Tack­ling the soil

Country Smallholding - - Inside This Month - Ad­vice from Siromer

Soil prepa­ra­tion is the first step be­fore grow­ing a crop. The ul­ti­mate ob­jec­tive is to pro­duce a firm and weed-free seedbed for rapid ger­mi­na­tion. The amount of till­ing depends not only on the crop (in­clud­ing the seed size), but also on the soil type, to­pog­ra­phy, and the field con­di­tions. The goal is a fine seedbed in the top inch or so of soil, with as few clods as pos­si­ble. Proper seed-to-soil con­tact is key.

Till­ing cre­ates op­ti­mal soil by:

Me­chan­i­cally de­stroy­ing weeds that com­pete for wa­ter, nu­tri­ents and sun­light.

In­cor­po­rat­ing or­ganic ma­te­rial: residues left over from the pre­vi­ous crops are in­cor­po­rated in the soil and de­com­posed.

Loos­en­ing the soil al­low­ing the roots to pen­e­trate deep into the soil and to breathe eas­ily. It also sup­ports the growth of earth­worms and mi­crobes.

A trac­tor mounted ro­tary tiller, or ro­to­va­tor, pul­verises the soil and breaks up clumps into a finer tex­ture mak­ing light work of what would oth­er­wise be a back­break­ing job.

All Siromer ro­to­va­tors are heavy duty, semi off­set to cover one trac­tor wheel and with a dig depth of 6ins which can be ad­justed on the ro­to­va­tor skids. Siromer have re­cently launched a hy­drauli­cally off­set ro­to­va­tor op­er­ated from the trac­tor seat us­ing the hy­draulics. Siromer ro­to­va­tors are avail­able in a va­ri­ety of sizes to suit your trac­tor’s HP, from 1.05m (£1,200 + VAT) which can be driven by com­pact 16hp trac­tors up to 2.30m (£ 2,800 + VAT) re­quir­ing up­wards of 50hp to drive them.

If you are start­ing with sod, you may need to plough up the sod be­fore you ro­to­vate it. Plough­ing gets deeper into the ground to al­low the crop roots to reach wa­ter and nu­tri­ents.

Power har­rows

If the land has al­ready been ploughed, you may con­sider a power har­row to turn, break, re­fine and give an even dis­tri­bu­tion of soil to cre­ate a per­fect seed bed. It breaks up even the most com­pacted ground soil, of­ten in sin­gle pass for pre­par­ing an area for plan­ta­tion. Power har­rows con­sist of a mul­ti­ple set of blades which counter-ro­tate about a ver­ti­cal axis, which leaves the soil with a softer look and gran­u­lated yet lev­elled ap­pear­ance, as re­quired for sow­ing seeds or seedlings. Siromer of­fer two sizes, 1.3m re­quir­ing 24-50hp at £1,600 + VAT and 1.7m re­quir­ing 40-75hp £1,850 + VAT.

Stone buri­ers

If you do not need to go deep into the ground but are want­ing to cul­ti­vate di­rectly onto sod, stone buri­ers are ideal. Th­ese cul­ti­vate to a depth of 6ins, bury stones and level to pre­pare the per­fect bed. Siromer of­fer a 1.05m stone burier for £1,350 + VAT to suit 16hp and go up to 1.65m for £1,750 + VAT to suit 40-50hp trac­tors.

MORE: Call 01253 799029 or see www.

Power har­row­ing on ploughed soil

The ro­to­va­tor blades

Ro­to­vat­ing on sod

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