21 February 2020

For the maize stubble... the plough

The use of the plough is beneficial although nowadays many farms have very consolidated direct sowing and in addition many times it is the only way to be able to get to the right place at the right time. However, in some cases the ploughing of stubble is very necessary, especially in irrigated fields that have been sown with maize or sunflower. This is due to the fact that the soil becomes very hard with irrigation and the tracks of tractors, combines, pivots, etc. are very marked. We have been talking to our friend Fernando Martín (from Medina de Rioseco - Valladolid), who was ploughing the stubble of maize with his Pöttinger Servo 35 S plough and his John Deere 6190 R.

The plough is five-furrow with a distance between furrows of 1.10 m. It is a very long distance that certainly helps to have good relief, but the plough is much heavier when it is suspended. In fact, he had trouble lifting it until they adjusted the chassis of the third point of the plough to a higher position. The mouldboards are slatted mouldboards, so it relieves weight and also works very well on wet fields as it loosens the soil better and generates less traction. As for the non-stop system, it is a hydropneumatic system that can be configured from the tractor to vary the pressure and therefore the triggering aggressiveness (it normally works at around 100 bar). If you have fields without stones, a plough with fuse safety system is recommended, but if you have stones or work on very hard soil, the hydro-pneumatic system is highly recommended as it works much better than the leaf spring and is much more comfortable to adapt to soil conditions. One of the main advantages of fuse ploughs is that the first furrow is closer to the tractor, so it works much better and also that type of plough is lighter. One of the main advantages of ploughs with fuse safety system is that the first furrow is closer to the tractor, so it works much better and also that type of plough is lighter.

The plough has a memory system that allows, every time you change the headland the closing, turning and opening movements in a robotic way. The opening is done at the distance you have programmed. Normally, you would plough at a distance of 40 cm, which would mean a working width of 2 metres. You can fix it at a maximum of 2.5 meters working width but you need more power and if it is much closed you can have problems with disposal if you have a lot of waste, obviously. As it is five-furrow plough, the tractor is in a furrow, but with the mouldboards uses they make a quite big furrow and the tires don't suffer in spite of being wide tires. We think, the ideal today are the off-furrow ploughs to take advantage of, for example, the self-guiding systems but they are more recommended for ploughs of at least six-furrow.

As for the skimmers, they are not necessary because the plough flip a lot. In addition, when working with skimmers, the surface part of the soil is buried first and therefore remains largely buried. That's all very well when you want to remove of waste, grain that has been thrown away by the combine or weeds, but when you throw away manure, for example, it gets very clogged up and sometimes it's not your goal. For this last reason, Fernando has chosen to remove the skimmers.

Another feature to highlight is the depth control wheel. In this case it is a double wheel that is much better than the pendulum wheels. The double wheel doesn't suffer in the turning movements like the single pendulum wheel and it can also be put on the penultimate body and therefore doesn't hinder you to plough near a border or any obstacle you have in the field. If the wheel goes next to the last body, you have to leave distance to the obstacle and the whole plot is not used.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the following characteristics of the disc coulters. As you can see in the photos, it is equipped with two scalloped disc coulters that are fixed in front of the last furrow. This helps the last furrow has a correct working depth and therefore that the whole plough works equally. A clean disc coulter cut guarantees precise turning of the ridge and a clean furrow.

Versión en español.

06 February 2020

Dryland super-intensive olive grove

As we have already mentioned in several articles, we are expanding the olive grove on our farm. The last three years we have dedicated part of our agricultural activity to planting several olive fields with a 7x7 planting frame, as they are non-irrigated field, and Picual variety. Many of the farmers and followers in social networks have encouraged us to bet on the dryland super-intensive olive grove, so we went to ask one of the best companies specialized in this type of high-density crops, the CBH Company (they are from Córdoba).

The main characteristics when it comes to choosing a dryland super-intensive olive grove could be the following:
  • Geographically limited to areas with an average rainfall of more than 400 mm/year.
  • The planting season is in autumn.
  • Planting densities: from 2,000 to 3,500 plants/Ha.
  • The distance between the olive plants should be 1 to 1.5 metres.
  • Distance between rows from 3 to 3.5 meters.
  • Narrow trees (75-80 cm) and not very tall (2.5 meters), with total light capillarity and high productive efficiency.
  • Small trees are easy to handle and the total mechanization of phytosanitary product applications, pruning and harvesting must also be taken into account.
  • High number of rows per hectare.
  • High productive potential (greater number of lines or square meters of productive rows per hectare).
  • Lower water and nutrient requirements (reduced vigorous trees), and lower susceptibility to pests and diseases (increased aeration and solarization).
  • Suitable for both conventional and organic farming.
  • Production around 7,000 kg/ha.
  • The most recommended varieties are Arbequina, Arbosana and Lecciana as they are varieties with lower vigour and high productivity.
  • Maintenance costs are significantly lower than on irrigated farms.

Once the previous points have been evaluated, we have to take into account that this type of plantation comes into production earlier than with the traditional methd  and therefore the return on investment starts earlier (in the third or fourth year we start to have quite considerable production). 

The investment per hectare is around €4,000-€6,000 depending on the number of plants, variety, shape of the fields... this is undoubtedly a significant amount of money to be taken into account, although the initial investment and the cost of maintenance, in principle, are quite good due to the accelerated production that these plantations have and the great potential for productivity that it generates.

Versión en español.

28 January 2020

Sales of new agricultural machinery during 2019, in Spain

As it is usual every year, we show the data of the sales of new machinery in Spain during 2019 that are also published by the Ministry of Agriculture (you have the monthly information here). It is a summary of most interesting data in our opinion.

The number of new tractors sold has risen with respect to 2018 from 11,381 units sold in 2018 to 12,156 units sold this year 2019 returning to the upward trend that had taken place between 2012 and 2017. This figure remains at around the 10,000 new tractors sold annually which is usually the benchmark number for many manufacturers, so it is within the expected pattern and can therefore be said to be a good year as far as new tractor sales are concerned.

New tractor sales by brand continue to be led by John Deere (2,972 units in 2019, 2,866 units in 2018 and 2,749 units in 2017) and New Holland (2,021 units in 2019, 2,059 units and 2,160 units in 2017). This year, John Deere is positioned as the leader in sales by commercial, a fact that had not happened for some years as the first place was held by the CNH. Next you can see in the graph the sales by brand:

On the other hand, another interesting fact is the best-selling brand in terms of average power where Fendt continues to lead the market for another year with 178.2 hp/tractor an interesting fact is the best-selling brand in terms of average power where Fendt continues be the leader for another year with 178.2 hp/tractor (176.3 hp/tractor in 2018 with respect 165.1 hp/tractor in 2017). You have more information in the following tables:

The best-selling tractor was the John Deere 6115MC. It is the best-selling tractor one more year again. In this way, the ranking of best-selling tractor models would be below:
  • 1st position: John Deere 6115 MC (454 units).
  • 2nd position: John Deere 5090 GF GL y GV (223 units).
  • 3rd position: New Holland T4.100 (199 units).
  • 4th position: John Deere 6130 M (197 units).
Regarding new farming machinery sales in 2019, we would like to show a chart where you can see monthly sales. You have data about tractors, trailers, tillage machinery, seed drills, mowers or harvesting machinery, etc. We would like to mention that a total amount of 35,430 new machines were sold in 2019 (41.249 units in 2018, 37,667 units in 2017 and 33,950 units in 2016 which implies a significant drop from the previous year for almost all types of machinery. We highlight the following data about new farming machinery sales:
  • New trailers sales: 3,506 units in 2019; 5,961 units in 2018 and 4,790 units in 2017.
  • Regarding trailed or mounted machinery:
    • Soil tillage machinery: 2,990 units in 2019, 3,850 units in 2018 and 2,677 units in 2017.
    • Seed drills machinery: 971 units in 2019, 936 units in 2018 and 823 units in 2017.
    • Crop protection machinery: 7,158 units in 2019, 8,571 units in 2018 and 9,073 units in 2017.
    • Spreaders and felitizing machinery: 2,175 units in 2019,  3,471 units in 2018 and 2,238 units in 2017.
    • Harvesters’ machinery: 2,020 units in 2019, 2,706 units in 2018 and 1,968 units in 2017.

Apart from that, we have to give special mention to the new combine harvesters sold in Spain which in 2019 was 201 units compared to 285 units in 2018 and 304 units in 2017, being the leader of new Claas. This sector is completely monopolized by Claas (65 units), New Holland (56 units) and John Deere (47 units). The rest of the manufacturers are a long way away, with Fendt standing out with 14 units and Deutz-Fahr with 13 units.

We want to give a especial mention about sales of self-propelled grape harvesters, which this year are up on previous years as 107 new units have been sold (100 units in 2018, 80 units in 2017 and 96 in 2016). Once again, New Holland leads the market with 69% of sales. We can conclude that the market has been stable for several years with around 100 new units sold. We think that this is a good amount so we think the wine and olive sectors are sectors with great potential.

Finally, we show you a few pictures of our friend Esteban, who with the purchase of his New Holland T7.165S contributed to increasing annual sales of new tractors in 2019. A few weeks ago we saw the tractor and it gave us very good feeling… we think the New Holland S series is unrivalled in terms of price/quality ratio.

Versión en español.