With nigh on 3,000 ha of peas to sow, SBP Ltd has a very complex and orchestrated campaign to satisfy varietal timings, geographical locations and harvest order to ensure a smooth continuous flow of mature crop coming to harvest. This year we started around the middle of March, amongst the showers, and a colder seed bed of just over 5 degrees Centigrade. Strong winds have sucked the moisture out of the top of the ground, making it essential to preserve vital moisture to ensure even germination.
There are several approaches which can involve ploughing early, ploughing late or non-inversion tillage. None of these systems is perfect and most farmer growers have their own preferred favourite to suit their labour availability, farming system and soil type. Likewise, there is no set drilling machinery blueprint, as every farm uses its own brand, but it is most important to ensure adequate and even depth in order to tap into moisture and throw down powerful roots. So therefore, a very well-prepared seed bed is the essence of establishing an even maturing drought-resistent crop of peas.
Here is a selection of pictures from last week:
A dry, warm seed bed
Front press and power harrow drill combination
Large min-till disc drill working into pressed seed bed