FieldCast: The Result

Sam Pimblett - Wilson Wraight

FieldCast, our opinion based survey made a return to the LAMMA show this year with a focus on tillage and establishment. Residual black grass issues, establishment costs, glyphosate’s future, soil health, to name a few issues have all been forcing the debate and causing businesses to revaluate the profitability of their arable enterprises.

We asked participants to tell us what their current crop establishment system is and how this might change in the future. Unsurprisingly, many businesses use an armoury of all three methods but we wanted to be clear that direct drilling meant only that e.g. zero till; non-inversion meant the plough was not used anywhere whilst continuous use of the furrow or in rotation was labelled plough.

The results in summary:

  • 53% of participants currently use the plough, but a quarter expect to move away from this in the future. Two percent already on non-plough systems expect to revert back to the plough.
  • Over 30% of participants see the future viability of their business through adopting direct drilling, i.e. all of the yellow bars.
  • Non-inversion and direct drilling methods represent the highest amount of businesses looking to change. Reasons for this discussed at the show were, the cautious process of changing to a less intensive system, e.g. strip tillage to zero tillage, or subsoiling to relieve compaction. On the other hand the high percentage of plough based establishment represents systems where soil inversion is required for root crops, intensive vegetables or outdoor pig units, thus extenuating the results.