More than 150 farmers from all over the country attended a series of four open days at the Wickhambrook farm and works of Claydon Drills, the leader in Direct Strip Seeding Technology.
They wanted to find out how to reduce the cost of producing arable crops at a time when low agricultural commodity prices are seriously eroding profit margins.
The event also provided an opportunity to see the new Claydon Hybrid T4 4m trailed drill and 6m Claydon TerraStar shallow cultivator ahead of their launch at Cereals 2016, a key annual event in the agricultural calendar, which will be held in Cambridgeshire during June.
To read more about the open days go to www.newmarketjournal.co.uk
By 2002 grain prices had fallen to levels which made it uneconomic to produce crops using conventional plough-based establishment method.
Unable to buy the machinery he needed, arable farmer Jeff Claydon developed the ‘Claydon System’, based around a patented twin-tine seeding unit.
By eliminating unnecessary cultivations it provides a more cost-effective, faster and more reliable way of establishing crops into stubble, min-tilled, fully-cultivated soils or cover crops, with significant agronomic and ecological benefits.
Up to five times faster, one-third the cost and more reliable than a plough-based approach, and typically 50% less than even a min-till system, the Claydon System significantly improves timeliness, enabling crops to be established at the optimum time, under the best possible conditions, which greatly reduces weather risk and produces significantly higher yields, generating a substantial additional financial benefit.
The patented Claydon System has been proven in 29 countries across the widest range of climatic conditions and soil types for the last 14 years.
The company’s product range, which is manufactured and marketed all over the world by a team of almost 50 staff, now includes Hybrid M tractor-mounted drills with working widths of 3m, 4m, 4.8m and 6m, Hybrid T trailed drills which operate at 4m, 6m and 8m, together with Claydon Straw Harrows up to 15m wide, the 6m Claydon TerraStar shallow cultivator and Claydon Rolls up to 12.3m wide.
Demand for this technology is developing rapidly as farmers seek new, more efficient ways to establish crops because of low agricultural commodity prices and unpredictable returns.
Progressive farming businesses realise that rather than simply updating existing equipment which offers no real economic benefit, the sensible approach is to invest in new methods which are more cost effective, more time efficient, more financially sustainable and
deliver significant agronomic benefits.
Customers who purchase Claydon drills often find that they can offset their investment by selling equipment which is no longer required, covering part or all of the cost.
Addressing farmers at the open days, Jeff stated: “Despite short-term economic challenges which currently face the agricultural sector, growers must take a long-term view to protect their key asset, namely the land they farm.
“Reducing costs is naturally at the forefront of every grower’s mind because at current combinable crop prices those who use traditional establishment techniques are losing £30 to £40 per tonne.
“With no substantial price increases on the horizon they have to implement a more economically-sustainable method, but the key is to do so without compromising yields or the long-term viability of their business, which is why many are struggling to find the right approach for their situation.
“On my own heavy land farm we have not ploughed for 14 years, but were we doing so now it would be costing over £300/ha to establish combinable crops, compared with £51/ha using the Claydon Strip Seeding System.
“Despite an intensive rotation of two wheats followed by oilseed rape, wheat yields have increased by over 1t/ha during that time and last year we averaged 13.2t/ha, with oilseed rape at 4t/ha. Weed and pest issues have also been much reduced.”