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Thank you for letting me know.  I would also like to let you know that your magazine is very popular with our students.  Many of the students at this school are from a rural farming background and it has been fantastic to have some reading material that appeals to them, particularly the more reluctant readers.

Mrs Kathryn Durkan,    LRC Manager,      John Port School



John Port School, Derbyshire

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Image for 105# May-Aug 2018 Vol 27-1

105# May-Aug 2018 Vol 27-1

Price £4.35

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'Must reads' in this issue

Lewis Hook-lift trailer makes adaptable farm machine towed by tractor
Hook-lift trailer makes adaptable farm machine towed by tractor

 This issue looks at hook-lifts and suggests that farmers do the same. These trailers load filled trailer bodies; have a wide variety of containers including stock boxes, concrete mixers, vacuum tanks - you name it and it can hook-lift it! Specs and what to order, and how they should be made.  
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Steve Groff cover crop expert talks with Farm Ideas editor Mike Donovan
Steve Groff cover crop expert talks with Farm Ideas editor Mike Donovan

We look at the progress of no-till in Belgium with a day of intensive study organised by a farm extension service that provides totally independent advice - no sign of sponsors, trade stands, flags and banners. Jjust up our street! We still think there is too much commercial involvement in the world of farm advice. So we have NO Advertising in Practical Farm Ideas.
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Cattle raceway designed on Temple Grandin principles at Ghug Estate
Cattle raceway designed on Temple Grandin principles at Ghug Estate
Ghug Estate has objective lessons for any farmer, or group of farmers, who are going to sell product to consumers as well as commodities to food and other manufacturers. This is the second in a series of farm walkswhich looks at the integration between the farm and the product and the sales system, in this case, the farm shop. Fascinating business.

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Strong and secure front mounted diesel bowser for tractor
Strong and secure front mounted diesel bowser for tractor
One of 35 popular "Made it Myself" ideas in this issue. Strength and security are paramount in this machine which saves towing a bowser to and from the field. Great for farmers forage harvesting and doing diesel hungry field work some distance from home. Bowsers can be easy to steal if parked unattended - this less so as it needs a tractor. We wonder whether the barrels need to be bunded. They are well protected from front and sides.

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Ford Ranger pick-up converted to field machine with Horstine Avadex spreader on back
Ford Ranger pick-up converted to field machine with Horstine Avadex spreader on back
Recent issues have featured a number of pick-up and Discovery conversions. This 4 door Ranger (£300, much cheaper than a  2 door MoT failed truck) carries a Horstein spreader on the back. "It's so very successful," says the young farmer who did the work "next time I'd invest more time on the job and chop the back of the cab off to lengthen the load bay." The Ranger replaces an AgriBuggy.
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Soil rocket fuel 50:50 FYM and chicken, composted and ready to spread
Soil rocket fuel 50:50 FYM and chicken, composted and ready to spread

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We're all thinking soils and muck these days, just like the organic farmers have been for the past 50 years and more. This potent mix can be spread thin on grass or stubble and is high in N.
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Practica Farm Ideas Vol 27-1 'Clever one-off ideas from outstanding farmers
Practical Farm Ideas Vol 27-1 'Clever one-off ideas from outstanding farmers
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Soil+ Cover Cropping International

    ✓  Blackgrass: In 2016/7 farmer and agronomist Ben Taylor-Davies travelled the globe through Nuffield to find answers to the UK blackgrass problem, and found help from many sources. His system involves a change in cash crop rotation, understanding the chemistry currently available, the possible future use of bacteria.
    ✓  No-till in Belgium: we accepted an invitation from the Belgian organisation Regenacterre which educates farmers in zero-till, conducts independent trials, liases with Liege University, has direct drills which members can hire and try out on a proportion of their farms.

    ✓  blackgrass. The present scourge for arable farmers across swathes of the UK. This large scale report suggests a planned system that fights blackgrass at it own game - mutating to build resistance. If you grow crops you need to know about blackgrass, how to identify and control it.
    ✓  no-till sugar beet; cover cropping in deep soil; reading a soil pit. There's a wealth of advice from Steve Groff who talks cover crops from years of experience.  

The "Made it Myself" section

    ✓   converting an ERF 8 wheeler timber wagon to a trailer. Building a high strength drawbar
    ✓  potatoes: mounting a twin body ridger behind a six leg subsoiler
    ✓  renewable heat: burning bales of linseed straw
    ✓  welding: home made turntable which provides a continuous weld around pipe or other circular object
    ✓  mechanics: home made wheel hub puller has bottle jack
    ✓  tractor: home made / designed concrete front weight is 3/4 tonne
    ✓  fertiliser handling: two bag fert bag handler design has all necessary features for safe and easy working
    ✓  implement mount: from Komatsu 360 digger to JCB/Matbro fittings
    ✓  grain: dozer made using scrap snow plough
    ✓  potatoes: neat retainer bar allows boxes to be tipped safely
    ✓  hook-lift: read this and you won't dismiss hook-lifts for tractor work. 
    ✓  3 phase electric: instead of expensive mains connection he uses a generator
    ✓  log splitting: the popular Lawnflite machines are made safer and better with these pedal controls
    ✓  axe block:  still using an axe? do this to the chopping block and you aren't chasing logs around the place
    ✓  diesel: carry 400 litres on the front linkage. Saves a separate bowser.
    ✓  children's play: disused JFC calf hutches make wonderful Wendy houses
    ✓  bird scaring: this machine has a propellor with two CDs and a vane with another. Works v well.
    ✓  Deere AMT600 rebuild: this 5 wheel 4x4 Gator precursor goes everywhere. Low cost refurb
    ✓  AMT600 trailer: load the machine and tow with truck, then hook trailer onto the Deere
    ✓  wood processing: cutting pallets with chainsaw is safe and easy with this holding frame
    ✓  diesel security: scrap car park ticket machine has hose, pump and meter behind secure locked door


    ✓  slat floors: plastic covers that close slats to convert floor to solid concrete
    ✓  cover crops: 'termination' of crops with glyphosate is not an option for organic farmers, and the US designed Rodale crimper roller is an alternative. But it's not always very effective. Spaldings are marketing a heavier design which looks very interesting

Inventors wanted

    ✓  seeds: small scale seed thresher for open pollinated varieties of vegetable seed
    ✓  cauliflower/veg harvester: a major company is wanting a better system of moving the packed crop from field to pack house

Farm safety

    ✓  Grain trader Louis Dreyfus have "Committed to Zero" so all workers are confident to return home after work every day.
    ✓  HGV training for London drivers uses novel approach
    ✓  Farm Safety Partnership must up the ante for UK farm workers
    ✓  speeding tractor drivers
    ✓  ATV tail light is inadequate. Why isn't the standard changed?

Financial Focus

    ✓  We dissect and analyse DEFRA's Health and Harmony report which forms the basis of post Brexit farming in the UK. We find confusion, items that pressage financial hardship for farming, get-out clauses and more

Farm World

    ✓  Fake news about farming hits front page of the Times
    ✓  Cargill chief says on-farm storage has removed a source of company profits
    ✓  Farming and schools: we need only look at the FFA (Future Farmers of America) to see an integrated approach
    ✓  Contracting agreements: their wording can jeopardise tenancy rights
    ✓  US cattle farmer handles stock with care and gets raised feed conversion
    ✓  Award: Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers  (RABDF) presents their top Princess Award to farm journalist Barry Wilson, founder of British Dairying magazine

Farm Walk

This section features top farmers which readers find inspirational to their own farming. In this issue we explore how Lord Newborough's Rhug Estate uniquely integrates the organic farm with their successful farm shop and bistro restaurant and meat business.

The farming supply side at Rhug has to dovetail with the demands of the other businesses, and the magazine explains the challenges and changes which owner Lord Newborough and his staff tackle in the business which is based in Corwen, North Wales under the headline “There’s no Laurel-Resting with this Successful Farm to Fork Business”.

Getting the most from manure and lifting soil condition has been a long term objective. Growing their own cereals for feed to both cattle, sheep and bison, as well as deer, means they need ot be successful arable farmers as well as livestock producers.


Previous issue

Practical Farm Ideas Vol 26-4 #104

Previous issue Practical Farm Ideas Vol 26-4 #104


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