Machinery & Technology
Our modern machinery fleet utilises state-of-the-art technology. This brings two great advantages: we can operate sympathetically with the environment reducing our carbon footprint and maintain maximum efficiency.
In its simplest form the core operations that happen on a modern arable farm are:
Controlled Traffic Farming C.T.F
Over the entire farm we operate a 10m controlled Traffic Farming system (C.T.F). This means we are only ever driving on the same wheeling’s within a field every year. This results in reduced compaction, therefore removing the need for cultivations to relieve said compaction resulting in less Carbon being released
into the atmosphere and diesel being burnt so enhancing the health of our environment.
To enable this to happen, all of our tractors and the combine harvester use GPS and auto-steer technology to guarantee we are running to a 2cm accuracy year after year.
Collection Of Data
Where possible we constantly try to collect and combine data to enable us to operate as effectively as possible. Currently our most important data comes from:
Combine yield maps
As the combine harvests, it uses GPS technology and flow meters to record the tonnages in exact parts of the field.
All our fields have been scanned using an electrical conductivity scanner. As a result we know our soil make up, within individual zones within a field. We know both the physical and chemical makeup of each zone within a field. This includes the amount of Organic matter that is a very useful way of assessing a soils health, the more O.M then the more carbon we are holding from the atmosphere. So we can monitor this level to see how successful we are at improving the environment around us.
The collected data has a practical application. By combining all of our data we are able to vary our drilling and spray applications. This results in highly targeted operations and not just a broad brush approach.
Tractors do not just provide the power to pull machinery, they are in effect, mini offices that are full of computers, with some tractors having three screens. In total the farm department has a fleet of five tractors. These tractors get replaced on a regular basis.
Cultivations/Drilling Horse Power: 510
This is our main powerhouse tractor. The tractor weighs around 16.5t. It has tracks on the rear to help spread the weight to reduce compaction and also improve traction resulting in a smaller overall tractor. This tractor is 450Hp which has replaced our 520Hp Xerion yet still doing the same job but with a reduced fuel usage so therefore reducing our carbon footprint
New Holland T7.315
Cultivations/Harvest Horse Power: 315
This tractor is an all-rounder and is used mainly for secondary cultivations if needed and grain carting.
New Holland T7.180
Cultivations/Harvest Horse Power: 180
Similar to the New Holland mentioned above, this is an all-round tractor. However, it also has the benefit that it has tyres that can be run at a very low pressures, which enable us to travel very lightly over the land once it has been drilled to avoid damage. It also a detachable front-end loader, which helps with loading and unloading.
Sprayer/Cultivation relief /Grain carting Horse Power: 240
The Fendt’s main purpose is to operate the sprayer. With its Vario transmission and ISOBus compatible joystick, the Fendt operates much the same as a self-propelled hydrostatic sprayer would, offering very high levels of operator comfort and excellent fuel efficiency.
JCB Telescopic loader
Loading/ unloading Horse Power: 150
Not strictly speaking a tractor! The loader is used all year around and it’s jobs vary greatly, from moving seed and fertiliser to handling grain.
Cultivations prepare the soil bed so that we can drill.Please see our soil health page to understand how our cultivations work to improve our soil quality. Where possible we are trying to move away from intensive cultivation and instead work with nature. The most powerful and effective cultivators are earthworms!
The Terrano is our primary cultivator. It is a very flexible machine and it can work at a range of depths from 2” down to 10”. This means it can either be set to move a lot or little amount of soil.
Now that the soil bed has been prepared, we can place the seeds in the soil. We call this drilling.
Horsch Sprinter 10sw
This one implement drills all of our combinable crops on the farm. We are able to drill into stubble or moved soil. This allows a large amount of flexibility in our system. The aim is to move more towards a direct drill system, so straight into the stubbles or cover crops without disturbing the soil. We are able to vary the seed rate delivered by using a pre-determined map which is populated by assessing soil type and previous yield data. The GPS then provides a position so the drill recognises where it is on the map and applies the prescribed rate. At the same time as seed the drill can also place variable amounts of fertiliser. The drill is equipped with low disturbance changeable coulters, which minimises soil disturbance and in turn cuts down on the amount of weeds that germinate.
It has to be stressed that where possible we use natural means and spraying is a last resort. Spays are used to help control, weeds, insects, diseases and apply fertilizers. We operate just the one sprayer.
Horsch Trailed LT5000
This is where the perfect marriage between tractor and sprayer comes into its own. We have the ability to provide very accurate applications. This includes GPS nozzle shut-off, which minimises overlaps and stops the sprayer from being able to apply chemicals outside the target zone.
The booms operates using sensors along its length to keep the boom at the desired height of 50cm from the target, to allow even coverage. It can even automatically change between nozzles to allow a constant pressure to be maintained as the machine speeds up or slows down. This helps mitigate drift.
The combine is the machine that harvests the crop. We operate just the one combine.
New Holland CR9.90
30m wide Horse power:563hp
The combine cuts all of our OSR; Wheat; Oats and Beans totalling around 970Ha (2397ac) a year. This machine will typically cut 50ha (123ac) a day. The front tyres have been replaced by tracks to help spread the weight over a larger area so saving on compaction and aid the stability of the cutter bar.
The cutter bar is slightly wider than 10m to allow us to stay on our 10m tramlines but pick all the crop up as it can lean over when on long stems. Using GPS positioning, the onboard computer knows where the headset has already run, so will cut its recorded cutting width by the cm, so no overlap is recorded, therefore giving a very accurate yield picture back.