Dolygarn project update – July 2020
Charlie Morgan, GrassMaster Ltd is an independent grassland consultant, and is leading this project work at Dolygarn. He visited Dolygarn in March to identify and confirm which fields would be used for this project. Two adjoining fields have been identified. One 9 acre field will be reseeded with ‘Brassica Express’ mix, with the adjoining 14 acre field reseeded with ‘Clampsaver’.
This video shows James Powell (farmer at Dolygarn) preparing to spray one of the trial fields off before cultivating and sowing (24 April, 2020).
Due to the continuous dry weather we saw in April and May, 2020, Charlie Morgan has advised that James should not sow the trial fields until the moisture in the soil has increased. James had already sprayed the fields off with glyphosate, and disked; but is waiting until there is rain forecasted before he can power-harrow and sow. The average soil temperature on 28 May was 13˚ C.
After finally seeing some rain, and a bit of rain forecasted over the next few days, both trial plots were sown on 9 June. One field (9 acres) was direct drilled with ‘Brassica Express’ and another adjacent field (14 acres) was drilled with ‘Clampsaver’ (Italian/Clover and Kale blend). A link to a video of James rolling both fields on 10 June can be seen below.
The video below shows the field that was sowed with Brassica Express one week after drilling.
A Welsh Government approved and socially distanced visit was carried out by Charlie Morgan to Dolygarn in mid-July, to carry out establishment assessments on both reseeded fields (Brassica Express and Clampsaver). A rainfall simulator was also used for the first time on both crops. A rainfall simulator is used in soil science and hydrology to study how the soil reacts to rainfall. Natural rainfall is difficult to use in experimentation because the timing and intensity of rainfall events cannot be reliably reproduced. Using simulated rainfall events significantly speeds the study of erosion, surface runoff and leaching.
The simplest rainfall simulators are built to qualitatively demonstrate what happens to soil during rainfall events. These simulators are useful for explaining how fertilizer may run off as opposed to supplying nutrients to crops, as is shown in the videos below.
The videos below show how the fields look 35 days after drilling/sowing, with Charlie Morgan taking a sample of turf from each field to test in the rain simulator.
This video shows how the Brassica Express field looks 35 days after drilling/sowing.
This video shows Charlie Morgan taking a sample of turf from the Brassica Express field to test in the rainfall simulator.
This video shows how the Clampsaver field looks 35 days after drilling/sowing.
This video shows Charlie Morgan taking a sample of turf from the Clampsaver field to test in the rainfall simulator.
This video shows the rainfall simulator being tested, with a representation from both fields (Brassica Express and Clampsaver).
This video shows the rainfall simulator being tested for the third time, with a representation from both fields (Brassica Express and Clampsaver).
This video shows the soil structure of both pieces of turf (Brassica Express vs Clampsaver).