorporate a heavy-duty box section steel frame with a fixed centre section and two vertically folding wings. The thin, sharp blades work at up to 30mm deep, effectively eliminating weeds from that area reliably, safely and without chemicals, thereby greatly reducing the overall weed burden.
Requiring 80hp to operate it, the largest 8m TerraBlade has an optimum working speed of 6km/h and provides an average work output of four hectares per hour. Weighing 720kg, it has a maximum width of 8.15m, but folds to 2.78m wide and 3.73m high for transport.
The unit will give years of reliable service, has very low operating costs and offers great flexibility. On farms that drill early, crops may be sufficiently well developed in the autumn to start using it then and the operation can continue in the spring whenever soil conditions allow, up to the stage where the crop might be compromised by further passes.