BRITISH strip tillage drill manufacturer Mzuri is preparing to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the popular Pro-Til drill in 2021. Developed by farmer and engineer Martin Lole on his farm in Worcestershire, the Mzuri strip tillage system has since gone on to export to more than 20 countries worldwide, spanning four continents.
From its first appearance at Cereals in 2011, the Pro-Til has won multiple awards across the UK and Europe for its contribution to sustainable agricultural innovation. Including the IAgrE Ivel Award for the best new innovation at LAMMA 2018 for the Mzuri Pro-Til Xzact, which won the award for demonstrating the most positive contribution to the environment.
But whilst innovation is at the forefront of the Mzuri range, it is the Pro-Til’s roots at its home farm in Worcestershire that focuses its core message.
“I am fortunate to have seen first-hand the effects that converting to a single pass establishment method can have on a deteriorating arable unit,” says Mr Lole, speaking of his conversion of Springfield Farm to strip tillage in 2010.
“When I first purchased the farm in 2005, I set about ploughing and combination drilling the Evesham Lias Clay, but after rising input costs and dwindling yields it was clear that this approach was no longer financially viable.”
From there, with a background in engineering from starting the hedgecutter company Spearhead, Mr Lole was inspired to develop a better way to manage his farm and improve its margins. Focusing on the area that was causing the greatest concern, he developed the single pass drill now commonly known as the Pro-Til to consolidate seedbed preparation, fertiliser application, and seed distribution into a single pass.
“Under conventional establishment methods we were burning fuel and wearing metal like it was going out of fashion. Not to mention the huge power and labour requirements that were needed to create a blanket seedbed,” said Mr Lole.
“Engineering a means of seeding directly into stubble whilst targeting tillage to promote quick establishment at a fraction of the cost has been the driving force behind the Pro-Til’s development ever since, which has gone on to become a world-renowned solution for single pass establishment.”
Shortly after the Pro-Til, a succession of new additions to the range followed, including the Rezult stubble rake and the Rehab sub-soiler. “Over the last 10 years we have refined our products whilst staying true to our message. Establishment doesn’t have to cost the earth – in more ways than one!
“The improvements to soil health seen on our own farm have demonstrated the importance of reduced cultivations for not only practical reasons but also in promoting healthier, more productive ‘factory floors’. Our soils are now much more resilient to changing weather patterns and are able to support higher yielding crops in difficult seasons.”
It is this universally resilient approach that makes it is easy to see why the Mzuri system has been well received across the world. From the harsh winters of Eastern Europe, the short growing season of Scandinavia to the moisture deficit in Africa and challenges faced by New Zealand and the UK, the Pro-Til combines excellent design and agronomic merits to produce unparalleled seedbeds now and in the future.