18 juin 2017

Visiting a farmer’s property where the group ‘sol vivant 14’ conducted tests

On June13th, 2017 the room of agriculture organised a show on direct drill, easy drill and the fauna in the soil in Epinay sur Odon, located in Normandy. This visit was very informative as we learnt in a splendid time. We will go back as soon as possible to this kind of show.
We went to a farming property being part of the group ‘soil vivant’. The purpose of this group is to be able to preserve the soil as well as the living fauna and flora. This presentation was organised in four stages.

1/ The first stage started in the forest with the presentation entitled ‘associated rapeseed’.
The person in charge of this part shared with us many advantages of this arrangement:
  • It contributes to soil fertility and life.
  • It improves nitrogen nutrition and the functioning of rapeseed.
  • It increases the competition of the crop with regard to weeds. For instance, the field bean covers the adventices  which cannot grow. Consequently, they do not take the place of the crop.

The principles of implantation.
  • Sowing beans with a fertilizer spreader ( 80 kg/ ha )
  • The rapeseed is sowed two weeks after with the traditional seeder.
  • The canopy is destroyed either by freezing or by chemical products.

2/ The second step takes place in a wheat field implanted in different ways. 
This one presents different micro-plots treated in different ways.
We followed a direct drill test plot with nettle manure and comfrey juice. On this plot they control plant where odium, rust, and septoria spots could be seen. We could compare this other micro-plots with it. There was no difference with the other micro-plots except in comparison with the control plot.
The nettle liquid manure allows to make a fertilizing intake as well as parasite repulsive and it also has a stimulating effect.

3/ The third step still takes place on the field. It was on the direct drill and the simplified cultural technique.
It was introduced by Henri, a  young farmer.

In a direct drill method you don’t work your soil.
During this exit in test, the group “Sol vivant 14” we met Henri Lecompte, who practises direct drill. So he drills wheat in the rapeseed and he doesn’t work his soil. He doesn’t work soil to preserve microbial life. Thus, he does not destroy it and the adventices cannot germinate. Consequently the soil structure doesn’t move: the top soil, the subsoil, the weathered soil, bedrock. Inside, this layer we find insects like worms, microbes, fungus which degrade the matter.
  • The soil is in good health and brings all the minerals the roots attract to feed the rest of the plant.

4/ The fourth stage was about the seeddrill and its purchase in a group.
The goal was only to work on the row (limiting weed regrowth, so the soil is not destructured). The purpose of this implement is to let the living creatures in the soil.

Advantages of of buying implements in a group are:

  • There are several hoppers in the drill
  • You drill in a single pass
  • Only one driver is needed
  • The operator works on a wide width

The disadvantage is :
  •     The price
Tractor and the drill cost 220 000 €.

It’s more economical and cost effective to make this purchase with other farmers because the cost of mechanisation are reduced. For example, the price of a tractor has increased by about 80% in 10 years. We take the costs of the wearing parts, maintenance, fuel and driver with his working time into account. The animator shows thanks to his graph that the group can save up to 9, 000 euros a year. Farmers, now have more time for their own job when they hire a person for their group. Moreover, the price of the tractor for the CUMA increases.