Direct Drilling

(no till, minimum tillage, stale seed bed, limited tillage)

Direct drilling is what we do when we are attempting to cut down ton tillage while drilling in seed. We are able to practice direct drilling with new understanding, herbicides, and experience gained.

We have successfully direct drilled the following crops in California in the last 20 years: Rice, Wheat, Barley, oats, Alfalfa, Irrigated pasture, Cover crops, Dryland pasture, Turf and Erosion control and wildlife plantings.

We have used a variety of techniques in direct drilling crops.

  1. Season change
    Without using herbicides, direct drilling when winter crops are maturing planting rice organically in the spring. Later harvesting the winter crop over the top of the seedling rice crop.
  2. Grazing hard
    Setting back existing pasture, and then direct drilling new cool season or warm season grasses/legumes to improve existing pasture.
  3. Converting existing pasture to new improved pasture
    Spraying with Round-Up herbicide killing existing pasture grasses and direct drilling in new pasture.
  4. Stale Seed Bed
    Planting rice into ground that had been prepared the fall before or recently leveled. Using a herbicide to kill existing vegetation and then direct drilling rice into field at 80-100 pounds per acre of dry seed.
  5. Cover crop
    Direct drilling new crop into standing cover crop (don't mow, as it can plug drill) e.g. organic rice, sudangrass.
  6. Rangeland
    Direct drilling new seed and fertilizer into deep soils for long lived clover and perennial grass pastures.
  7. Re-planting stands of alfalfa within a year of original planting- direct drilling directly after harvest of hay. Herbicide may or may not be needed.
  8. Direct drilling pasture into sudangrass stubble in the fall.
  9. Direct drilling sudangrass into stubble of winter forage or hay crop.
  10. Other
    California's unique climate allows us to do many different direct drilling jobs- so we have learned from our mistakes over the past twenty years.
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