Robert Herrod and his son James run a 460-acre organic farm in the Taunton area, as well as tending to a broiler flock of 80,000 birds.
The decision to remove chemical inputs from the soil reduced costs but also raised concerns about weed control, which had led to the Herrods removing wheat from the rotation in favour of hardier oat crops.
They found the Einbock Chopstar Cereal Hoe online and contacted David Coleman, at UK importer Terrington Machinery Ltd, who then talked them through the machine.
“It was the build quality that really impressed us,” James says. “We could see the strength of the frame, and that each hoe is mounted on it’s own wheel for contour following.”
The 6m, 24-row Cereal Hoe, the first in the UK arrived on the Herrods’ farm, purchased through local dealer Halse of Honiton at the end of March, and was put straight to work in 120 acres of winter oats. “It was exceptionally easy to set up; each hoe can be taken out of work by simply unclipping the spring and lifting the unit, and the working depth is controlled by a handle on each row.”
It was also specified with the Row Guard 500 Automatic Guiding System, another first in the UK. This consists of a camera, mounted above three of the rows, which uses two lenses to differentiate between the crop and the soil and, based on it’s position in comparison to the parameters manually inputted into the in-cab terminal, can hydraulically offset the machine by up to 50cm to adjust for drill drift.
“It’s incredibly accurate; I’ve stopped once or twice to check the machine is working correctly because I haven’t been able to see the rows myself, but every time I’ve found clean, lightly cultivated soil. The Cereal Hoe is far better than I expected” Mr Herrod concludes.
Each hoe on the Chopstar is individually sprung mounted to adapt to ground contours on a row-by-row basis. The Row Guard 500 system, is mounted above the machine and can hydraulically offset the machine by up to 50cm to adjust for drill drift.
The working depth of each hoe can be adjusted using a turning handle, and each unit can be taken out of work by unclipping a spring, lifting and locking it in place. Adjusting the spacing can be done by loosening a bolt and moving each unit across the frame.
The Herrods are operating at a depth of 1.5” to lightly the cultivate the soil and bring weed roots to the surface without damaging established crop roots.
Thank you for your fantastic service. We have received the stems and put them to work straight away.
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It was the build quality that really impressed us. We could see the strength of the frame, and that each hoe is mounted on it’s own wheel for contour following.