Arable farmers in Scotland are changing back to combination drilling in a big way due to better crop establishment, enhanced plant nutrition, improved fertiliser placement and reduced inputs according to Claydon Drills. “During the last 12 months the number of arable farmers in Scotland who are looking to place fertiliser with seed whilst drilling has increased dramatically,” explains Charlie Eaton, UK and Ireland Manager. “During that time our sales in Scotland have increased by 270% and a key reason has been the addition of a fertiliser placement option to the Claydon range. We have also noticed significant interest in direct drilling in regions such as Aberdeenshire where high winds often cause severe soil blow if the land is cultivated conventionally.” Now used all over the world, the patented Claydon Strip Seeding System allows growers to establish a wide range of crops directly into stubble, min-tilled or fully-cultivated soils, five times faster and at one-third the cost of a plough-based system, with significant yield and environmental benefits. The drill’s highly effective two-tine system encourages very deep, complex rooting structures to develop quickly, which minimises soil erosion and ultimately leads to stronger, healthier crops with improved yield potential. The fertiliser placement option for the Claydon Hybrid drill is particularly relevant to arable farmers in the East of Scotland as it allows them to quickly sow spring barley direct into stubble fields without losing moisture or soil structure. The area between the seeded strips remains undisturbed, so the drill can accurately place fertiliser within the seeding zone, ensuring that nutrients are located exactly where the plant needs them. This avoids applying expensive fertiliser on the 50 per cent of soil which remains undisturbed, thereby ensuring optimum nutrition for young seedlings, better utilisation of fertiliser and potentially significant cost savings. Claydon technology allows liquid, granular and/or micro-granular fertiliser to be placed directly into the seeded strip. Liquid fertiliser can be placed below the seed, granular fertiliser below or with the seed, while micro-granular fertiliser can be delivered with the seed. All options are available on both new drills and as a retro-fit for existing drills. Michael Johnson, who operates a 260-acre mixed farm near Elgin, emphasises that the high winds in the region cause real problems with blow on the light soils. He now uses a 3m Claydon Hybrid to direct drill cereal and forage crops, with fertiliser being placed with the seed. “We operate a very lean and mean system and the Claydon System enables us to establish crops much more quickly, at much lower cost than with a traditional plough-based system. It has greatly improved soil structure, making it strong and more supportive, as well as totally eliminating blow, which was previously a big issue for us. With the Claydon System we only have to drill once, and that is it. Farmers are traditionally very conservative, but the drill is so efficient and effective that it is attracting a great deal of interest from others in this area.” The benefits of the Claydon System are enhanced by using the Claydon Straw Harrow to reduce slug and weed populations before drilling, then using Claydon Rolls to achieve thorough consolidation around the seeding zone to maximise crop establishment.