DIRECT strip seeding specialist, Claydon, has expanded its dealer network in Scotland with the appointment of Fife-based J Low Agri Services.

Based at Kelty, it will now handle the sale and service of the full range of Claydon Opti-Till products in Stirlingshire, Fife, and Perthshire.

That system, which provides a holistic approach in delivering consistently good, high yielding crops at low cost, was a factor that attracted Jimmy Low to the brand.

At the heart of Opti-Till is the Claydon Hybrid drill, which incorporates a unique, patented leading tine technology which delivers exceptional versatility across a range of climatic conditions, soil types and crops.

It recently launched a new range of lower disturbance ‘LD’ options which can be specified on new mounted and trailed versions of its Hybrid drills, or retrofitted. The LD set-up consists of a twin-tine unit and optional double front cutting discs, allowing it to drill directly into stubbles, chopped straw, cover crops and grassland.

In addition to a comprehensive range of tractor-mounted and trailed Hybrid drills from 3-8m wide, Claydon's product line-up includes straw harrows from 3m to 15m wide, the 6m TerraStar light rotary cultivator and TerraBlade inter-row hoes, from 3m to 8m.

That latter addition to the Claydon range helps growers to control weeds in band-sown crops without relying solely on chemicals, with significant cost and environmental benefits.

Opti-Till is viewed by Mr Low as particularly relevant now because it provides significant opportunities to save money, combined with massive improvements in soil health and structure plus lower carbon emissions. The environmental benefits it delivers are also in line with likely future requirements of the Basic Payments Scheme.

Its advantages were particularly apparent over the past year, when the Opti-Till system established crops successfully in conditions which were either too wet or too dry for other methods to operate. This led to a surge in enquiries and orders from existing and potential customers, said Claydon.

Jimmy Low established his business in 2002 and moved to its current premises on the Kelty Industrial Park, in 2015. A main dealer for Case IH, together with many other well-known agricultural machinery brands, J Low Agri Services provides an all-round agricultural service to customers in an area which extends from Forfar in the north and Crieff in the west to just south of Edinburgh.

Currently employing eight staff, it is continuing to thrive and grow. “Taking on the Claydon franchise is an exciting and timely development for our business because many farmers are looking to improve soil health and reduce production costs, of which crop establishment is a major part,” Mr Low said.

“During a visit to the Claydon factory and farm in Suffolk just before harvest, the enthusiasm and commitment of the staff were very apparent. We were also able to see the high standards to which Claydon products are manufactured and the excellent crops which the Opti-Till System produces.

“This is a mixed farming area, so it is important to offer machinery which is versatile and effective. The Claydon range suits the needs of farming businesses in both the arable and livestock sectors, many of whom are currently using plough/combi drill or min-till methods to establish arable and forage crops but are considering a more cost-effective, efficient, and timely approach.

“Farmers are understandably cautious given the current political and economic uncertainty, but we feel that Claydon will prove a popular addition to our range because of the numerous benefits which Opti-Till provides.

"As part of our commitment to the brand, we have already invested in a 3m Claydon Hybrid drill and carried out several on-farm demonstrations for potential customers.”

Claydon’s Sales Manager for the UK and Ireland, Rob Dunk, adds: “We are delighted to welcome Jimmy as a Claydon dealer. The company’s appointment represents a further significant step forwards in offering our products through a network of carefully selected, enthusiastic, professional dealers.

“Farming businesses have little influence over input costs or end prices but can dramatically reduce production costs and increase yields by adopting a much more cost-effective, efficient approach to crop establishment.

"Innovative systems, like Opti-Till, provide a financially and ecologically attractive alternative to conventional full cultivations and min-till systems which are time consuming, inefficient, expensive, can over-work the soil and destroy its structure.”