Field Scale Precision Equipment

CHAP’s precision machinery is housed in two centres: at Stockbridge Technology Centre (STC), near Selby and at Newcastle University.

This machinery enables researchers and farmers to trial and test a range of regenerative farming techniques and strip-tillage approaches that could benefit crop and soil health. It also means that new plant protection and fertiliser products can be trialled to the highest levels of accuracy.

The focus is on ‘industry need’ and we are used to developing and delivering demonstration projects and innovative technology to farmers and growers, as well as running commercial field trials.



Several items of machinery make up CHAP’s precision agriculture unit at STC, all of which have GPS capability. These can be deployed independently or in unison depending on the project, and when coupled to STC’s RTK base station allow all farm operations to be completed with very high and repeatable levels of accuracy.

Overall, these items allow us to conduct high-specification field trials covering a range of novel crop practises, as well as high-precision spraying trials to support development of new plant protection products and fertilisers.

This precision machinery is available for hire to ensure repeatable GPS guided trials as part of the ongoing plant health and protection R&D work at STC.

The Field Scale Precision Equipment at STC includes:
  • A strip-till cultivator being used on projects that focus on minimum tillage and polycultural production and its multiple benefits to crop health. This machinery allows cropping directly into stubbles and ‘green understories’, with associated benefits to plant health and protection.
  • Two integrated seeders which, when coupled to the strip-till, allow for one-pass cultivation, drilling and fertiliser/pesticide operations, including co-drilling of multiple crops together.
  • Precision spraying equipment for high-specificity application which allows variable rate treatment of crops with plant protection products to optimise plant health with minimal product use. This is of significant benefit to any trial involving field-based product screening (e.g. pesticides, fungicides), allowing highly accurate and fully repeatable placement and deployment of test products onto experimental plots, and linking to the Biopesticide Facility.

Newcastle University

The Field Scale Precision Equipment at Newcastle University includes:

Crimper roller

Run in conjunction with a direct drill, the crimper roller is designed to roll, break and bruise cover crops. This reduces the need for chemical crop destruction and leaves a mulch to reduce further weed growth whilst providing a feed source. Using this method of crop destruction aids natural breakdown and weed suppression to achieve better cultural control. The crimper roller also supports crop destruction much closer to drilling, allowing a living soil to be retained.
Using this piece of equipment reduces reliance on herbicides and it can be used as part of organic, no-till or conventional systems.
Achieving two operations in one pass saves time and fuel, reducing soil compaction and maintaining soil biology. Each section of the roller is designed to prevent soil disturbance, which avoids antagonizing the weed seed bed whilst supporting no-till cultivation.

This mechanical weeder operates in established crops preventing weed seed dispersal by cutting the flowers and seed heads of weeds found above the crop. It effectively destroys thistles, nettles, charlock, docks and blackgrass, reducing the reliance on herbicides. This makes the CombCut ideally suited to organic farming systems.
Additionally, cleaning and drying costs at harvest are also lowered.
To achieve best results, the CombCut should be used after weeds have grown to a sufficient height and before stem elongation of the crop has taken place.

Avadex 24m mounted spreader for small seeds and accessories.
The Avacast GR1200 seeder is a 24m air-driven tractor-mounted spreader. Designed primarily for accurate chemical applications, such as Avadex and slug pellets, the unit also facilitates a range of options for small seed distribution. With its 1,200L hopper, the unit can be used to deliver cover and catch crops seeds in standing crops prior to harvest, or post-harvest over larger areas without waiting for the suitable weather conditions needed for conventional drilling. Further uses include under sowing, or early oilseed rape establishment.
Microcast (granular applicator)
Applicator addition to a drill for granular or powder application.
The Microcast granular applicator is designed to distribute granules or nematicides at planting, also providing the opportunity to distribute starter fertilisers, microgranules or other products at drilling. The applicator can be added to any drill to deliver products either within the drill slot, furrow or on the soil surface.

Nutri-Start (liquid applicator)
Applicator addition to a drill for liquid applications.
This 1000L liquid applicator is designed to distribute liquid fertiliser at planting or drilling. It applies any liquid product, including starter fertilisers, bio-nutrients, stimulants or biologicals. The applicator is moveable between drills so can operate as part of any farming system.

System Cameleon Drill (6m)

System Cameleon is ideally positioned for those farming with reduced pesticides. More than just a seed drill, the machine’s inter-row technique means it can also work between the crop rows after emergence. This supports new field applications such as inter-row fertilisation (seed or crop), companion crops or living mulches.
Although it is not a strip till, the machine gives the opportunity to cultivate, distribute or seed between cropping rows. Combining operations in one through one System (Cameleon) provides an opportunity for reduced machinery costs, greater precision and a delivery system to support reduced or alternative input use.

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