Aga farming season

Well, here we are sitting at the end of October, having endured the world’s longest grain harvest followed by the world’s shortest cereal planting season for ages.

It’s the first wet wet day in Herefordshire for as long as we can remember, probably since we started cutting wheat.

So, it’s now coming time for the first of our Monitor Farm meetings. The ‘chuckle brothers’ have had their fun and now have to stand up and be counted. Not only counted but judged,discussed and ridiculed.

Our first meeting is 9 November at the other Chuckle Brother’s farm, (Russell, if you were guessing), who although he set himself up to dance with me, Martin, through the next three years also recently picked up the Farmers Weekly Award for Contractor of the Year. Congratulations are in order as it is deemed the Oscars of the farming world. No doubt there will be a queue for a selfie.

It has been an easy drilling season here and, in truth, this year you could have planted it with a fiddle and a rake and got seed to grow. However, we have both been ‘trialling for Britain’ this autumn.

Russell: I have a try-out showing different establishment techniques from plough /combi-drill to direct drill, some variety plots, and early drilling try-outs and weed screens in conjunction with ADAS and also second wheat with and without fertiliser placement.

Martin: Meanwhile back at mine we have tried manure pre-drilling and seed dressing on second wheats over different planting dates and sites. Also we have a secret black-grass try-out ongoing, but we best not mention it as it’s secret.

We’re looking forward to welcoming the sandwich-munching hoards to our first meeting where we hopefully will find our feet (and maybe our wellies). We’ll be looking at establishment methods and then machinery costs with AHDB’s own Harry Henderson, who will start the process of machinery cost evaluation on our farms.

Please come and join us as we enter the discussion and let’s begin the journey towards 2020 vision.

Find out more about the Hereford 2017 Monitor Farm

Anthony Fitzherbert quote

Martin Williams and Russell Price

Martin Williams and Russell Price

Russell Price and Martin Williams are between them hosting the new Monitor Farm for Herefordshire. Included in their rotations wheat, barley, peas, beans, oilseed rape and potatoes. Martin farms 800 ha arable crops on the banks of the River Wye at Fownhope, and also has a small flock of Jacob sheep and rents out land for grazing. Martin’s particular challenges are trying to decrease his cost of production, be successful in a very competitive market and to efficiently manage crops with limited chemical availability. On the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border, Russell Price’s arable farming operation includes 360 ha farmed in-hand, 290 ha contract farmed and 130 ha potatoes grown. The challenges faced by Russell’s business include black-grass, improving soil health, efficiency of crop nutrition and building a resilient farming business to withstand volatility. Working together to form this joint Monitor Farm, Russell and Martin are confident that this collaboration will allow them to make comparisons in their businesses, thus providing a wide array of topics around which local farmers can share knowledge and best practice.

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