Grassland seeding passes reduced
Alan Jones on a field reseeded in just two passes thanks to the Sward Rejuvenator.
Last year, Carmarthenshire contractor Alan Jones was able to reseed worn grass leys in just two passes instead of six, thanks to investing in a HE-VA Sward Rejuvenator. This creates a good tilth for seed in existing swards, and rolls it in afterwards too. Based at Llanarthney, A&S Plant Ltd is run by Alan with his partner Sarah, and employs three fulltime employees. Land drainage, excavations and erecting steel frame buildings account for the majority of the business. However, the
remaining 30 per cent is taken up with grassland services for livestock farmers (50 per cent dairy units, 50 per cent beef and sheep units) and muck and slurry carting for dairy farmers. A groundwork contract for installation of a new gas pipeline from Swansea to Brecon has included ground re-instatement. Hence last year Alan had been looking at an additional option for sowing grass to alleviate the need for ploughing and power harrowing to prepare ground.
In early 2016, Alan attended a demonstration at the local agricultural college - Gelli Aur - of trailed and mounted HE-VA Sward Rejuvenators, fitted with Air 8 seeders. First launched in 2014, this machine is specifically designed for overseeding as well as seeding into cultivated land. It breaks up the ground and levels it with an aggressive Shattaboard and slicing plates, then creates a tilth for the seed with its two rows of heavy-duty harrow tines. Good seed-to-soil contact is then assured by a heavy 600mm diameter Prisma roller. The College is one of Alan’s farming customers. Here, a high water table means standing water is always a problem over the winter months, and overseeding is always needed in the spring to replace the dead grass. Encouraged by the college, and the reseeding opportunities from the pipeline contract, Alan made a purchase. He explains: “The 3-point linkage model seemed more
The next generation TopDown
compact and so would be easier in small corners. The trailed one was going to be heavier to pull, and we do have some steep slopes around here! “To reseed with our standard air seeder, we would need to spray off the land first, then plough, power harrow twice, sow the seed, and roll it in. That’s at least six passes. Sometimes we would also chain harrow before seeding, to create a better seedbed. “However, with the Sward Rejuvenator, we just spray off the field, and, providing there isn’t too much old material on top, then we can go in straight away with the Rejuvenator. So a new ley can be sown in two passes. For our farming customers, the £150/acre cost of a reseed comes down to £40/acre – not counting the seed cost.” “Farmers always want to save money. So this saving in cost has proved appealing. Without really promoting the machine, I used it across 450 acres last year, with a 50:50 split between overseeding and reseeding.” Ground preparation is key for continued over...
TopDown is now entering a new generation. Extensive updates, together with the new packer option double SteelRunner, means that the unmatched performance of this combination cultivator is further expanded. TopDown both slices and mixes large amounts of harvest residues into the cultivated soil profile, thereby increasing the rate of decomposition. The machine can work at shallow depth or down 40 cm, in either case creating a seedbed in a single pass, which saves time and fuel.
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Farmers Guide Magazine May 2017 Issue