Hall Farming Ltd reap the results of going for all the whistles and bells
It was a need to cut down the amount of fertiliser wastage on the headland ins and outs that led Hall Farming Ltd, based at Thornton-le-Dale, North Yorkshire, to start looking at a new spreader. The farm, which is on the edge of the North Yorkshire National Park and is half in and half out of a NVZ, covers around 1,600 acres of arable spread over about a 3 mile radius as well as breeding and finishing pigs through to market.
With a rotation of W. Wheat, Oil Seed Rape, W. Barley, S. Barley and Oats, pig slurry is applied through an umbilical system and dribble bar to stubbles both in the autumn ahead of OSR and in the spring in front of the S. Barley. With a need for the straw, the whole farm is baled, including the rape straw, and so this nutrient re-moval is taken in account when it comes to any loss of P & K. ‘By removing all the straw, the degree of soil fertility provided by the slurry and the risk of lodging created by it, we obviously need to take all this into ac-count and so we have worked closely with SOYL over the last 5 years or so to produce applications maps for both P & K, and satellite imagery for variable N, to save on fertiliser inputs as well as keeping those crops standing’, explains David Hall. For instance, with OSR, which having very little N requirement apart from the slurry, it takes just one application of granular NS 26N 37S in the spring to top up the crop to maximum yield potential. The farm uses a mixture of straight Prilled AN plus the granular NS and, although variable rate technology is being utilised, Hall Farming has not seen a huge reduction in nitrogen usage, just seeing it better applied where it is needed.
This year sees the introduction of a CropSense system from Topcon thus being able to apply N in real time rather than using the Shape files created by the leaf area index maps. The system will also be used in the autumn for monitoring seedbed quality and adjusting the seed rate to suit the drilling conditions.
However, with field sizes that go from 5 acres through to 110 acres, then it not difficult to see why the new spreader would need SectionControl to make sure that the amount of overlap on those ins and outs was kept to a minimum. Equipped in the cab with an X35 via a Starfire receiver, then multiple sections, up to 128 part-widths in this case, were possible.
Talking to local AMAZONE dealer, Wilfred Scruton Ltd, about changing to a new AMAZONE ZA-TS Profis Hydro 4200 litre mounted spreader, the conversation strayed from not just looking at SectionControl but why not look at spread pattern monitoring and hill compensation control using the ArgusTwin system and also, while we are at it, why not consider buying into the new WindControl technology? ‘WindControl has certainly meant that we have gone spreading on days when we would have thought it was too windy’, comments David ‘You see the disc speed rise to 900 rpm or more on one side of the machine and then this is mirrored on the way back as the wind influence is taken in account’, enthuses Paul Barnes who co-drives the machine. ‘The crops are certainly looking more even on the headlands now since the SectionControl and you notice the drop point and disc speed also changing when we are working on our hillsides’.
And the overall impression of the machine so far? ‘Well apart from the benefits that the technology has brought us, it is the little things that make the difference and we think that the roll-over hopper cover is marvellous and the mudguards and mudflaps have kept the spreader clean and dry, especially on the road running back and forth to fill up’, David goes on to say. ‘We get comfortably 6 x 600 kgs bags in at a refill which is ideal as we run back to one of three holdings to fill up; the John Deere 6125 handles it well. The other plus point is the weighing system which has kept the accuracy of calibration spot on and being able to border spread on either side has meant that we can keep in tune with the sprayer and use the same wheelings. We also have precise control over where the fertiliser lands against the hedge maximising yields around the headland’.