Knowledge Exchange days
Insightful Knowledge Exchange day at College Farm recently, with valuable information shared by Independent Cultivations Expert Philip Wright as well as the Co-Founder of Oakbank Game and Conservation, Ian Gould.
The key fundamentals from the day were the importance of maintaining good drainage, to check your soils before doing any remedial work with low-disturbance subsoilers such as the Stealth, and to take advantage of cover crops between cash crops. Done correctly, both roots and metal can complement each other to improve soil structure.
Don’t miss another Knowledge Exchange day. If you’re interested in joining us next time, click here.
We began “on-farm” trials at College Farm in 2015 and have visited many times over the years for our Sky events and field walks. College Farm, comprising 100ha of arable and 10ha of grass, is a fully working farm in its third full season of reduced tillage as we transition to Conservation Agriculture.
11th February 2022
The Winter Wheat and Barley drilled in mid-October at College Farm by the 6m EasyDrill, looking well in the morning sunshine. Come and take a look at how the crops will have developed further on the 12th May at our next Knowledge Exchange Day.
The theme of the day will be “Building Resilience into your soil” so that, whatever the challenges ahead may be, including external factors beyond your control, your soil will recover and regenerate. We’ve asked Independent soils and tillage expert Phillip Wright to share his knowledge on the impact of metal on the soil, whilst Ian Gould, Director and Co-Owner of Oakbank Game and conservation will be there to share his expertise on the use of roots through cover crops to improve soils.
We will also share the trials and tribulations of the past two years from College Farm and how we are still on the road to no-till, via the regenerative route, although we have had to overcome a few bumps along the way! If you are interested to find out more, we will email an invitation nearer the time.
Click here to register for the event on 12th May (provisional timings 10am – 3.00pm).
4th November 2021
Exactly 3 weeks after drilling winter wheat into the cover crop with the EasyDrill, we are seeing healthy, uniform crop emergence. Join us on the 12th May for the next Sky Knowledge Exchange day.
14th October 2021
Sky 6m EasyDrill drilling winter wheat direct into the multi species cover crop at College Farm. Join us at our next Knowledge Exchange day scheduled for the 12th May.
14th October 2021
Glenn Bootman, Product Manager for HE-VA and Sky in the UK, talks about how soil structure has been improved using both metal and roots.
27th July 2021 - Cover crop update
We're excited to see the regenerative effects of roots and iron on the soil at College Farm.
5th July 2021
Tom Brookes, product Demonstrator for Sky Agriculture in the UK, talks through cover crop drilling at College Farm.
8th June 2021
Glenn Bootman, Product Manager for HE-VA and Sky in the UK, discusses improving drainage and it's impact on the transition to no-till.
Sky Agriculture have collaborated with Oakbank and agronomist & Nuffield Scholar 2016 Ben Taylor Davies to bring you another brand new webinar!
In this webinar Nicole Masters presents her vision of how farmers could transition from a typical high input farming system, to one where lower inputs create a better return on investment, with lower financial risks and also deliver better soil health.
If you didn't catch this article about how the Hoggard family, from Yorkshire, transitioned to a Sky EasyDrill to move back towards a direct drilling crop establishment system, then click here
Sky Agriculture have collaborated with Oakbank to bring you a brand new webinar titled 'Biological pathways to Carbon-Rich Soils', featuring speaker Dr. Christine Jones.
Internationally renowned and highly respected groundcover ecologist Dr. Christine Jones has a wealth of experience working with innovative landholders to implement regenerative land management practices that improve soil health and enhance biodiversity.
Her studies focus around increasing biological activity, sequestering carbon, activating soil nutrient cycles, restoring water balance, improving productivity and creating new top soil.
If you were unable to see Oakbank's webinar with the excellent Joel Williams from Integrated Soils, held 2nd December 2020, the event can be seen below.
The event discussed the pros and cons of Multi-species Cover Crops and will feature recent scientific studies, as well as Joel’s own experience.
Thank you to Ian Gould from Oakbank for allowing us to host this webinar on our site
Sadly, but not unexpectedly we have taken the decision to postpone our next Sky roadshow event. We are hopeful that we can reschedule in the first half of 2021. If you would like to be contacted about future events please complete this form. Thank you.
For our 5th Sky Roadshow we were fortunate to have Christophe de Carville, Sky's Chef de Product for the EasyDrill range, with us again. Christophe discussed soil health and the strategic use of cover and companion cropping as well as a talk on the importance of keeping the soil covered and carbon sequestration.
Ian Gould from Oakbank Game & Conservation also joined us to compare the merits of different cover crop species and their suitability for growing in UK soils and also how they meet the requirements of EFA and Environmental Stewardship schemes.
Joe Redman, Sky Drill Specialist, also gave a brief presentation on how he tailored our cultivation strategy as soil conditions transitioned to a full, no-till system. Joe had an open and honest discussion on his experiences over the past three years on College Farm.
If you are interested in hearing about upcoming Sky events sign up here.
Alternatively if you have any questions please email email@example.com
We began “on-farm” trials at College Farm in 2015 and have been visiting it several times each year for our Sky Roadshows and Field walks. College Farm, comprising 100ha of arable and 10ha of grass, is a fully working farm in its third full season of reduced tillage as we transition to Conservation Agriculture. Joe Redman, SKY drills product specialist and Ian Gould from Oakbank Seeds will be looking at established winter crops and discussing how catch crops, compost and low disturbance sub-soiling have benefited the heavy clay soil.
The field walk on 27th February is a “warts and all” opportunity to have an open and honest discussion and to share our learnings with you. This season we are trialling Medik companion cropping in the first wheat and Lucerne in the winter barley for the first time.
In particular we will look at progress on:
- The importance of low disturbance subsoiling in the transition to Conservation Agriculture
- 1st wheat following OSR with white clover companion
- 2nd wheat following catch crop of Black Oats, Beersem Clover, Oil Radish, Phacelia, Buckwheat
- Cover crop management & impact on soil structure, health and bio diversity 3 years in.
- Legume companion cropping with winter cereals
We do hope you will be able to join us. We expect the walk to last about 2 hours. There will be tea, coffee and bacon rolls on arrival (from 9.30). If you would like to come please email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can plan for numbers. If you are unable to join us but would like to know about future events please email to let us know.
We have reluctantly taken the decision to CANCEL the Sky Roadshow at College farm on 18th October. As you are aware and given the exceptionally dry start to the new season, cover crops and OSR have not established as we had hoped and there will be little to show by mid-October.
For those interested College farm had 3mm in June, 10.5mm in July, 65mm in August (two thunderstorms in two days) and only 25.5mm in September! And as you know moisture is only part of the story, the continuous record breaking prolonged hot weather has only exacerbated the establishment conditions.
We intend to hold an extended field walk event on Wednesday 27th February 2019 to see how the soil and crops are faring. We will also take a look back over 2018 at the success and failures of the transition to no-till at college farm.
For our 4th Sky Roadshow at College Farm on 22nd May we are fortunate to confirm Stephen Briggs, Head of Soil & Water at Innovation for Agriculture, soil specialist, practical farmer and consultant to share his extensive knowledge and experience. Stephen has been providing farm business consultancy throughout the UK and internationally for over 20 years and has delivered soil, water and crop advice and training to many UK farmers. He is active in influencing agricultural policy at both UK & EU levels. At the Sky Roadshow Stephen will focus on soil health and biology, particularly apposite now that Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has put soil directly in the spotlight
Joe Redman, OPICO’s Sky Drills Product Specialist will also look at the impact of cover crops on soil health, particularly the nitrogen fixing effect vs. applied fertilizers.
Ian Gould from Oakbank will then lead the group across the farm sharing practical learning from growing different cover crops on soil structure. Our plan is to have an open and honest discussion and share our experiences to date, warts and all!
If you would like to hear about future SKY events please email email@example.com
Over 25 farmers, agricultural dealers and agronomists joined Joe Redman, OPICO's conservation agriculture (Sky Drill) specialist and Ian Gould from Oakbank seeds for a morning walk across College Farm. The sun shone, the spade was out and quality discussions ensued.
The site of previous SKY Roadshows, College Farm is a fully working farm in its second full season employing the conservation agriculture technique. Joe and Ian will be looking at established winter crops and discussing how the various cover crops have benefited the soil ahead of spring drilling.
"The OSR companion cropping farm trial created a great deal of interest at the Autumn Roadshow and you will be able to see how the OSR has come through the winter in the different trials" explained James Woolway, MD at OPICO "We also have some "don't try this at home examples" where we haven't got it right so it should be an educational morning! Our plan is to have an open and honest discussion and share all our learnings to date with you."
In Autumn 2017, our third Sky Roadshows delved into the principles behind conservation agriculture. Guest speakers gave their view on the future of farm incentives and gave practical guidance on the process behind DEFRA's "Leader" and other funding currently available. Presentations were followed with field walking to show the impact of different cultivation methods, seeding methods and different cover crop and companion mixes following this year's wet harvest. Of particular interest was the companion mix sown with OSR.
Feedback from the event has been excellent with delegates being able to dig a little deeper into conservation agriculture and seeing for themselves how a Sky EasyDrill can enable them to drill in conventional, reduced till and no till system and why a Sky Drill is the most versatile and flexible drill on the market.
If you would like to hear about future SKY events please email firstname.lastname@example.org
In June 2017 OPICO, SKY Agriculture and our dealers invited farmers to come and learn more about the benefits of adopting reduced tillage and no-till systems to combat blackgrass, reduce establishment costs and improve soil health. We believe that No-till drilling is not a magic wand and cannot be adopted overnight so the Roadshow meetings explored the transition to less tillage; both the pitfalls and successes. We looked at integrating cover crops, altering rotations, incorporating fertiliser at seeding and of course minimal disturbance drilling.
Delegates came to find out how a Sky Drill's versatility can enable you to drill in conventional, reduced till and no-till systems and why it's the ideal machine for a gradual transition to reduced establishment cost, better soil and less blackgrass.