User Stories The Conference Meetings
Printer Friendy Version

27 March 2003

Rape seeding time cut by half in Cambridgeshire.

Upgrading their system for applying oil seed rape on to winter wheat stubble last autumn enabled Cambridgeshire father and son farming partnership Andrew and Anthony Racey to halve the time previously taken to do the job.

The Raceys farm 1200 acres of heavy Grade 3 land at Wigsthorpe near Oundle. Seven hundred acres are down to winter wheat, with the remaining 500 acres producing oil seed rape.

With manpower at a premium – “Anthony and I do everything”, says Andrew – there is great reliance on timeliness and the right high output machinery for the job.

Prior to last year, the rape seeding system had consisted of a 7 leg deep cultivator on which was mounted an OPICO seeder. The rig had an operating width of 4 metres and was pulled by a 270hp tractor. Average time to get the rape in with this system was 10 days.

“Our aim was to speed the job up so that we could substantially reduce the time taken to get the rape in,” explained Andrew.

Last June they purchased a new OPICO Vario-Cast 8 electronic pneumatic seeder which they mounted on a new 6.6 metre Simba Express so that the rape could be applied directly behind the press wheels.

The set-up achieved the desired objective: with Andrew doing the cultivating and seeding in one pass with a John Deere 8210 tractor, and Anthony following behind with a set of 12 metre Cousins rolls, they managed to finish the 500 acres of rape in five days.

There has been no problem with crop establishment. “The weather came right, it rained afterwards and the crop looks good,” said Andrew.

Average seed application was 7kg per hectare “but by the look of the crop we might try cutting this to 5kg per hectare”, he added.

Spraying for Blackgrass achieved a good kill and although they did try applying some slug pellets from the back of the rolls, they prefer to use a quad bike.

The seeder had proved reliable and represented good value for money, said Andrew. “It is quite simple to set up and is a cheap and quick way of doing the job at a time of the year when speed is of the essence.

“It has worked out well. We are happy with the job it does and will do it again this year.”