Straw harrowing enhances control of slugs and weeds

Slugs and weeds, including blackgrass, can be controlled quickly, at very low cost, by running a straw harrow over stubbles before the next crop is drilled, according to leading manufacturer Claydon Drills.

“Straw harrowing provides a fast, effective way to encourage weed seeds to germinate, which is essential in any direct drilling or min-till situation, but can also be a valuable tool in the armoury where conventional establishment is used,” states Charlie Eaton of Claydon Drills.

“When farms move from a conventional plough-based system to either direct seeding or min-till, slugs will move closer to the surface. Using a Claydon straw harrow to lightly cultivate the stubble surface cultivation will level the straw and reduce the number of large, damp, chaff covered areas that may contain slugs. It will also shake out weed and volunteer seeds into moist soil, encouraging them to germinate quickly. By keeping weed seeds in the top 30mm of soil, the Claydon straw harrow creates a fine tilth which produces a quick, even germination whilst retaining the maximum amount of moisture in the soil.

“Mixing up and exposing damp chaff and lying straw to sunlight will also break up slug nests, dry the eggs and subsequently reduce slug activities on the surface. Passing over oilseed rape stubbles every two weeks will knock out volunteer OSR plants at the cotyledon stage, reducing this attractive food source for slugs.”

Fully-mounted, Claydon Straw Harrows incorporate up to 240 vibrating 14mm tines which engage the ground every 6cm, the working angle being hydraulically adjusted to suit field conditions and produce an optimum tilth. Operating at up to 25 km/h, they are available in working widths of 3m, 7.5m and 15m, with 50, 120 and 240 tines, require 80hp, 150hp and 200hp tractors and cover 10, 20 and 40 acres per hour respectively.

Claydon straw harrows have been designed to work in conjunction with the patented Claydon seeding technique which allows farmers to establish many different types of crops direct into stubble, min-tilled or fully-cultivated soils. Now used all over the world, in 26 countries, the Claydon System has become the most sustainable one-pass seeding technique in Europe and can be used year-on-year to attain above-average yields, avoiding unnecessary and expensive pre-cultivations.

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