Arable Farmer
North Yorkshire
I have been farm manager for a traditional estate in Dorset where farming is just one of many enterprises since 2011. Cropping area will be down to 2500 acres this autumn (2016), plus 300 acres of stewardship for the owner's grey partridge restoration project. Grassland is now let out having terminated a loss making suckler beef unit. A stubble to stubble contract for a neighbour comes to an end at harvest 2016, so the farm is being restructured accordingly. Soil types vary from chalk and flint only 9" deep to gravel, sand and onto clay at one end of the estate.

Cropping is feed wheat, spring malting barley, oliseed rape and now some linseed. Some one year leys for our grazier's dairy unit. There's a few fields with blackgrass that comes & goes but never leaves altogether. Sterile brome and wild oats are the main enemy, with poppies, ryegrass, cleavers & charlock getting in the way too. Slug issues seem to be getting worse so I now have 3 pellet applicators! Every time I tweaked the cultivations to remove a pass I just found myself putting another dose of sluggies on in a wet season. Even the chalk is getting worse. It is nothing like some of the clay land that some members have but it's an issue I'm trying to solve.

Establishment used to be via a Topdown & Rapid drill, with rotaional ploughing before spring barley. I have just bought a mounted 6m Claydon Hybrid drill, 12.3m set of rolls (fitted with an old Techneat seeder unit for Avadex, seed or slug pellets) and 15m Claydon stubble/straw rake. Straw used to be sold in the swath and organic matter reimported as sewage cake, FYM & green compost. Wet summers meant time lost with damp straw, slow clearance plus excessive traffic from lorries.

The aim is to chop all straw, rake the stubbles and use the Claydon drill. The new crop rotation is WW/SB/WOSR/WW/SB/Spring break (dependent on viable contracts available). Osr used to be 1/3 of the farm but it has just become too expensive to buy 1.5 t/acre of yield so it has now dropped to 1/6. Winter barley is being dropped as I don't need the early start to combining any more and grass weeds multiplied up in the third cereal slot. I may still grow some as an entry to stubble turnips if I can find a suitable grazier. The 50% spring cropping suits weed control and the owner's increasing habitat interest. Cover crops will feature more and more, with the eventual goal of ultra low disturbance drilling when the soil is ready. Livestock will probably feature rotationally, and I'm not just talking about grey partridges.

As an industry I think that we will be directed towards managing the environment with less emphasis on agricultrual production - being incentivised to enhance the quality of air, water soil and habitat, sequestering carbon and being guardians of the landscape. We are looking at forming a cluster group for Countryside Stewardship with several neighbours though the EU referendum result may postpone this. I use precision farming techniques that enable decision making. In the future I will decide whether or not to crop land depending on historical performance and futures prices.

Other information about one of TFF's more prolific keyboard warriors;

2005 - 2011 Assistant manager on a 4000 acre heavy land contract farming unit in South Lincolnshire, growing two milling wheats followed by oliseed rape, slugs and multi resistant blackgrass with a Quadtrac, Challenger and deep non inversion tillage system. Some sugar beet & potato/vegetable lets on lighter land. By the time I left, I was patch spraying fields where the worst blackgrass was as the crop had already died from the competition.

BASIS, FACTS, hence the agronomy interest. Masters dissertation on grain marketing. Petrolhead. Married to a chartered rural surveyor - not a land agent but involved in an umbrella organsiation for agricultural valuers.


Wow, I didn't realise anyone actually looked in here. I thought the DD section was for those that most of the membership thought "were a bit dodgy!" :p
I didn't realise I was in the dd section! Just came up on unread posts.
Where's the door? I'll head back to the livestock section


Arable Farmer
North Yorkshire
Now you need to pass the initiation process to be a member of the dd club Brisel .
You have to be able and want to sniff a handfull of soil every time you walk a field .
Strewth. At least your didn't mention a mankini! My soil smells of sewage cake, mostly.

Since I'm still putting Jeff Claydon's steel through the ground I'm not a "no-tiller" anyway.


I didn't want to tell the world you were spotted choosing a mankini in town the other day .
With the words direct drillers do it with little disturbance on it.

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How to get the most from your Winter Feed Wheat

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• Quick early development with erect growth habit
• Fast to reach GS30
• Later maturing, allowing more time to build yield SY INSITOR is a taller variety (with no PGR). However, it responds well to PGR applications to reduce height and lodging risk.



SY INSITOR produces large numbers of erect tillers. It has good tiller survival over winter and can carry these through the season to deliver outstanding yields. Its early development and speed to GS30 means nitrogen timing is key to feed the rapid early growth.


• Excellent resistance to major diseases
• Septoria tritici = 6.6
• Yellow rust = 7
• The main disease to watch out for is brown rust. An application of...