Steeple Bumpstead/Bury St Edmunds: Agronomist Tim Martin cultivates a winning streak in ploughing contest
- Credit: Archant
Perfect ploughing from agronomist Tim Martin from Bury St Edmunds earned the winner’s cup at a recent ploughing match in Steeple Bumpstead, near Haverhill, organised by Dow AgroSciences and co-sponsored by the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC).
Tim, an AICC agronomist working for Apex Agronomy across Suffolk, South Norfolk and North Essex, scooped four tickets to a West Ham United versus Arsenal football match along with the winner’s trophy.
Matthew Paterson, an AICC agronomist from Hertfordshire came second and won a Classic Wings Day at the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
Around 30 people took part and discussed the need to using varying cultivation techniques to manage the coming cereal crop.
As part of their learning, participants were judged by Henry Castle on their combined score for ploughing cereal stubble using three different ploughs, including a Rabe 6 furrow, slatted mould-board plough, a Dowdswell 4+1 furrow plough and a single furrow Ferguson plough.
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All ploughs were pulled by Massey Ferguson tractors. A Massey Ferguson 7620 Vario was provided courtesy of local dealer Mark Weatherhead Ltd, a Massey Ferguson 8130 was provided by the host farm, and a vintage Massey Ferguson 35X was also involved in the event, courtesy of Henry Castle.
Dow AgroSciences herbicide expert Stuart Jackson spoke to participants about the importance of cultivation as part of a lifecycle approach to weed control in cereal crops.
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“This year was one of the worst ever for blackgrass infestations and farmers need to use every weapon in their armoury to regain some control in 2015, including effective cultivations,” he warned.
“Today demonstrated how plough technique can vary between machinery and operators. It’s vital that ploughing is done correctly to achieve a reduction in blackgrass. Going too fast, too shallow or failing to properly invert the soil and bury all the trash will risk achieving a result more akin to min-till.
“Ploughing properly can be a slow and expensive business but the results appear to pay off.”
Herbicide choice remains key once all non-chemical methods have been employed, he said.
Toni McEwan, UK cereals market manager for Dow AgroSciences, said: “Many congratulations to the winners and thank you to all who took part and loaned equipment. It was a great day with some fantastic ploughing on display.”