THOSE PLANNING to plant beans this spring should make sure their establishment systems loosen rain-sodden soils effectively to ensure good germination and early growth, one UK farm equipment firm's drill specialist has urged.

“With soils having endured a cold, wet winter, many will have become compacted since the autumn,” points out Sumo’s Marcus Ainley. “That means they are likely to require thorough loosening before drilling to improve drainage and soil structure.

“Ploughing-in isn’t really an option for spring beans, as it puts them in too deep. And modern varieties need greater sowing precision to achieve their potential.”

The ability while drilling to be able to loosen compacted soils that have suffered with harvest traffic and wet winter weather means drills equipped with leading loosening tines are well-suited to spring bean sowing, suggests Mr Ainley.

“Currently, only the Versadrill offers this feature, with a leading row of loosening legs that can work down to 300mm to alleviate compaction, eliminating the need for a pas with a soil-loosening cultivator.”

The disc’s coulters provide a maximum 300kg/disc working pressure, allowing direct drilling straight into stubble when suitable.

“This also means accurate seed placement down to 150mm (6in). With press wheels in front and behind each coulter guiding the disc, sowing depth is constant across contours and differing soil types that occur in the same field.”

The machine is further suited to bean drilling because of an ability to quickly alter the drill to sow in wide-spaced rows. “This can be done simply by reversing the top of the metering head,” Mr Ainley explains. “Industry research suggests there are benefits of wide-row drilling, including greater light interception and improved growth.”