Changing rotation and a promotional DVD proved to be the catalysts for Jim and Sam Deane to make the switch to direct drilling. Nearly 10 years later, the father and son duo are happy with their decision.

A father and son chat about how the soils on their farm were changing, and not for the better, led the Deane family to a deeper conversation on their farming future. But it was the desire to become more efficient that ultimately led them to purchasing a Claydon Hybrid drill in 2013 for their 40ha farm in County Cork as well as their extra contracting workload. “We were only six miles from the sugar beet factory in Mallow,” explains Jim. “We were growing spring barley for two years and then a crop of sugar beet. When the factory closed in 2005 we kept on growing beet for fodder, but by 2013 beet had had its day.”

At this time Sam was studying agronomy at UCD and, when someone gave him a DVD on the Claydon drill, he brought it home to show his father. While they both agreed it looked interesting, it was almost chalked up as one of those, ‘that’s nice but probably something we’d never do’ ideas.

Seeing is believing

“We decided to go and speak to Noel Furlong, who imports the Claydon drill, and we had a look at his crops,” recalls Sam. “We decided that this could actually be the machine for us. We dropped sugar beet from the rotation and grew our first crop of oilseed rape in August 2013. We discovered combining in July and August is much nicer than pulling beet in October, November and December. And while lots of people said it wouldn’t work, we grew our best ever spring barley crop in our second year.”

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