Dale Drills at Groundswell 2018

Dale Drills will be out in the drill field at Groundswell, showcasing their products alongside 11 other manufacturers. We caught up with James Dale, second generation of the family no-till farm and drill manufacturing business to see what’s new since last year, and why they are excited to be returning to Groundswell 2018.

In a nutshell, what makes your company stand out from the crowd when it comes to Direct Drill machinery?
As a no-till tine drill manufacturer we are in the minority as many tend to be disc drills. I’ve always been convinced tines are the way forward when direct drilling as they don’t need the weight to hold them into work like a disc does. This means we can produce much lighter drills which not only avoid compaction but are also easier to pull meaning a cheaper, lighter tractor can be used.

This is the third year you’re demo-ing at Groundswell, any innovations that you’re keen to show us this year?
We are always looking at ways of improving our machines as well as making them more versatile. Over the last few years we have developed our Cover Crop Cutting Disc which bolts on to all existing drills to ‘Cut’ a path through very thick cover crops and then allow the tine coulter to place the seed into clean soil. We have also developed a Banded Coulter which fits to all existing and new machines. Manufactured from durable steel and Tungstun carbide faced, the banded coulter can place fertiliser around 20mm deeper than the seed which is banded over approx. 90mm.

Tell us a little bit more about the family business?
Dale Drills was started by my father Edward in the late 90’s following a brief period of owning a farm in Canada where he saw the potential of No-Till drills. Edward imported No-Till drilling assemblies from Canada and manufactured a drill around them to use on his farm in the UK. It was a great success and it wasn’t long before other farmers from the UK and Europe wanted him to build them a drill.
Since then we have developed our own drilling assembly which we proudly manufacture along with most of the rest of the components of our drills in North Lincolnshire, UK.
We’ve worked hard to ensure our drills are versatile enough to work in all seedbeds, however the benefits we have seen on our own farm, where we employ a No-Till system, mean we are devoted to producing No-Till drills first and foremost.

The overarching theme for this year’s Groundswell Show is ‘Health’; what does your machinery offer to a farmer trying to prioritise his or her farm’s health?  
Soil health should be at the top of all farmer’s agendas as it is our single greatest asset and dictates the success or failure of our businesses.
Too often I hear of farmers who have to cultivate soils in order to enable their drill to run, leaving me asking who is really managing the farm, the farmer or the drill! The versatility of the Dale range of drills keeps the farmer in control allowing them to execute the best cultivations strategy for their soils
Finally; what are your team looking forward to seeing at this year’s Groundswell Show?
This year will be our 3rd Groundswell Show and it’s the ‘buzz’ around the show that keeps us coming back. It’s obvious from the farmers we talk to at Groundswell that they are challenging their own practices and are excitedly considering other methods. It’s that enthusiasm that makes it one of the best shows on the circuit to attend.