Patrick Mulhall, Tullow, Carlow
Patrick Mulhall farms at Castlemore and has sown the winter oilseed rape (OSR) DK Cabernet at 3.8kg/ha (60-80seeds/m2) with Meterex slug pellets at 2kg/ha.
He is using a relatively new method of sowing, using a Sumo Trio machine. This is a six-leg sub-soiler with two rows of scalloped discs, a packer with six seed pipes distributing the seed and covering tines tilling everything in.
The sub-soiler works at a depth of 8-12in (200-300mm) and the seed is spread out in 50cm-wide bands behind the sub-soiler legs to allow the rape to have maximum penetration into the soil. This also allows a drainage area below the seed to channel away any heavy rainfall.
The 3m machine was being pulled behind a Fendt 930 tractor and it was doing 10km/hr giving an output of 5-6ac/hr.
The charge for this service is €40/ac plus VAT, which would be in line with the cost of ploughing and conventional sowing. In addition, you have the added bonus of sub-soiling the land for future crops.
This is the second year that this machine, belonging to Wexford outfit Celtic Soil Solutions Ltd, has sown in his area and the experience among farmers is a positive one, with yields equally as good as that of a plough-based system and the convenience of a one pass operation.
The main change the company has made to this machine from last year is the positioning of the seed placement. Initially, the seed was dropped behind the discs and rolled in by the packer roller. This meant that the discs could not be too aggressive in the ground in case they threw up too much clay, leaving the seed sown too deep.