Drill Slashes Fuel Costs - Charlie Beslee

"Fuel-savings are unbelievable!” says Charlie Beslee, who farms 400 hectares of mixed farming near Gravesend, Kent

His enthusiastic comment relates to the performance of his new Sumo 3m DTS - or Deep Tillage Seeder, mounted on his John Deere 6175R tractor.

“We’ve been considering updating our drill for a couple of years now and after a lot of research, we decided on the SUMO DTS and it’s turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

Charlie grows around 200ha of winter milling wheat, has 580 breeding ewes, 50 beef sucklers and fattens approximately 200 bullocks to around 12 months. “We have the livestock mainly for muck” added Charlie, “soil structure on this sandy loam over Thames clay and chalk tends to be quite hungry so regular applications of farmyard manure is important to achieve yields and maintain soil structure. In preparation for drilling we always make sure the sub-structure is right.”

After harvest, Charlie’s agronomist will test the autumn stubble, checking for compaction and it usually turns out that around 40% of the winter wheat ground will require some cultivation to prepare the sub-structure prior to drilling.

Chris Cormac-Walshe from Burdens came and set-up the drill and he has been really on the ball. I can’t fault Burden Bros Agri for their after-sales service, it’s just been phenomenal.

“For sub-structure work we usually run the Shakerator through the compacted areas,” added Charlie, “but otherwise we just drill straight into the untouched stubble. We’ve found that where there is a lot of crop residue, the addition of the leg extension kit for the drill makes soil flow much more efficient and I would recommend this to anyone considering buying the drill. We used to drill around ten hectares a day with the combi drill and would use a full tank of fuel. Now, with the SUMO DTS, we are drilling some twenty hectares a day and using less than three-quarters of a tank. That equates to around ten litres per hectare, which is extremely efficient. The other thing we find is that the DTS is extremely flexible. We can drill stubble turnips in July/August, wheat in October and then early season into spring barley, all with just one pass and no fuss. Makes it an absolute ideal multipurpose drill for our farming enterprise.”

The variable seed rate and calibration on the DTS is very simple, Charlie tends to use a high seed rate of 130kgs/ha towards the end of September and 160kgs/ha during the second week of October. With the output capability and easy adjustment, Charlie has found he can offer contract drilling services to his neighbours, an option which has meant a greater payback in a shorter period for the farm business.

Added Charlie, “Chris Cormac-Walshe from Burdens came and set-up the drill and he has been really on the ball. I can’t fault Burden Bros Agri for their after-sales service, it’s just been phenomenal. What I like most about the drill is that it suits our enterprise perfectly. It drills in thirty-three-centimetre (33cm) bands which is much healthier for the crop and it takes out all the wheelings leaving the field in a perfect condition. I couldn’t more pleased with our investment.” he concluded.

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