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Cereal hoe helps in organic system Father-and-son organic farmers from Devon have taken delivery of the first 6m, 24-row Einbock Chopstar cereal hoe in the UK, complete with Row Guard 500 automatic guiding system. Robert Herrod and his son James run the 184ha (460 acre) farm in the Taunton area, as well as tending to an 80,000-strong broiler flock. While the decision to remove chemical inputs from the soil reduced costs, it also raised concerns about weed control. This led to the Herrods removing wheat from the rotation in favour of hardier oat crops. They found the Einbock Chopstar online and contacted David Coleman at UK importer Terrington Machinery, who talked them through the machine. James says: “It was the build quality that really impressed us. We could see the strength of the frame, and that each hoe is mounted on its own wheel for contour following.” The machine was purchased through local dealer Halse of Honiton at the end of March, and was put straight to work in 48ha (120 acres) of winter oats. “It was exceptionally easy to set up. Each hoe can be taken out of work by simply unclipping the spring and

James (left) and Robert Herrod and, inset, the Row Guard 500 automatic guiding system.

lifting the unit, and the working depth is controlled by a handle on each row,” says James. The Row Guard 500 automatic guiding system is also a UK first. It consists of a camera, mounted above three of the rows, which uses two lenses to differentiate between the crop and the soil. Based on its position in comparison to the parameters manually inputted into the in-cab

terminal, it can hydraulically offset the machine by up to 50cm to adjust for drill drift. “It’s incredibly accurate,” says James. “I’ve stopped once or twice to check the machine is working correctly, because I haven’t been able to see the rows myself. But every time I’ve found clean, lightly-cultivated soil. “The cereal hoe is far better than I ever expected!” ■

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August 2016  

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Farmers Guide Magazine August 2016 Issue