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Welcome to issue #88 Feb to May 2014
Readers will see that our cover now reads 'Incorporating SOIL + COVER CROPPING INTERNATIONAL.
Over the past year we have published a major article on Cover Cropping in each issue. Interest from many readers has been considerable, not least because Cover Cropping techniques are not well publicised. It remains a niche system in Britain, even though it is expanding very rapidly in other countries, both in Europe and n and S America. The topic needs a specialist publication.
This issue celebrates this ingenious log splitter adaptation on a Series 1 Land Rover. Great to see an old Landie still doing a real job of work. With woodburners becoming increasingly popular there's mileage in making something similar for your truck.
The splitter comes off in a few seconds. It is raised and lowered with a ram, and has another powering the home designed and built splitter. The hydraulics are powered by the truck's engine and the splitter lifts up so it can be driven from site to site. The vehicle's age excuses it from both MOT and Road Fund Licence.
This is a new section in Practical Farm Ideas. Over the past year we have published major articles on Cover Cropping, and interest from readers has been considerable. The topic now has a section of its own.
Cover Cropping improves soil condition, reduces fuel costs as well as fertiliser, herbicide and insecticide, and improved yields is something which can't be ignored. You will find explanatory articles in Practical Farm Ideas Issue 22-1; 22-2; and 22-3
The subject of soil and the techniques to imporve its fertility without relying on bagged chemicals is the future for profitable farming. We see the price of inputs rising, and farm gate prices are not keeping up.
They're important when farming subsidies are being reduced and commodity prices are in the doldrums.
It makes this issue very relevant to today's farming, which has cost cutting methods and ideas on almost every page.
• A grazier with 900 ewes describes how he has a farming business which he started with just £15k not many years ago.His focus is low cost shepherding with a flock that needs little maintenance. It's one way to get into farming with limited resources.
Pulling discs or a cambridge roll after the Flat Lift
Improving soil with the use of cover crops
• Worthwhile innovations in farming need be neither high tech or expensive, as you'll see in this issue. Working wheelmarks out when cultivating is something which is easy to ignore, and it's easy to ignore and just get on with the job, either accepting the rolled-on area or setting the tines deep so the marks are worked out. Our issue shows a simple modification to solve the problem.
It's a part of a fascinating FARMWALK over a farm in Kent where we were shown a huge number of ideas, relevant to all farmers as well as specialist arable.
We feature a dairy farm with 160 cows which has moved back from a TMR feed system using a Hi-Spec feeder wagon to having the cows self feeding. They wouldn't go back, even after five years. There's a big saving in time, and complication, and they feed all supplements in the parlour. Mind you, they make good silage.
Adapted drum makes ideal front weight
Oxford farming conferences - delegates at the REAL one in Magdalen College