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Ditching the Plow Brings Big Changes to Scotland Farm

Neil White says switching to strip-till practices and covers has boosted soil conditions and attracted earthworms, but heavy rainfall still challenges his Scotland operation.


Pictured Above: COLD PLAY. This photo from Neil White’s Scotland farm shows winter wheat sown into oilseed rape stubble, with the stalks still visible in the frost

(Editor’s note: This article is being shared via Direct Driller, a conservation tillage magazine based in the United Kingdom.)

I farm 383 acres owned at Greenknowe and around 247 acres contract farmed in Berwickshire, Scotland, just 6 miles from the border at Coldstream. 

The land is clay and sandy loam, deep soils, very variable. But with the best of products to run an arable business on, any limiting factor is probably me! I do all the farm work myself except for the corn carting, high clearance spraying and baling. I have used a Mzuri Pro-Til strip-till drill for 5 years sowing nine different crops. 

My son Harry, 13, and I have been flying DJI drones since 2014 and he posts the videos on our YouTube channel ‘Everything is Greenknowe’ and pictures on Instagram under the same name.

NO-TILL TAKEAWAYS

  • Chopping straw, grazing and ‘muck’ dropped straight from the animal may be the easiest way to increase soil health.
  • Don’t discount the benefits of conservation tillage based off one bad year. Keep the big picture in mind.
  • Consider what controlled traffic has to offer if you’re constantly dealing with wetness and compacted soils.

My farm has undergone vast changes. My father always said my mouth would get me in trouble, and saying in print last fall how well strip-tilling had gone the…

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