Harry Needham is steering his family farm towards a no-till future. As part of the farm’s long-term strategy, he has recently invested in an Enduro 3000 stubble cultivator from Farmstar, lessening the workload for the plough.
“For a mounted machine, the Enduro is a much longer cultivator, so there’s lots of room to move a generous depth of soil through the implement regardless of the amount of trash on the surface – it’s quite an impressive bit of kit.”
“We now only plough after sugar beet,” explains Harry who runs J & PJ Needham family farming business from Rookery Farm, Great Hale near Sleaford, along with his uncle Nick.
“And we still have the option of rotational ploughing with our five-furrow Kv LD85, to deal with blackgrass as we make the gradual transition.”
Growing winter wheat, winter and spring barley, peas, sugar beet plus grass leys for hay and haylage, the 300-acre farm is looking to reduce cultivation costs, move less soil and promote better soil health.
“We’re looking to put oilseed rape and beans into the rotation too, and to add bio-diversity so we can keep increasing organic matter,” he says. “And that’s where the Enduro stubble cultivator will give us a head start on this journey.”
He says the curved shins on outer tines avoids ridging, and the rear levelling tines and packer leave the surface partially finished to encourage drying or accommodate moisture.
“I’m looking to remove any shallow compaction with the Triflex tines,” he says. “And I’ve recently added a three-leg Flatliner subsoiler too, so we can go much deeper where necessary, to remove any historic plough pan.”
Harry’s journey saw the 3m Enduro bought to replace a Great Plains Express with ST bar.
“The Express lacked stagger and space through the cultivator frame, so it wouldn’t perform well enough in all conditions,” he says. “For a mounted machine, the Enduro is a much longer cultivator, so there’s lots of room to move a generous depth of soil through the implement regardless of the amount of trash on the surface – it’s quite an impressive bit of kit.”
After one pass with the Enduro, seedbed preparation is completed by a 3.3m Cultipress with DD rings, followed by a 4.8m TS Evo drill, then rolled. And with the addition of the Enduro cultivator and Flatliner subsoiler, he says the farm has more options available, depending on weather conditions and stubbles.
“Up until 2014 when we bought the TS Evo, we ploughed and power harrowed everything,” he says. “The TS is a great all-rounder. It’s also cost-effective to run, and has been helpful in steering us into our current min-till processes.”
“If I use the Flatliner instead of the Enduro, then one pass with the Cultipress, the seedbed is good enough to drill,” he adds. “I have total flexibility from these two new implements. And I still have an NG-H 101 4m power harrow, if needed.”
At a depth of around 8in and a forward speed of 10-12kph, he reckons the Enduro offers good output on his JD 6930 tractor.
“I do like Kverneland kit,” he says. “It’s well engineered, rather than heavy, numb and clumsy. And that also makes it a good fit for our available tractor power.”