Establishment

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Plant Population/Seed Rate

Planting density has a large effect on yield. for many years, industry recommendation for winter beans has been to aim for 18 plants/m².

Seed rates should be calculated using the following equation:-

TGW x target population   100

X
% germination   100 - expected field loss

Senova - Winter Bean seed rate calculator (Assuming 10% field loss)

beans 24

beans 24

beans 24

10% field loss usually applies to medium bodied soils or where conditions are reasonable and soil temperatures are average.


Seed quality and testing
Beans are often sown during late autumn into cold, wet soils. They are extremely sensitive to compaction and waterlogging which reduce root growth and can therefore influence water uptake in drought conditions. In poor soil conditions, seed quality is of great importance, allowing good emergence and establishment in often difficult conditions.

Bean seed is easily damaged during harvesting, drying and handling so it is important to ensure that the seed sown is of the best quality. Work at Nottingham University showed a 50% reduction in establishment in the spring of combine damaged seed compared with undamaged seed of the same seed lot.

Seed harvesting and drying
Seed drying at too high a temperature can cause damage to the seed and reduce the quality. Guidelines for seed drying are outlined below:

 
Initial seed moisture content (%) Maximum air temp oC
 
> 24 dried twice at 35-38 oC
 
< 24 dried twice at 38-40 oC
allow 2-3 days between drying phases
to allow moisture to equilibrate through
 

Maintenance of quality during seed drying

Equilibrium moisture contents of bean seeds at different values of relative humidity at 25oC

 
Relative humidity (%) Seed moisture content (%)
 

10
20
30
60
75
80
85

4.7
6.8
8.5
13.1
15.9
17.2
19.5
 

Pest damage
Bruchid beetles bore holes in the seed, which allow sugars to leak out of the seed during germination which encourage disease infection during establishment.

Germination and vigour seed tests
Germination measurements often bear little relation to field emergence since damaged seed which germinates well in the lab is prone to damping off diseases in cold, wet soils. Seed conductivity measures seed damage and is better related to field emergence. Conductivity measurements below 16 indicate healthy undamaged seed that should establish well in the field.

1. Conductivity test
Conductivity measurements are not a standard for beans although the test is routinely done on peas, requiring 100 g sample and taking 1 to 3 days to complete. Conductivity measurements will be conducted by NIAB although this is not a standard test and no interpretation of the results is offered. Research in Scotland, suggests that conductivity measurements below 16 indicate healthy undamaged seed that should establish well in the field, whereas seed with higher conductivity scores are more prone to damage from seed borne diseases and should not be sown into poor, wet seedbeds.

2. Tetrazolium test
The tetrazolium test is a rapid test used as a vigour score. It was designed for use on green beans and is currently also used on field beans. It involves soaking the seed in tetrazolium chloride, which stains the living areas of the seed red. It denotes area of mechanical damage or areas of the seed that may have been damaged by disease.
The test takes 1 to 3 days to complete and requires 150 g sample

Disease and pest testing
Standard seed tests for field beans include Ascochyta leaf and pod spot and stem nematode. Seed treatments are available for Ascochyta. Stem nematode results are indicated as either present or absent although more detailed scoring is available from PGRO and NIAB. Uninfected land should not be planted with seed at any level of infection. Where infection has been present in the past, low scores can be planted whilst moderate scores are fine if pulses or oats will not be planted in the same field for four years. High counts (equivalent to 1% in the PGRO test) should not be planted.

Seed Treatments

 
Product Chemical Use
 
Hy-TL Thiabendazole + thiram Ascochyta and damping off
 
Various Thiram Damping off
 
Wakil XL (OFF LABEL) Cymoxanil + fludioxinil + metalaxyl-M Downy mildew
 
Various Molyddenum Improved nodulation and nitrogen fixation
 

Sowing date
Beans should be sown from mid October to optimise yields. Earlier sowing may produce plants that are too forward and prone to frost damage whilst yields are reduced as sowing date is delayed.

Implications of plant population on crop husbandry
High plant populations may not decrease yield but they may reduce profitability through increased constraints and increased need for variable costs. High crop density increases the humidity within the crop canopy, which enhances the environmental requirements for Botrytis spp. and Ascochyta spp. development. Within a season or specific crop, disease pressure increases as plant population increases. The actual population at which disease levels increase will alter for different crops grown in different seasons but the requirement for (mostly preventative) fungicides will increase as plant population increases. 

Lodging pressure also increases with increasing crop density. The specific population at which the crop begins to lodge will differ in different sites and seasons. A similar experiment conducted in Elgin, near Aberdeen with Bourdon demonstrated a linear increase in crop lodging over a plant population of 14 plants per m-2.

The response of field beans to soil moisture may explain why soil conditions are an important determinant of yield. Research at Nottingham University during the 1980’s showed that crops established in compacted soils develop small, shallow root systems that exploit a smaller volume of soil and take up less water than those grown in a well structured soil. Yields were reduced by up to 15% in experiments over a number of seasons. Winter beans are suited to soils with good water holding capacity and generally yield better in heavy clays than on light, drought prone land.

Soils and Cultivations

Soils
Winter beans require a good root system, normally rooting to about 1 metre. They are sensitive to poor soil structure, suffering from waterlogging and constriction of root growth. An ideal soil would comprise a well-drained chalky boulder clay although this is not restrictive as some new varieties have shown adaptability to a wider range of soils than previously experienced.

Cultivations and Crop establishment
Because winter beans are drilled late in the autumn, soil conditions are often less than ideal and soil moisture levels are high. Ploughing in is often the only option with high soil moisture, however it is not the ideal particularly as beans normally follow winter wheat in the rotation, chopped straw ploughed down with the beans is the cause of many problems, forming an anaerobic layer in the soil. The alternative of baling the straw all too often causes soil compaction. Dependent on soil moisture content and soil type, ploughing may be coupled with furrow pressing which will provide a more level surface for spraying and harvesting. Post drilling cultivation can be used to level seedbeds, providing soil structure damage is not caused.

For more details on how to establish your winter bean crop go to the ‘Sowing method’

Tyre choice and usage
As Winter Beans are particularly sensitive to soil structure damage, the correct choice of wheel and tyre equipment, is essential.

Ideally a tyre manufacturer, eg Michelin should be used to advise on choice of tyre equipment for tractors, combines and all trailed equipment. Their representative will visit your farm, with a load cell to determine the weights of the tractors and cultivation, spraying and harvesting equipment on the farm and advise on the optimum tyre choice and working pressures required.

Tyre manufactures also provide valuable training courses for farmers, managers and operators.

Sowing Method

Machinery and establishing beans

Which establishment method is best ?


There are several ways of establishing winter bean crops.

Ploughing in – This is the traditional method, sometimes beans go in relatively late in the autumn when soil conditions are often less than ideal and soil moisture levels are high. Ploughing in is often the only option with high soil moisture, however it is not the ideal particularly as beans normally follow winter wheat in the rotation, chopped straw ploughed down with the beans is the cause of many problems, forming an anaerobic layer in the soil. The alternative of baling the straw all too often causes soil compaction. Dependent on soil moisture content and soil type, ploughing may be coupled with furrow pressing which will provide a more level surface for spraying and harvesting. Post drilling cultivation can be used to level seedbeds, providing soil structure damage is not caused. Crops however can be established by running the beans over the ground and then following on with the plough, they will withstand depths of 6-8 inches on heavy soil and up to 10inchs deep on the lighter free draining soil types. It is important to level the seed bed though as it can cause difficulties at harvest if left unworked.

Drilling – This is a more precise method and optimum establishment is achieved by deep drilling, following good ploughing. Some cereal drills are not capable of achieving the optimum of 5 inches (12.5cm) and . It is important to place the seed at the optimum depth and above any layer of straw. However it is a less weatherproof system than the plough. There is the risk that rain following ploughing, may make the soil too wet to drill.

Min-till – This is another method, which has become more popular in recent years. Single pass machines offer opportunity to sow beans at good depths enabling a different weed control regime using cheaper widespread herbicides. It is important that the coulters used cover the seed over as it is not desirable to leave open slits leaving the bean seed exposed to the elements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Generally we believe that the growers know best from sharing their own experiences on such matters , here follow some threads posted about the subject of sowing winter beans

What the growers say on the web (full details on http://farmingforum.co.uk),

Q -Best machine for planting Winter Beans
‘We drill Winter Beans with our Suffolk coultered Sulky combi drill after getting fed up with ploughing them in, nothing but weeds on heavy ground and often too thick and tall on the lighter soil.’
We wouldn't get the seed in more than 3ins deep, but if I can get them to that I'm happy. The soil at work is very variable, nothing very light and some heavy and often with our up and down fields it can change dramatically in one field.
Have to admit the combi drill is not ideal ,but its hell of a lot better than ploughing them in.
Never roll them in,we used to powerharrow after ploughing the beans in and not much used emerge where the tractor wheels went.
Using the combi we tend to leave drilling till a bit late so they not up too early but drilling late is taking a risk with the weather.

‘For the record, those going straight in with the shakerator thing cost about a third of the price of the plough based to establish. If it were more damp, they would all have pellets on. Other observations are that we need to modify the rear packer, as the cleats are too close together to run smooth on our clay. Ideally, we would be putting much more weight on the packer, and letting the drill float on the arms of the crawler, and then the depth would be more even - as we are not going deep, and harvest ruts result in the seed not being covered.
Lots of soil has been moved for the DD purists. I'm not overly sad about this, and very little trash has been mixed. Cant do less soil movement without going on wider rows, and for springs I dont think that is a good idea. Have seen them drilled with a subsoiler on 60cm rows and they never seem to get thick enough.
I think this is the way forward, but would certainly subsoil the autumn before - even doing that would still make it a lot cheaper than the plough based system, and best of all would keep the plough in the nettles.’

I built a specific bean drill with an old mf air drill mounted on a pigtail cultivator. Welder some seed coulter pipes on the back of the legs and it blows them done the back of the tine!!! Pukka job!

Scatter them on top with the drill and plough them in,row spacing won't matter they'll come up at whatever furrow width you plough at, mostly.

Plough, press drill with tine drill. remember no simazine so 3-4 inches is more than enough but you may benefit with better anchorage if you keep them deeper.
Wizard are a good variety. about bag and a half middle of October.

A neighbour has ploughed in on some lighter land. All have come, but it is noticable that mst have come in rows along the ploughing rather than evenly.
So, three choices:
Plough it properly, drill it with a decent tyned drill - simba miniflow great for beans and will happily pop them in over 4 inches deep, although on optimum plants per meter, you dont need to drill on 5" rows.
Scatter on top and plough. I'd do this if planting later and its wet. Harrow it level though.
Put in with shakerator type. This is what I will be doing, but to get it level and ensure good drainage, i will be crossing it with a subsoiler. Beans will only be goin in 4 or 5 inches, and will be going in "early" ie October.

Would like a specialist drill for them but for 60ac of beans
Maybe an old Carier at the right money?
Only ploughed in once but had good results 2t+
Always sow at 25cm. Last two yrs with Vaderstad (3m box) need to go slow (8-9kph) and check spouts regulary.
Before that with Kuhn Venta (suffolks) with good results.
Have had some disaster yrs with beans (.5t) but lst 3 harvests got 2t+ this yr 2.2tac. Growing for seed lst number of yrs and reckon the better quality seed has a lot to do with yield.

Our cultivator is a simple frame with shakerator legs on it. We run them on worn out points to reduce draft as we are NOT using the machine for any lifting - just to put the seed at depth and move as little as possible. They are on 30cm spacings. On top is a simba hopper to match our other drills. A pipe runs down the leg backs. It has a following packer. We drill with this at about 4 inches for winters, although we are not experienced winter bean growers. We drill at angles to the tramlines, then leave a day or so, then accross the other way with a cousins subsoiler working at depth to shatter the soil. Land is then rolled.

Q – Winter bean cultivations post plough down ?
Expect a few different answers, but what have all the winter bean growers found to be the most successful post plough down cultivation regime.

We cant guarantee getting the beans thru our Vaderstad due to their size, and as have major projects early summer wont be able to create a bespoke subsoiler type drill- so spread & plough down is our default. We dont have a Claydon furrow cracker or plough press, but have a big Simba trailed springtine, double press, powerharrow. Could we flatlift post ploughing? Last year cambridge rolled one well dried heavy land field with no detrimental results(but dont want to particulary have to rely on this method) the other is still in the furrow & far from ideal. Dont rely on beans as a major break, but if I could reliably level post ploughing, they have a place especially if too late for OSR .

We go in with a solo early then go back in with a bean drill we made. Based on pigtail tines at about4 or 5 inchs deep. Ploughing in works but you need to do something to the top otherwise your subsequent operations in the sprayer result in a rough ride

Always ploughed them in. I agree don't roll, beans don't like compaction. We use a furrow cracker and maybe level headlands with a set of springine if they are rough.

Plough them in early (mid-late October) with cracker. if your mauling you won't get a decent crop. Level surface using minimum work to do job.

Broadcast seed on with fert. spinner then plough them in.

I sometimes level just the tramlines with a power harrow, although not usually (just need to go a lot slower spraying).
Claydon drill, I would be tempted to try that, simple, puts them deep enough, provided no compaction, and minimal soil movement

Shakerator legs with hopper on top. Legs a 14" apart. Tube down back. Shove em in thin. Wait until next day and subsoil at an angle to loosen where the roots will go and leave the top flat. Last week sept with very low seed rate. Roll. Stubbles will be green with volunteers by then and as hardly any ground disturbed you can wap over with some roundup.

I think there is no ideal way - winter beans more of an artform than any other crop in terms of crop density. Get em too thick on heavy land and watch them grow 9ft high.

If you get them 9ft high, it may be more profitable to make them into silage

find someone locally with a claydon and get them to dd them in. It will be your cheapest option, leave a level field and much more even establishment

We used a contractors amazone primera last last year, it did a cracking job into solo'd clay, it has looked much better than ploughed in crops locally on same soil types

usually drill them at 125 to 175 kg/ha with the Claydon depending on seed count.

Once you have drilled them,you,ll never go back to the plough.They will need a lower seedrate,you will have tramlines[or use the old ones] and the field will be level and ready for spraying. Job done!

Expect a few different answers, but what have all the winter bean growers found to be the most successful post plough down cultivation regime.

We cant guarantee getting the beans thru our Vaderstad due to their size, and as have major projects early summer wont be able to create a bespoke subsoiler type drill- so spread & plough down is our default. We dont have a Claydon furrow cracker or plough press, but have a big Simba trailed springtine, double press, powerharrow. Could we flatlift post ploughing? Last year cambridge rolled one well dried heavy land field with no detrimental results(but dont want to particulary have to rely on this method) the other is still in the furrow & far from ideal. Dont rely on beans as a major break, but if I could reliably level post ploughing, they have a place especially if too late for OSR .


Your experiences would be appreciated.

We also plough down our winter beans but never had chance to do any post ploughing leveling always left in furrow always seems too wet, considering combi drilling a patch this autumn to see if it is any better!

Our beans are up to knee height and flowering hope they keep growing so we can get all the pods at the bottom!

If you are on land dry and light enough to subsoil after ploughing in winter beans, I would say why are you growing winter beans! If you are heavy land, then subsoiling will not level it off and will leave it all open - you will be chasing slugs all winter.

Personally, the times we do it, we work it with a pass with the power harrow. Donw want it sealing too tight, but want it level for spraying. Weather will finnish the job.

This year we are subsoiling stubbles post harvest if needed, then straight in with the home-build machine. Does a cracking job. When ploughing they always come in rows in line with the plough furrow anyway. Home built mahcine is quicker, more accurate for depth, less seed used etc. Its the way forward and the cost savings are well worth it. Winter beans are an art form, and I find that the results from a purpose-built machine are more even and easier to avoid over thick/thin crops

We used to run the power harrow over the plough to leave a level finish ,but we always suffered from compaction behind the wheels /tracks that we pulled the PH with resulting in lots of Wheeling's with no beans.

We now drill them with a Claydon and are very happy with the even establishment

A friend of mine used to put an old telegraph pole on a chain and then tow that around the field on top of the ploughing. He found it levelled the ground well enough to travel with the sprayer, but didn't consolidate too much.

Like the idea of a front hopper and pipes down the legs but just finding an old drill to make one, if only our land was light enough for telegraph pole to level it the land our beans go on is proper heavy!

 

I would like to see some pictures of farm made bean drills based around shakerators or subsoilers particulary interested in how / at what point you drop the seed down the leg. For more information go to http://farmingforum.co.uk

clip_image001

This was our prototype bean tube...
We have now welded on a second tube (directly behind this one and cut off at the same angle - not for beans but for fertiliser (placed under OSR) There was insufficient airflow (7 out of 22 outlets / now 14 out of 22) which caused the fert setted in the feed pipe from the front hopper.
The base of the pipe must be cut at an angle to prevent it blocking with soil (or mud.!)

Ours is very similar to Jim's but now using Simba coulter boots as the original tubes wore out and the Simbas are at least off the shelf rather than messing about in the workshop making new ones each year. I will post a picture as soon as poss.
how deep do you run the legs and at what depth do you put the seed in? We run ours about 6" deep and the seed ends up about 4".


We run our legs at about 8" and aim to drop the seed at about 6" which works when the soil flows back behind and catches the seed, but when it is wet the leg forms a slot and the seed can fall to the bottom of the slot (if you see what I mean)..

We had the same problem but have found that by upping the airflow we managed to get the beans to bounce off the bottom of the slot and they stick in the side of the slot made by the leg rather than in the bottom and at 6" we can get a good forward speed to make more tilth and a leveller finish, if we have to slow down it leaves it like a lunar landscape!

No problem with beans but the fertiliser was a bit of a problem its very dense and "sticky" which is why we had to doulble the airflow and change from a hydraulical fan to a PTO version which has got over all our problems.

What spacing do you have the legs at ? have yo left them in standard shakerrator layout or re arranged to a v formation to aid trash flow ?

The legs are set at about 18" apart - standard shakerator spacing (7 legs on a three metre frame) We never seem to get any problems with blockages due to straw more due to weeds like redshank or some of the "creeping" grass weeds
A neighbour has nine legs on a three metre frame and uses it to put in spring beans (with very good results) but he removes the straw and autumn cutivates with a tined cultivator

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I think the Accord will work OK so long as you have got the right sort of valve to operate the motor. It turns at 4500rpm and needs about 45 litres of oil/minute which was more than the Fastrac could manage (without overheating)
AG uses a system with a lower speed motor and belt drive which is much better if oil flow is a problem (however he would recommend a mechanical drive where possible)
We were looking at front hoppers at Agritechnica and the Kuhn/Rauch offering looked the best but was the most expensive. I don't know what will happen to the hoppers that Farmforce used to supply as they were pretty good and reasonably well priced

My own experience is mainly with genuine Accord or the generic Accord (Agrofinal, Farm Force, Vogel Noot) although I have done some work with the Kuhn front tank which is too closely based on a fert spreader hopper for my liking and lacks a twin outlet version to my knowledge. The Amazone front in my experience can have fan drive issues and can lack fan power in some cases, but does offer both single and twin outlet versions.

There are basically 2 types of tank :-

Single Metering Device, Single Fan units for a single product upto 4.8m - DF1 / FT1
Twin Metering Device, Larger Single Fan units for a single product upto 9m or 2 separate products independently (grain/fert, grain/slug pellets) upto 4.8m - DF2 (The Farm Force / Vogel Noot FT2 has 2 fans 1 per metering device)

These can then be combined with rear tanks or distributors to meter a number of different products at different rates to suite different applications. The only thing to bear in mind is that the std Accord metering device will meter fert but will wear out faster and there is a specific fertiliser resistant unit available

Both types of tank can be either direct PTO Drive but you obviously need a front PTO and need to check directions of rotation and may require a gearbox. There are then 2 types of hydraulic drive 1 where the hydraulic motor is straight onto the fan which is the hardest on the tractor hydraulics as you have a small motor spinning 4500 rpm which puts a lot of heat into the oil. The can be helped by doing all the flow control for the drive on the tractor spool and remove any flow control valve on the motor and by fitting coolers etc but this is least effective method. A better design which Farm Force used and subsequently A G use is where by a larger slower spinning motor 1000rpm is fitted onto the PTO input shaft and then the pulley and belts are used to get the fan speed of 4500rpm. This system puts less heat into the oil and then by doing as suggested above is the most effective method of hydraulic drive. The only hiccup is then some tractors like some fastracs do not have a suitable spool as standard (priority with flow control and a free flow return) and a flow divider kit has to be retrofitted to the tractor.

With regard to air flow the standard Accord transfer pipe is 110mm but in high flow applications for example fert this is available at 125mm. The std Farm Force / Vogel & Noot is 130mm. The benefit of the larger diameter pipe is reduced back pressure allowing seed / fert to flow easier. There are then 2 coulter hose sizes available although the majority is 32mm I/D the standard seed hose side The larger hose size is only used with special heads on maize drills and potato planters where a small number of rows require a lot of fert down single pipe. This larger hose can be used on bean drills removing the need for doubling of pipes as shown above but the majority use the std hose as they are farmer built machines out of what is in the yard or in a sale. The key with designing things like bean coulters is losing the air because if the seed is released 6' down there is little opportunity for the air to escape increasing back pressure making transfer difficult. The thing to do is drill holes in the vertical steel coulter pipe above ground level to allow the air to escape and then the seed falls to the bottom of the slot under gravity. Just make sure the hole is smaller than the seed and if all else fails drill a couple of holes per coutler. The other thing with this type of coulter is make sure the outlet has some form of anti block device so that when you drop it into work it doesn't block with soil.

these are from about 3 years ago when we got a contractor in for these wet london clay fields. the JD could of done with some new boots on as he made a meal out of pulling it.
weren't too impressed with the finish left behind either.

clip_image004clip_image005

Not suprised too much not impressed by finish no packer as I can see.
can see why people use the shakerator as basis for bean drill. But personally prefer idea of a flat lift based drill
The leg design on shakerator will in many cases tend to pull up more stuff to the surface. Whereas the flat lift leaves more down below. In wet going though the flat lift point with wings on can leave a smeared layer at working depth.
So back directly to thread I reckon a flat lift type type leg with a wingless point in wet times one often has for drilling beans


I take your point about the shakerator pulling up too many lumps and clods under certain conditions - we keep a supply of worn points for use when we are putting in beans or rape

Does anyone use those `bent leg `type legs instead of the usual straight leg type?see quite alot of the cultivator boys now make them,seems a better way of soil losening by moving it side ways rather than trying to lift the soil and leaving lumps on the surface,anyone tried them????


I don't think lateral soil failure is ever beneficial. If soil is being forced sideways into soil then its surely being compacted, whilst increasing the relative draught force.
The addition of a packer/roller can eliminate/reduce the surface lumps whilst allowing for soil loosening above the seed zone.

I think the wings could stay on if they prevent a "mole" like channel being made by the subsoiler point in the wet. That can cause the beans to rot in bad conditions too IMO.
Its a case of get the spade out on the day i suppose?

Other useful links
winter bean sowing in Essex
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpullPmb2wo

More threads from FWI space talking tackle forum
The weather at present makes you sit and analyse everything that you do. Has anyone got any experience with the Claydon Drill? Heavy land, light land, wet, dry, soft, hard etc. etc....
There'll go in most conditions due to the tines they use or lack of them. Although they can smear and leave big slots in real wet sticky stuff. Best drill I've used in wet stuff is a Horsch CO4/6. Direct drilling rape into wet heavy land to drilling very late winter Claydon only works if the cultivating point is shattering the soil. If it is leaving a greasy streak your crop will get waterlogged and die. Personally I wouldnt use a horsch for direct drilling. Would use a subsoiler drill on narrow points (cf shakerator points) to put beans in even into moist land.wheat straight after sugar beet harvest, the CO drill performed well.
You can find a lot of information on the british farming forum on these drills as there are a number of users that post on there. I have watched it for two seasons now and the claydon user opinions are very mixed. The nooks and crooks of it are soil conditions which if yours in in good health the drill will probably work but if your soils are not and very wet like everybody else's then it wont.
I have got a 3m Claydon SR drill which is the staggered tines version which I only use as a bean drill. All my wheat and barley is put in with a horsch and my oilseed rape with an applicator on the back of a simba solo. The SR running shallow on heavy soils to put cereals and osr in just does not work for me as our soils are quite plastiney if that makes sense. However for beans its great because you can run the whole machine deep which generates a lot more loose soil. However doing this takes all of the 250hp we have on front of it which for a 3m drill is excessive seeing that the same 250hp tractor pulls an 8m Horsch drill and 4m Solo ST.If I was you get out and look at some claydon drilled crops before you invest because its not a clear cut as claydon will make out to you. They themselves use a press and straw rake in front of the drill and bale a lot of their straw which they might not mention!

Which drill is best for beans?
Has anyone seen a really good winter bean drilling system out and about this year?We use a Horsch which is pretty good but have had to modify it quite a bit to get the results we want.Certainly it is useful to have pre-em marks and tramlines for spraying.Seed savings are approx 25% over the usual ploughing in method.

No, we are thinking of trying to make one based on a subsoiler/flat-lift 'type' tine, with a row spacing of about 14-18". We use our Kuhn direct drill at the moment, but it is difficult to pull once it gets wet, and then the slots don't close so well either.
A 4m old heavy duty cultivator with sprung tines on it which can run down to 10 inches if required. This is fitted with an old accord seed hopper on top and all the original pipes are run down the tines. the bean is delivered down a metal tube so that the plastic pipe does not shut up at 7-8 inches deep. Runs at 8 inches behind a 180hp tractor and can easily cover 50 acres in about 8 hours.
Are these 'Flexitine' type tines or are they heavier like a chisel plough legs?
Flexitine type ones. They only run down to 10 inches, if required, because we have worked the soil down to that depth. If you ran them straight onto stubble then they would only go down to about 4 inches.
Why go deeper than 4 inches? I still haven't drilled mine in yet, when I float the moore drill I will probably only get to 4", and thats after a shakerating. I expect it will be some time before I start.
I thought the idea behind drilling beans greater than 4" was to keep them out of the way of rooks
We have made one by mounting an old Accord tank and meter on to a Vibroflex. This is used for Spring Beans and the first time out was planting them 8". We quickly shallowed it but know that it will plant at least that deep. The drill has a marker system on it and is followed by the Rolls. The rolling tractor has a piece of scaffold tube across the front weights with a piece of chain dangling off each end to use as markers and is set that every third wheeling will be a 20m tramline.
This is the sort of thing we had in mind. Marking pre-em tramlines is a prob with all these systems, I like your idea its nice and simple and no electrics to be seen....

Because winter beans are drilled late in the autumn, soil conditions are often less than ideal and soil moisture levels are high. Ploughing in is often the only option with high soil moisture, however it is not the ideal particularly as beans normally follow winter wheat in the rotation, chopped straw ploughed down with the beans is the cause of many problems, forming an anaerobic layer in the soil. The alternative of baling the straw all too often causes soil compaction. Dependent on soil moisture content and soil type, ploughing may be coupled with furrow pressing which will provide a more level surface for spraying and harvesting. Post drilling cultivation can be used to level seedbeds, providing soil structure damage is not caused.