Great Plains expertise in vertical tillage techniques and soil structure management was to the fore during two field days recently held in Finland. The first field day, organised by the Sugar Beet Research Centre of Finland and attended by 87 farmers, was part of a wider and ongoing education and information project “Juurikkaan satotasot nousuun” (JUNO), an initiative designed to help raise sugar beet yield levels in Finland.
The primary aim of the field day was to inform farmers about soil compaction, how it is caused, how it can be prevented and, if the damage has already been done, how it can be repaired.
Simon Revell of Great Plains dug a soil pit to demonstrate how compacted layers, if not dealt with properly, can significantly reduce yields by inhibiting root growth and plant development. The day also included demonstrations of Great Plains’ new mounted X-Press VX short disc harrow, which, when equipped with the soil loosening ST tool bar, provides an effective one-pass cultivations package by removing compacted layers at depth whilst chopping and incorporating high levels of residue at the surface and consolidating the ground to leave a high quality finish.
The second field day focused on cultivations and was held at the Loimaa Agricultural Institute in Loimaa. The aim of the day, attended by more than a hundred farmers and guests, was to present different types of cultivation tools and study how they work and manage the soil. Some twenty different types of machine were put through their paces including the Great Plains vertical tillage tool, the Turbo Till, which attracted a great deal of interest as did the X-Press and ST Bar combination and the TL 350 cultivator.
Timo Rouhianen, owner of Propax Agro Limited, the main dealer for Great Plains in Finland, was present on both days to explain the vertical tillage concept to farmers. He has long been an advocate of Great Plains products and vertical tillage techniques in a country where some 20% of arable land is farmed using the no-till system. “The Great Plains vertical tillage philosophy proved to be of great interest to guests attending these open days and they clearly understood the benefits that Great Plains technology could offer in terms of maintaining a good, healthy soil structure and creating the optimum environment for plants to grow and thrive,” he said.
“No-till is extremely popular in Finland – in a 10 year trial held at the Loimaa Agricultural Institute, no-till consistently performed better than plough-based or min-till systems. Earlier this year we introduced the new Great Plains Saxon minimal disturbance drill and the Spartan 607 no-till drill. These drills are performing really well and we have had a high level of interest in both machines. That interest has been evident during the field days, with a number of farmers eager to discuss the key features of both models in more detail,” he added.