Single-pass seedbed system

Adopting a new one-pass system for seedbed preparation has not only significantly reduced fuel and labour costs for a major Peterhead contractor, germination in the cereals he has drilled has shown a marked improvement too.

Eric Gibson, of Craigmill Farm, Maud, acquired the high output system for soil levelling and rolling shortly after its launch by soil working specialists OPICO last year. The system - a Shatta spring levelling board mounted just in front of Vari-Flex Rolls - is designed to provide extra levelling and consolidation of ploughed land. On lighter and medium soils, however, it can dispense with the need for soil cultivation and allow direct drilling to take place.

This machine has covered about 1000 acres, preparing seedbeds for spring and winter barley and wheat, plus some oil seed rape and grass. He says'"It is doing a great job in one pass operations. Before moving on to this system we used to disc the land, then level it, then power harrow, then toll it. Now, just one or two passes are sufficient, with an awful lot more speed.

"In the one pass it seems to firm the ground and produce nice, even germination," says Mr Gibson.

Powered by a 125hp 6810 John Deere, equipped with 6.50 low profile tyres, the machine is certainly no slouch. "It's no problem covering 60-65 acres per day," he adds.

"We spoke about getting furrow presses to go with the plough, but the rollers with the Shatta boards have proved the better option. It is a machine that does two jobs. You level the ploughed land at the front with the boards and roll behind in the one pass with the same machine. Plus, with a working width of 6.3 metres, you're covering an awful lot of ground."