We are an arable farm producing predominately combinable crops. Winter wheat is the main crop, grown primarily for milling and export, with some for livestock feed. Barley is grown for both stock feed and malting, oilseed rape for margarine and cooking oil, beans for animal feed and poppies complete the rotation. Recently we have also tried to grown soya in the rotation, after a couple of seasons we decided that it wasn't a suitable crop for us.
We follow a six year crop rotation with autumn and spring sown crops. This spreads the workload, reduces weed, disease and pest problems and encourages wildlife. We have a green waste compost site and anaerobic digester on the farm, run by Severn Trent Green Power, providing compost and digestate, good sources of nutrients and organic matter of particular benefit on our thinner and heavier soils.
In the recent past the farm has tended to use a minimum tillage approach, this however has changed recently with the re-introduction of some ploughing to help with weed control. Generally land will be cultivated twice, once with the Topdown followed by the Carrier prior to drilling. Seed will then be planted into the seed-bed with the Sprinter drill and rolled to consolidate the seed-bed. The establishment of oilseed rape and beans is carried out without cultivations, direct drilling the seed into the stubble of the previous crop. The Rogator sprayer is then used to apply liquid fertiliser and chemicals during the growing season. The IDEAL combine is then used to harvest the crops which are carted back to storage on the farm using tractors and trailers. The main machines used for field work are all equipped with RTK Topcon systems, this is mainly used for guidance of the machines but is also used for precision / variable rate applications.
Currently there are three family members working on the farm with one full-time member of staff; we also employ one / two harvest workers and in the past have employed a Harper Adams University placement student.