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The Sward Rejuvenator in action.

of vegetation at the base of the sward. Before using the Rejuvenator, this needs to be taken out – either by simply tine harrowing or using a power harrow - to ensure the seed has contact with the soil to germinate.”

Fertiliser

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success however, warns Alan. “I will assess each field individually, and make a decision on the approach to take. If there are, say, big clumps of nettles and rushes, then we will need to plough these in. Because

after spraying, we don’t want to be dragging them around the field. Then we will need to power harrow, and so it will be end up taking sixpasses to sow the grass seed. “In some old grass leys there is full ground cover with a thick mat

Overseeding into existing grassland is popular as leys can be topped up without having to be taken out of production. But again, attention to ground condition is needed to ensure success. Alan advises: “Existing grassland needs to be grazed down as hard as possible by sheep, before being oversown. Then fertiliser should only be applied once the seedlings can be seen coming through, otherwise the existing grass will outcompete the new grass.

“The Rejuvenator has also been used successfully to overseed silage leys, straight after a cut, adding extra vigour to the ley. And where dairy farmers have had problems with dock infestations – these have been sprayed off and once the field is clean, then the Air 8 Seeder has proven very accurate for sowing clover seed. “But it does take time for the benefits of overseeding to come through. Farmers do need to take a long term view.” Alan reckons to ‘comfortably’ seed 25 acres in a day with the 3m Sward Rejuvenator, but will be visiting the Opico stand at the Grassland & Muck event to have a look at the new 6.3m version which is launching there. This will increase the speed of coverage in his reseeding and overseeding operations, and bring them in line with the rest of his 6m cultivations kit. ■

Tree shear grabs attention Following a successful two days demonstrating the TMK tree shear on a friend’s land in Hertfordshire, importer NCD Equipment is on the lookout for new sites for future events. The March demonstration was held on a large area of spruce trees that needed clearing. Unlike larger shows where there’s a cap on the number of trees that can be taken down, and therefore limited opportunity to watch the shears in full flow, there was plenty of woodland available. Nick Dinsdale of NCD Equipment began importing the TMK tree shear in 2014 and before long became the official dealer. He says: “Some of our new customers were there for hours watching the machines work. Others travelled from Wales, were there for 8am and went off with a deal by 9am! “And it was good to see existing

customers swing by to say ‘hi’ and look at some of the new attachments we have.” “Part of what I enjoy is meeting farmers up and down the country, fitting the shear to their diggers and watching their surprise at how quickly and safely it gets through the work. “Running our own demo turned out to be just as much fun because it was a chance to have groups of people together to watch and have a good chat, but without the swirling crowds there are at some of the bigger shows.” Working on 5–16t dual-acting hydraulic machines, the shear clears hardwood and softwood vegetation safely and cheaply. It can cut 250mm hardwood or 300mm softwood and retains a grip on what it cuts, allowing it to be securely placed on the ground. The shear has a bolt-on, bolt-off

A scene from the recent open days.

bracket, making it easy to change when working on different-sized machines. It’s very strong and needs little maintenance, being made of Hardox steel. Its simple, robust design and operation has spawned its fast uptake and good reputation in the UK.

TMK offers retrofittable add-ons such as a delimber and the popular collector that cuts and collects several trees before placing them down. The newest addition is the telescopic extension beam which helps the shear reach even further and tackle even tougher jobs.

Be the pride of the region Entries are now open for the 2017 East of England Agricultural Society’s farm and rural business awards. Cash prizes and trophies are awarded in the free-to-enter competition, which is sponsored by Camgrain and Openfield. Judges will be visiting farm businesses based within a 50-mile radius of Peterborough during the week commencing 19th June. Classes are determined by farm size and, for the first time, there’ll

be a distinction between those that are predominantly arable and those grazing livestock. In addition to the two main classes, there is to be a class within the arable and livestock sections for countryside management, a prize for the best under-35-yearold farmer and the best first-time entry. Society agriculture development manager William Haire says: “It’s exciting to see this competition continue its success.

“The resilience of farmers to some of the challenges we face in the East of England suggests a positive future for our industry. “The judges aren’t looking for the tidiest or prettiest farm, but the way farmers are managing their particular challenges and capitalising on the opportunities they present.” To download an entry form visit www.eastofengland.org.uk/farmbusiness-awards/schedules. Entries close on 2nd June. ■

Andrew Crossley (left), manager of last year’s supreme champion farm, receives his award from East of England Agricultural Society president David Reynolds.

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