28 November 2019

Sowing days 2019. Disc or coulter, which do you prefer?

Direct sowing is absolutely established in many areas of Spain and it is already a fact because almost all the farmers’ who practice this sowing technique are really satisfied with the results obtained. Therefore, we do not understand why it is not fully consolidated in all areas... the key might be that all areas do not have the same characteristics of soil, climatology, etc. or it may be even be due to the farmers’ culture, as it is necessary to be open-minded and willing to change. Some farmers stay halfway and do minimal tillage, which can also be a good solution.

As we have already said in several articles dedicated to sowing, in our area nobody practices direct sowing, so we went to talk to our friends Fernando (from Medina de Rioseco - Valladolid) and Daniel (from Barchín del Hoyo - Cuenca). Our two friends are great farmers, with large farms of hundreds of hectares in extensive crops that have practiced direct sowing for several years. The conclusion they draw is that the results are very similar to those of traditional sowing and the costs are much lower, especially costs in agricultural machinery and time because the soil preparation task are eliminated and the tasks are limited to sowing, fertilizing and spraying.

One of the dilemmas for the farmer who wants to do direct sowing is the choice of the seed drill machine and, therefore, whether it is with disc or coulter... this is the key piece in this sowing technique. Fernando works with a Gil disc seed drill machine and a Solá coulter seed drill machine. In its field, the disc sower works much better because it does a perfect conservation of the surface layer of soil where the seed is left (the disc opens the soil, deposits the seed and closes; this is a similar operation to that performed by a scalpel). Fernando observes that the seed drill machine with coulter breaks the soil more and in its fields the seed takes longer to germinate.

On the other hand, Daniel tells us that for him the seed drill with coulter is ideal, as they tend to have a lot of clay soil and when sowing, if it is wet, the disc does not work well. Another problem they have is that when the straw (which is chopped by the combine harvester and incorporated as organic matter into the soil) has not decomposed well and is wet, then, the disc is often not able to stick into the soil and the seed remains too shallow. Needless to say, for terrains with a lot of stone, coulters work much better by penetrating better between the stones than the disc.

As we said, the costs are usually lower because the soil preparation tasks are completely removed. It is true that the use of herbicides to control weeds increases, so it is necessary to have a control of its use to not increase costs and pollution. Daniel does an herbicide treatment just before sowing in order to eliminate the few weeds that have been able to be born with the autumn rains. If it does not rain, the recommendation is to wait for the rains or sow as late as possible in order to do a purge of weeds before the sowing.

Versión en español.

12 November 2019

DIY a trailer hitching mirror

I remember when I was a kid and we had the John Deere 2135, the Fiat 880E and later the Deutz-Farh Agrotron 85. In these tractors, you could hook the trailer without any problem and at a dizzying speed. That changed when we bought the Deutz-Farh Agrotron M600 and, unfortunately on almost allmodern tractors: the trailer hitch is not visible from the driver's seat, so often the task of hitching the trailer a single person becomes complicated.

We like to visit agricultural machinery fairs, and very often when we get on a new tractor, we like to see if the trailer hitch (the one that can be adjusted in height, not the one for pulling implements) is visible from the driving position... Normally we can't see the hitch because cabs areincreasingly in the centre of the tractor and quite often tractors tend to have the largest rear.

The solution that all manufacturers are giving to the problem (previously only a few, such as Valtra, did), is to add a mirror on the rear window, which when opened allows you to see the trailer hitch without problems. An ideal solution perhaps in countries such as Germany, Finland or France where they do not usually work with much dust but for Spain, in our opinion, it is not a good solution, because when you open the rear window, all the accumulated dust gets into the cabin and therefore you have to clean the cabin after hitching the trailer ... directly, you choose not to open the rear window and not to use the rear-view mirror hitching trailers.

In the photos you can see our DIY solution that we have given to our Deutz-Farh Agrotron M600. As you can see, we have added a mirror, which we have bought in Amazon, on the outside of the tractor that allows us to see perfectly the hitch. It is not necessary to open the rear window and therefore the dust does not enter the cabin, so we thought we had found a good solution that we used to share with you.

Versión en español.