Danish Oilseeds Trial: Great Plains Comes Top!

Great Plains’ SL cultivator led the field in Denmark
Great Plains’ SL cultivator led the field in Denmark

Oilseed rape crops established using a seeding kit mounted on a Great Plains’ Simba SL cultivator produced the top yield in a trial completed in Denmark.

The trial tested conventional plough and power harrow based cultivations – the system most commonly used in the country - against alternative methods from five different machinery manufacturers, who established their own plots.

In the trials, conducted by Sonderjysk Landboferening, a leading farmer-owned union operating in the South of Denmark, the crop established by the SL recorded a yield of 106% of the “control” plot.

The results are significant for Danish farmers, says Jim Thygesen, Great Plains’ Territory Manager, because the company’s establishment cost was under 90 Euros/ha compared with 147 Euro/ha for the control plots, so the crop would have been far more profitable:

“These results reinforce those from other trials in Germany and other countries across Europe, which are all helping prove that our systems have real potential for farmers right across Europe”.

In the trials, each equipment company established two plots of 0.3 hectares each so the distortive effect of any variability across the site was minimised. Both plots were harvested and the yield quoted is an average of both plots.

The yield from the plough and power harrow system was set as the control at 100%. The machinery manufacturers were then allowed to establish their own plots and the timing and method of applying the main fertiliser application.

The Simba SL500 with seeder and fertiliser broadcast 30 days after sowing produced the best yield at 106% of the control, with a Heva Sub-Tiller and placed fertiliser next best at 103%, followed by the Tulip Multi-Disk and placed fertiliser at 102%.

Vaderstad’s Rapid drill working after a tined cultivation achieved 102% with placed fertiliser and 101% with broadcast fertiliser, while one treatment – the Horsch Focus drill with placed fertiliser, achieved 97% of the control yield.

Organisers chose the site at Haderslev in South East Denmark because it was a heavy land site typical of the region, and their aim was to produce relevant results that their consultants could use to advise clients, rather than results that could be considered scientifically secure.

Plant populations varied from 13 to 38 plants/square metre, and while our plot was amongst the lowest, when the researchers cut sample areas from the crop in June and weighed the plants, they varied from 107 to 263 grammes/plant, with those from the Simba being the joint highest:

“Our plots were established by contractor Ole Rostgaard, from Rostgaards Maskinstation, who has been using an SL cultivator for four years now.

“The organisers initially remarked that they though our plots -established with the SL followed by an Aqueel 2 roller – were packed too tight, which might damage germination.

“While we did have one of the lowest plant populations, the plants on our plots were among the heaviest. They were strong, well-branched and covered in seed pods.

“The trial is being repeated. We look forward to seeing how we fare in 2014. We have already established our plots on a light land site near Toftlund, in the middle of the country”.