Update from Colchester Monitor Farm

Update from Colchester Monitor Farm:

  • Extremes of weather are increasingly determining farm management policies
  • 715mm rain in 2014
  • Continuing to explore use of cover crops, such as vetch and oats, costing £25-£80/ha
  • Ordered a Cross Slot drill which is seen as being the main part of the jigsaw in allowing the successful integration of cover crops with cash and the anticipated benefits in soil health and fertility.


Tom Bradshaw is a partner in his family farm and grows 1,485ha of combinable crops – malting barley, milling wheat, peas and beans - to the west of Colchester in Essex. Apart from a small area of owned land, the majority is farmed under contracting arrangements and includes a wide range of soil types. He has been involved in Recommended Lists trials, and appeared on the BBC Harvest programme in 2013. Tom was recently elected to the NFU combinable crops board.