A Monitor Farm for Wales
When I heard about the Monitor Farm scheme, the first thing I thought was that Wales should have a Monitor Farm. I think it’s a good idea to move things forward: as other people come with their own ideas we can debate as a group all aspects of the farm’s management and decision taking. Our aim is always to get maximum potential out of the farm and this project will help us to take a step forward.
The main challenges for our business, disease-wise is septoria , and weed-wise, black-grass. We’ve had black-grass on this farm for 40 years and we’re managing to contain it, but not to control it. In general the weather we get here is quite favourable, although we do have a very narrow drilling opportunity. Once our soil gets wet, we’ve lost the window for drilling.
You’ve always got to keep an eye on costs, especially with the value of the output being so variable and unpredictable. We have to do everything as cost effective and cheaply as possible. We possibly do spend more on cultivations than we could do, but we’ve always got black-grass in the back of our minds and that’s something that we always have to strike a balance with. On costs of fungicides and other variable inputs – well that’s the reason why we took the decision a couple of years ago to join a buying group to buy inputs as cheaply as possible. And of course Stephen plays a key role as well, helping with strategy and buying decisions.