“The way this new Kverneland plough travels, is just superb”
With 400,000 laying birds, Farmlay Eggs at Strichen, Aberdeenshire, generates a plentiful supply of chicken manure for use across the 1,700-acres of arable crops it grows. In return, all the cereals it produces are fed back into the poultry operation, simplifying traceability and guaranteeing feed quality, as the business focusses on maintaining the highest levels of bird welfare.
Run by husband and wife team Robert and Ethel Chapman along with their son Iain (pictured), Farmlay Eggs is one of the largest egg producers in Scotland. As part of a 600,000-bird producer group, Farmlay Eggs currently packs and supplies around five million eggs each week, mostly to Scottish consumers.
It is a business that prides itself on working to the highest standards possible, which transcends across its farming operation and is also reflected in its machinery and equipment choices.
“We look for the most suitable kit for our farm, which includes build quality, dealer support and backup. And we are big fans of Kverneland ploughs,” explains Iain Chapman. “With the exception of oilseed rape, all our crops are established using a plough-based cultivation system. And we’ve currently got three ploughs, all supplied by HRN Tractors.”
The farm has recently invested in a Kverneland 3400S new generation six-furrow plough, complete with number 28 bodies and a 3.15m double packer. It joins a six-furrow EO with slatted boards, while a 20-year old five-furrow model is available should the weather demand more productivity. And presses form an integral part of the soil inversion regime on the farm’s loamy soils.
“Harvest and autumn drilling is often very condensed,” he says. “We need bigger kit and more productivity to make the most of the limited opportunities available, before the onset of winter. So each plough needs to be turning over an average of 50 acres/day, working at 8-9in deep.” “We also plough on-land, using auto-steering, and 16in furrows are an ideal width for our soil types,” says Iain.
“This is the best set-up for us, and it lets us drill straight behind the plough and press, in a weather-proof process.” With land spread around Strichen, the farm chooses to block-crop, to simplify logistics.
He says the business did consider a larger, semi-mounted plough, but the improvements found in the 3400S - such as the plough’s innovative trailer transport system - quickly ruled out that option. “The way this new plough travels, is just superb,” he says. “It’s now much safer and easier to transport a big, fully mounted plough thanks to this development. And there’s no compromise in performance once we’re in the field.”
“We’ve found that the aero profile leg is better with trash, the central skimmer adjustment is quick and easy, and the hydraulic depth wheel is a must-have option. It’s made headlands easier and neater.” Complimenting the plough is a set of XHD wearing parts, fitted just to the front furrow to evaluate wear rates against original metal.
“We usually fit four or five sets of points in a season, and so far, the XHD has covered 800 acres and still looks superb,” he says. “Even without the XHD parts, this new 3400S plough is such a big step forward over our EO model, that I wouldn’t consider anything else.”