14 November 2018

Sowing days: direct, minimum tillage or traditional. What do you prefer?

Every time the month of November arrives we start with the tasks of sowing. Undoubtedly, for us this is the most beautiful time of agriculture and especially if there are good soil conditions. This year, thanks to the autumn rains (it has rained about 90mm since early September), we are carrying out our sowing tasks in ideal conditions. The procedure is always the same: prepare the soil, spread a good fertilizer dose (for example, about 200kg/ha of 8-24-8) and sow the winter cereal (with a seed dose of 220 kg/ha). This is not as strict as it seems. Farmer knows in which fields is needed more or less fertilized, the dose and variety of seed chosen, etc. The ideal thing would be to do it using tools that Agriculture 4.0 offers us (yield maps, "intelligent" machinery,...), but unfortunately all that is still to come.

A few days ago we visited our friends Francisco and Fernando (from La Roda - Albacete) and they told us that they started to do direct sowing. Their yields are quite low (around 2,000 kg/ha) and with the selling price of the cereal (about 170 €/t of barley) whose inputs are: fertilizers, phytosanitary treatments, diesel, etc. Therefore, they had to control their expenses in order to have a profitable production. For this reason, and after seeing some fields of direct sowing of their neighbours, they have decided to begin with this technique of sowing. Our question is whether the savings are really so considerable as they have had to buy a direct seed drill, which is usually much more expensive than traditional seed drills, and they will have to do glyphosate treatments instead of using the cultivator or a fast disc harrow which are undoubtedly very low diesel consumption.

As you can see in our photos, we continue doing a traditional agriculture because we still have some fairly acceptable yields (an average of 3,000 kg/ha) and we actually carry out a minimum tillage as we do not work with plough or similar implements that require a large consumption of diesel. In our area the main implement is the cultivator that is practically the only implement used.

Of course, we don't know how to solve this dilemma. What do you think about that?

Versión en español.

30 October 2018

Faithful to a brand

An example of a brand loyalty could be our great friend Juan José de la Fuente. Since he was 18 years old, he's been working with Claas combines. He bought his first combine in 1979, which was a Dominator 76. In those years, that was a modern combine incorporating cabin, although without air conditioning. He remembers that its price was 1,700,000 pesetas (about 10,200€). Three years later, in 1981, he bought a Dominator 98 and a few months later he bought another Dominator 76. In 1985, in order to save maintenance costs and increase productivity, he decided to replace the two old Dominator 76 combines with the new Dominator 98 Super. The customer base continued to grow, so in 1988 he switched from his first Dominator 98 to a Dominator 98 SL Maxi which he still keeps. In 2000, he switched from the Dominator 98 Super to the new Lexion 420 that he also he still keeps. Finally, he bought the Lexion 540 in 2008.

How you can see in the previous paragraph he owns a life related to Claas. A few years ago (in 2011), Claas celebrated its 75th anniversary by collecting the most important stories from its customers around the world. The book was published with all of them and as could not be otherwise, Juan José is in that book with the article we wrote entitled "Claas in the land of Don Quixote".

A few months ago, he decided to change his old tractor, a Fiat 766E that provided really good results but it was outdated, for a new tractor. As expected, on this occasion he chose Claas, also motivated by the large official Claas dealer in our area (Talleres Bachiller S.L.). As you can see in our photos, he has decided to buy a Claas Arion 530 with Cerea autosteer by GPS.

Versión en español.