A brief introduction to J Wharton (Agriculture)
The farm covers 1,990ha with split sites, the majority of the land is in a block of near Swaby. The next biggest block is some 8 miles south at Skendleby and Dexthorpe of 370ha, with 285ha near Burwell and Haugham, then 170ha near Gunness and finally 90ha at Alkborough, so spread over nearly 65 miles end to end.
The farm has its own grain storage, with six outlying drying on-floor stores, and an 11,000 tonne, 14 silos, central store. The silos enable us to separate varieties and different qualities of crops and the system is automated in terms of drying and grain cleaning.
There are five full-time employees with two apprentices for staff succession with all arable operations kept in house. In addition there is a substantial amount of estate work, helping to keep everyone busy all year round.
Previously the rotation was based around alternate winter wheat and WOSR with small number of hectares of winter barley and vining peas. This has been altered to a five-year rotation incorporating spring barley, spring beans and spring wheat, with a focus on black-grass reduction and improving the competitiveness of winter wheat and WOSR.
In combination with rotational changes the farm is aiming to move to direct drilling, using a Sumo DTS. The idea is that reducing soil disturbance will reduce black-grass germination, so the system will be used potentially in combination with a stubble rake and roll.
Cultivations are currently based around two 485 Quadtracs, Vaderstaad TopDown, Rexius Twin, Rapide Jumbo Drill. OSR establishment is with a seeder on Simba SL, which also has a liquid fertiliser kit, however this may change depending on how we get on with direct drilling.