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OPICO conference will focus on Till-Seeding benefits


A Till-Seeding Conference, aimed at helping arable farmers reduce establishment costs without affecting yields, will be held in the Peterborough Suite at the East of England Showground, Peterborough on Wednesday, May 4 th.

OPICO, the conference organisers, have been working with a number of farmers throughout the UK to improve oilseed rape margins by implementing the Till-Seeding concept. Many of their Variocast customers are now using the system, mounting the seeders on subsoilers. The benefits, they say, are better root growth, improved plant establishment above the ground and yields equivalent to, if not better, than with minimal tillage or conventional drilling.

“Arable farmers are under huge pressure,” explains James Woolway, the company’s sales director. “Labour and machinery costs are constantly creeping up while end product prices are down to one of the lowest levels for a while. So the bit in the middle is being squeezed.”

“Till-Seeding is a way to reduce machinery costs without compromising crop growth – effectively a lower establishment cost with equally as good, if not better yields and with minimal extra costs,” he claims.

Currently the convention is to plough, then work the land down, drill and roll. Or to use some sort of minimal tillage system, cultivating once, possibly twice, then work the soil down to a seedbed, drill and roll.

“Our suggestion is to cultivate once, preferably with a subsoiler, straight into the stubble and put seed in at the same time with a seeder incorporated on that machine,” says James. “This makes one pass rather than two, three, four or five, depending on which system you are using.

“Also, and agronomically more important, you don’t tie up labour putting rape in whilst you’re having to harvest wheat. So you are reducing your labour requirement, and saving time and cost of wearing parts”.

The line up of expert speakers - Richard Crane, Food and Agricultural Partner with Deloitte; agronomist Nick Myers from ProCam and OPICO sales director James Woolway - will examine the financial, agronomic and practical principles of Till-Seeding, while delegates will also have the chance to talk to some farmers who are using the system.

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