Earlier this month our Agriculture Department received a machinery demonstration from SUMO UK Ltd. Richard Hales, sales manager for Sumo, brought the machinery on-site for a demonstration and to start a trial on one of our fields.
Staff and final year Level 3 Extended Diploma in Agriculture students were involved in the machinery demonstration. As well as being able to see what the machinery is capable of, the demonstration linked in with the grassland module our students are currently completing.
Anthony Jones from Agriculture, along with Farm Manager Mark Yearsley, have teamed up with Richard Hales from SUMO to organise this grassland trial. The trial will investigate the possibility of more consistent grass growth, extended grazing season and reduced chemical fertiliser costs as well as better soil health and structure.
The trial is expected to lead on to further research of the improvements that the subsoil machine can bring to the grazing grassland at Reaseheath.
The field was split into three areas. The first strip has been treated with the subsoil machine provided by SUMO at a depth of 8 inches. The middle strip was left untreated. The final strip, at the far end of the field, was aerated to a depth of 4 inches by first year Level 3 Extended Diploma students on one of their practicals. This enable staff and students to compare and contrast the different treatments available to existing swards.
This research will be ongoing in Field 7 over at Old Hall and will be repeated in the autumn through to next spring 2015.
The public will in fact be part of this trial as in May Field 7 will be used as a car park for our annual Family Festival. This will put pressure on the field and compact it. Following the Family Festival the recovery of the field will be monitored and hopefully the area which has been treated with the SUMO machine will hold up to compaction the best.