Returning to tried and trusted techniques may well be the tillage farmer's best bet
Tillage farmers are great people to adopt new technology be it new cultivation equipment, new herbicides, fungicides, trace elements or bio stimulants.
All of those come with increasing costs while selling grain into a market which struggles to give us last year's prices.
Merchants now claim that paying last year's price is more expensive than imported maize and other by-products.
For as long as the EU and the EU consumer is content to allow imports of feedstuffs that do not meet our regulatory standards and have an increased transport carbon footprint, grain growers have to use every technique to survive.
Some of the newer technologies may be too expensive but a lot of the older advice and knowledge is cheaper to implement and will give significant return.
The three most important things that the tillage farmer must get right are soil condition, soil fertility and soil rotation.
Soils must be able to hold water in the event of drought and drain surplus water away during periods of high rainfall. One of the primary concerns has been /is to avoid soil compaction which causes poor drainage and restricted plant growth. Lack of soil consolidation leaves air pockets and poor growth in drier conditions. Poor consolidation of seedbeds is a problem on some soils where there is a reliance on ring rollers to firm soil to a depth. Ring rollers do a good job to push down smaller stones, break clods and to firm soil in the top few inches. They do not provide firming to plough depth.