Getting Leeks off to a great start

Worth Farms at Holbeach Hurn, Lincolnshire, opted for a 4-row, single bed Miniair Nova to plant its leek crop, after successfully borrowing a neighbour’s 20-year old machine to initially grow a small area.

Worth Farms at Holbeach Hurn, Lincolnshire, opted for a 4-row, single bed Miniair Nova to plant its leek crop, after successfully borrowing a neighbour’s 20-year old machine to initially grow a small area.

“We started by growing 30 acres in-house, as part of improving traceability to our pre-pack customers,” explains farms director Simon Day. “That old drill was a little tired, but proved itself, and when our contract grew to 100 acres for the following season, we took the decision to invest in a new model.”

“We already use a Kverneland Optima maize drill, so we knew the quality and knew the local dealer,” he says. “But we didn’t need a three-bed unit for our small acreage.”

Supplied by local dealer Irelands Farm Machinery, the farm’s new model Miniair Nova has been delivering some fantastic results.

“We’re really pleased with the accuracy of down-the-row seed spacing,” says Simon. “With a typical seed cost of around £3,000/ha, we need to make them all count, and get them off to a good start.”

Of equal importance is uniform crop growth, which starts with an accurate and consistent sowing depth, to promote even germination.

“A 500g pack aims to contain two leeks,” he says. “So it’s essential that we get consistent growth so that a two-leek pack is as close to 500g as possible – or we’re in danger of over- or under-supplying retail customers, which has an impact on profitability.”

The drill is used on a Fendt 718 equipped with RTK steering guidance. Sowing four rows within a 1.83m bed, forward speed is typically 3-4kph, though seedbed conditions dictate overall performance and productivity.

“Having accurate seed spacing means each plant gets the space and light it needs to develop,” adds Simon. “And in turn, this means a uniform crop will let us accurately pack our high-quality produce in pairs.”

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