The Elaine Ingham Challenge

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
A lot of people from here were at Oxford yesterday (and more will be today, if she hasn't lost her voice) and we went home reeling with information and ideas about our soils. I won't try and summarise a full days talk in a paragraph, but you would get an idea of how powerful her message was in that by the end it seemed perfectly possible to grow a ten tonne/ hectare crop of wheat with no more inputs than a sprinkle of properly made compost and a squirt or two of (properly made) compost tea. Oh, and your soils need to be in the right condition.

Call me soft, but I'm afraid I've got to have a go at this! Who else is in? I'm talking a field rather than the whole farm...
 

Barleycorn

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Hampshire
I think that Elaine is inspiring, and last year I showed her round the farm. I had one block of Lucerne where I told her that due to taking three good cuts I had severe potash deficiency, so supplemented with a couple of hundredweight of sulphate of potash. She then told me that that would harm my soil, and if I left it 'the bugs' would sort it out. It is a very chalky thin soiled field, but we are now getting some worm activity, but K is very low still both available and unavailable on an Albrecht test. I intend to supplement again this year, but will leave a couple of acres, and will also do a couple of acres with compost tea to compare.
Elaine may be right, we have only been farming this way for 8 years, perhaps in time it will get better. Certainly the grazing ground and arable crops are doing well on compost.
 

Andrew K

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Essex
I think that Elaine is inspiring, and last year I showed her round the farm. I had one block of Lucerne where I told her that due to taking three good cuts I had severe potash deficiency, so supplemented with a couple of hundredweight of sulphate of potash. She then told me that that would harm my soil, and if I left it 'the bugs' would sort it out. It is a very chalky thin soiled field, but we are now getting some worm activity, but K is very low still both available and unavailable on an Albrecht test. I intend to supplement again this year, but will leave a couple of acres, and will also do a couple of acres with compost tea to compare.
Elaine may be right, we have only been farming this way for 8 years, perhaps in time it will get better. Certainly the grazing ground and arable crops are doing well on compost.

Are you organic?
Compost benefits both systems, Elaine needs to come up with some proof for her claims.
 

Fred

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Mid Northants
A lot of people from here were at Oxford yesterday (and more will be today, if she hasn't lost her voice) and we went home reeling with information and ideas about our soils. I won't try and summarise a full days talk in a paragraph, but you would get an idea of how powerful her message was in that by the end it seemed perfectly possible to grow a ten tonne/ hectare crop of wheat with no more inputs than a sprinkle of properly made compost and a squirt or two of (properly made) compost tea. Oh, and your soils need to be in the right condition.

Call me soft, but I'm afraid I've got to have a go at this! Who else is in? I'm talking a field rather than the whole farm...


Having only seen a video, and read about it on another thread , it could work,
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
A lot of people from here were at Oxford yesterday (and more will be today, if she hasn't lost her voice) and we went home reeling with information and ideas about our soils. I won't try and summarise a full days talk in a paragraph, but you would get an idea of how powerful her message was in that by the end it seemed perfectly possible to grow a ten tonne/ hectare crop of wheat with no more inputs than a sprinkle of properly made compost and a squirt or two of (properly made) compost tea. Oh, and your soils need to be in the right condition.

Call me soft, but I'm afraid I've got to have a go at this! Who else is in? I'm talking a field rather than the whole farm...


thinking exactly the same - it has to be tried even if thats only to prove it fails, I can't farm for the rest of my life think what if ?

microscope on order !
 
I remain open minded about this but am yet to be convinced, some good evidence would be useful. Having said that I will be trying out some things this spring and autumn just to see what happens.
 

Knockie

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
A lot of people from here were at Oxford yesterday (and more will be today, if she hasn't lost her voice) and we went home reeling with information and ideas about our soils. I won't try and summarise a full days talk in a paragraph, but you would get an idea of how powerful her message was in that by the end it seemed perfectly possible to grow a ten tonne/ hectare crop of wheat with no more inputs than a sprinkle of properly made compost and a squirt or two of (properly made) compost tea. Oh, and your soils need to be in the right condition.

Call me soft, but I'm afraid I've got to have a go at this! Who else is in? I'm talking a field rather than the whole farm...
I think we're going to try a few ac, probably just to replace fungicides.
 

martian

DD Moderator
BASE UK Member
Location
N Herts
Where do you start on this ,

How much compost did she think we would need to apply
Not a lot, three or four tonnes an acre to start with and an annual dressing of one tonne/acre once you've got your soil right...
Sound bizzare? There's a bit of looking through microscopes in the meantime.
 

Simon Chiles

DD Moderator
thinking exactly the same - it has to be tried even if thats only to prove it fails, I can't farm for the rest of my life think what if ?

microscope on order !

Going on the speed awareness course has ruined your chances. You need to put your foot down to match Jody's success! Then you could get yourself a mass spectrometer as well as a microscope like he has in his lab.

As with all things in life I think a compromise is always the best solution, so compost, cover crops and conventional fert and spraying hand in hand will give the best results.
 

Clive

Staff Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lichfield
Going on the speed awareness course has ruined your chances. You need to put your foot down to match Jody's success! Then you could get yourself a mass spectrometer as well as a microscope like he has in his lab.

As with all things in life I think a compromise is always the best solution, so compost, cover crops and conventional fert and spraying hand in hand will give the best results.

Speed awareness was such a success I got flashed again on the way home yesterday !

A chap that has helped me a lot with my driving over the years is a good friend of Jody's and raced against him in F1 - I'm going to see if he can get me a introduction

it also seems we share a similar opinion on speed awareness courses ! http://www.driving.co.uk/news/hows-my-driving-it-was-fine-when-i-was-the-f1-champion/
 

Jim Bullock

Never Forgotten
Honorary Member
I think that @Simon C proved that the "compost part of the equation" worked when we visited his farm for the NTA meeting back in 2009(?). We saw one of his fields planted with winter rape (in a very difficult season-wet) which half was treated with compost half was not...the difference crop and no crop. I am sure Simon C has posted photos of it in the past. It proved that compost will bring back soil life and boost crop production.
I had a visit form the late Guy Lafond from the Indian Head research centre in the early 2000's and he had been looking at compost tea's as a part of the no-till equation but he warned that you need to get the right "starter" or you could end up applying something that could harm your crop or worse still make it toxic.
Compost s very much part of our system (when I can get my hands on the right stuff!) but as yet I cannot quite get my head around compost teas.
 

BSH

Member
BASE UK Member
It was an interesting day for sure, but my impression is that I would need to do a fair bit more training to know what compost tea to put on when. I havent heard of bumper yields at Laverstoke who have been following Elaines advice for quite a while now???
 

Simon Chiles

DD Moderator
I think that @Simon C proved that the "compost part of the equation" worked when we visited his farm for the NTA meeting back in 2009(?). We saw one of his fields planted with winter rape (in a very difficult season-wet) which half was treated with compost half was not...the difference crop and no crop. I am sure Simon C has posted photos of it in the past. It proved that compost will bring back soil life and boost crop production.

I remember standing in the field looking at the rape and as you say the line to which the compost had been spread was very clearly visible, however I was standing next to @York at the time who suggested that the difference was Boron deficiency.
 

Richard III

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
CW5 Cheshire
It was an interesting day for sure, but my impression is that I would need to do a fair bit more training to know what compost tea to put on when. I havent heard of bumper yields at Laverstoke who have been following Elaines advice for quite a while now???

Exactly, she has been pushing these ideas around for a while now and if it was easy to do, there would be a few organic farmers out there showing us a clean pair of heels.
 

Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

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Update on the Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot

Written by Lisa Applin

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In July, we opened the applications window for farmers to join our Sustainable Farming Incentive pilot.

The Sustainable Farming Incentive is 1 of the 3 new environmental land management schemes. It sits alongside the future Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery schemes.

Through the Sustainable Farming Incentive, farmers will be paid for environmentally sustainable actions – ones that are simple to do and do not require previous agri-environment scheme experience.

We are piloting the scheme to...
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