It’s that time of year when weeds start to pop out above the crop as they show their seeding heads, writes Tony Gent.
The last few years have become increasing difficult for the control of grass weeds such as blackgrass. I think most farmers have taken more care with rotation, timing of sowing and applying residual chemicals and as a result this year looks much better.
Also this week as I write it’s the annual pilgrimage to the nation’s premier arable machinery event, Cereals, this year at Boothby Graffoe, near Lincoln. The show will be of particular interest to me as it sees the launch of a new type of disc coulter for sowing seed into no-till soil that we have developed. The new coulter to be known as the GD (Gent Disc) is to be manufactured and marketed by Weaving Machinery in Evesham, Worcestershire.
No-till is becoming increasingly popular in the UK as costs rise and commodity prices are struggling to cover production costs. The most difficult part of no-till is planting seed in the ground without the luxury of a prepared seedbed.
The GD angled disc works differently because the eased wedge of soil has a torn effect at the bottom and the seed flows onto a natural broken soil profile that also allows some distribution sideways allowing a slight banding effect. Depth control and soil to seed contact is better because the angle ensures that the soil that’s loosened remains above the seed, which then only has to be firmed by the following wheel, also disturbance of the soil is minimal as it is not moved sideways to create the opening for the seed.