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FARMERS

FIRST

Issue 44 – Summer 2017

CEREALS Special Inside

SWEETCORN SUCCESS IN SUSSEX

Mark Stroude

Moving from a farm in Cambridgeshire to one in East Sussex because the climate is better for growing sweetcorn might sound extreme, but that is just what Harold Stroude did in the 1960s.

Today, his son, Mark, carries on the tradition of producing the crop and Culver Farm Produce Ltd is one of only a handful of suppliers in the UK. Harold was a Nuffield Scholar and went to the United States to study fieldscale vegetable production. It was on this study tour that he became interested in sweetcorn, and on his return to his family’s farm in Cambridgeshire he started growing the crop. His early experience led him to conduct a detailed study of climatic conditions to try and improve its chances under UK conditions. The commercial angle came about when some US Air Force personnel saw it growing on the farm and asked if they could buy some. There were several

American air bases in the area at that time and many of those stationed there were homesick. Sweetcorn reminded them of maize crops back home. “My father was a brilliant farmer but not into ‘marketing’ and might never have developed the crop’s commercial potential had those US airmen not approached him,” Mark states. MAKING THE MOVE The results of Harold Stroude’s research led him to the 80-acre Culver Farm at Barcombe in East Sussex, which remains the centre of the business today, even though it now encompasses some 500ha and is well diversified. Spread over six separate farms within a four-mile radius, it even includes an area of osier beds which supply willow (Salix  Continued on page 5


Accounting for your success

Greenwood House, Skyliner Way, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, IP32 7GY Telephone: (01284) 752313 bury@whitingandpartners.co.uk

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Chatteris Suite L22, South Fens Business Centre Fenton Way, Chatteris, Cambs. PE16 6TT Telephone: (01354) 694111 chatteris@whitingandpartners.co.uk

We are an independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisers. Founded nearly 90-years ago to service the needs of East Anglia’s farming communities, today we offer traditional accountancy practice alongside many Time is running out for those draw some perverse specialist and niche services towho clients pleasure in leaving their annual tax return until the last around the UK and overseas. minute of January 31 each year because in just over two

MAKING TAX DIGITAL - ARE YOU READY?

years time the taxman will require quarterly information in digital format. Don’t look at the date and breathe a sigh of relief. For some, including the self-employed and landlords, that quarterly reporting is planned to begin earlier in April next year.

Services & Sectors: Agriculture

The Making Tax Digital, MTD, programme was removed from the 2017 Finance Act so allowing the Bill to pass through parliament following the Prime Minister’s decision to call a ‘snap’ election. It is expected that it will be reinstated as soon as a new government is formed. HMRC’s timeline is unlikely to change and even though it has been labelled as ‘ambitious’, it represents the biggest overhaul in the history of the UK’s taxation system.

Cloud Accounting Construction

together with links to Sage and Farmplan are already hosting huge numbers of businesses and allow them to access up-to-date accounting information at any time, from any device, and anywhere with an internet connection.

are urging our clients to speak to Corporate Finance & TaxWe us as soon as possible so that we can

Private Client Tax

Property Investments

The question must be asked. “Are you ready for this massive shake-up of the taxation system to turn HM Revenue & Customs into one of the world’s leading digitally-advanced tax administrations?”

Technology

Wealth Management

Over the last few months, we have been taking a lead with our MTD seminars guiding our clients and guests through the implementation timeline and, most importantly, offering solutions for those unused to quarterly returns.

recommend the best way forward for them. In many cases this is the introduction of one of our endorsed electronic software products as soon as possible even from the start of the current tax year. This allows 12-months of product familiarisation so that any issues can be resolved prior to the mandatory implementation date.

Cloud solutions remain in pole position and subscription levels will suit all types of businesses providing seamless interaction with accountants and advisers plus the possibility to be as online and digital as you like with a world of apps and add-ons at your fingertips. The Cloud also allows your accountants to securely and remotely access identical data so they are on hand to offer immediate support, check your accounts at any point and assist you in extracting the necessary information required to be submitted online to HMRC.

Contact us to speak to a specialist and get a free initial consultation The most radical proposal is the introduction of quarterly reporting. Businesses or their agents will need to have software capable of interacting with HMRC’s systems in order to file those reports. The greatest challenge will be to those that do not already operate an electronic bookkeeping system. Cloud Accounting packages including Xero, Quick Books and Landmark

Ely George Court, Bartholomew’s Walk, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB7 4JW Telephone: (01353) 662595 ely@whitingandpartners.co.uk Kings Lynn Norfolk House, Hamlin Way, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 4NG Telephone: (01553) 774745 kingslynn@whitingandpartners.co.uk March The Old School House, Dartford Road, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 8AE Telephone: (01354) 652304 march@whitingandpartners.co.uk Mildenhall Willow House, 46 St. Andrews Street, Mildenhall, Suffolk, IP28 7HB Telephone: (01638) 712267 mildenhall@whitingandpartners.co.uk Peterborough Eco Innovation Centre, Peters Court, City Rd, Peterborough, Cambs, PE1 1SA Telephone: (01733) 564082 peterborough@whitingandpartners.co.uk

Ramsey 108 High Street, Ramsey, Huntingdon, Greenwood House, Greenwood Cambridgeshire, PE26 1BSCourt Skyliner Way, Bury St. Edmunds Telephone: (01487) 812441IP32 7GY ramsey@whitingandpartners.co.uk St Ives Unit 14, Raleigh House, Compass Point Business Park, Founded 90-years ago, St Ives.almost Cambridgeshire. PE27 5JL Whiting & Partners is an independent Telephone: (01480) 468931 firmstives@whitingandpartners.co.uk of accountants and business advisers with 12 offices across the Wisbech eastern 13 Partners, 12 &region. 13 The Our Crescent, Wisbech, fourCambridgeshire, Associates andPE13 150 staff 1EH offer traditional accountancy practice Telephone: (01945) 584113 wisbech@whitingandpartners.co.uk alongside many specialist and niche services.. For more information call 01284 752313 Bury St Edmunds | Chatteris | Ely | Huntingdon Kings Lynn | March | Mildenhall | Peterborough Ramsey | St Ives | St Neots | Wisbech

Richard Alecock T: 01638 712267 E: richardalecock@whitingandpartners.co.uk

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CEO Comment 3

WE’RE MOVING FORWARD AND WE’RE HERE TO HELP At a time when farming is under increasing cost and legislative pressures, rest assured that Fram Farmers understands the challenges and is doing everything possible to help. I’m delighted with our Arable Inputs Team and member feedback is very positive. Laura Buckingham’s knowledge of agronomy, her supply sector experience, professionalism and enthusiasm are inspirational. She understands what members and independent agronomists need, whilst working with manufacturers and distributors to create shared value. The team, which has been strengthened by the appointment of Ross Dawson as Arable Inputs Specialist, has done an excellent job this season. Just after the Brexit vote, for example, the market for fertiliser products dropped sharply, by around £50/t, offering a buying opportunity, so we encouraged members to order early. We also purchased a significant percentage of the fertiliser pool commitment at excellent prices. Our Crop Marketing Team is doing a sterling job, the Oct-Dec wheat pool and OSR pool generating marketleading returns, largely due to our strong partnership with ADM Direct. If you don’t trade combinable crops with us, I urge you to get in touch. Tom Coulter, who recently joined as a Graduate Trainee, is contacting members to highlight the benefits. The Machinery Department is showing solid growth and has done a good job of promoting manufacturers’ incentive schemes. The Case IH Fleet Scheme continues to improve and the 40 members

who purchased new Case IH machinery in 2016 received a collective rebate equivalent to the price of a new mediumhorsepower tractor. EXCELLENT VALUE Our Livestock Department continues to move forward by delivering excellent value and tangible benefits. They have the right knowledge and accreditations, understand the market, appreciate members’ requirements and negotiate very competitive terms with suppliers. Fuel is another area where significant progress has been made, with prices and delivery times improving considerably. Electricity is a key input and for most potential members the saving on this covers their membership, often many times over. Devon pig producer Andrew Freemantle, profiled in this issue, is a good example. Our Electricity Team looks after some 6,000 accounts, providing significant financial benefits and saving members considerable time and aggravation in dealing with suppliers. Knowledgeable, professional staff are fundamental to delivering the service and value which Fram Farmers provides, so we invest significantly in training, such as our peer-to-peer initiative which shares best practice and ideas between departments. By investing in people, Fram Farmers provides an excellent place to work and attracts the best staff. CONNECTING WITH THE PUBLIC With far fewer people earning their living from farming and related industries, the wider connection with the public has been lost, and even those who live in villages often have no knowledge of what goes on

We are looking forward to seeing you at this year’s Cereals event

in the surrounding fields. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of portraying the farming sector in a positive light, so we support initiatives which encourage greater understanding of our industry and the career potential it offers. The Norfolk Spring Fling, an educational day during the Easter school holidays, allows children to learn more about food, farming and the countryside. The Suffolk and Essex Schools Days also enable school children to learn about food, where it comes from and how it is produced. At our annual two-day review, the Fram Farmers Board discussed a range of topics, including the impact of Brexit, need for consolidation and increasing professionalism in farming, impact of IT, opportunities to farm land purchased by outside investors and how our industry might look in 2030. Legislation is a key area and we must ensure that any which impacts our industry is based on scientifically sound information rather than being a knee-jerk reaction to public misconceptions. The banning of neonicotinoids highlighted what can happen, and the loss of glyphosate would drastically reduce our ability to produce traceable, safe, affordable food. It’s so important to get our side of the story across that, under the umbrella of Saturn Agriculture, I’m working with other cooperatives so that we can collectively offer advisers, politicians and legislators a completely independent, technically sound source of information which will at least give them the opportunity to base their decisions on reliable science. With uncertain times ahead, there’s no question that Fram Farmers has a pivotal role in ensuring that your best interests are fully represented. Richard Anscombe, Chief Executive, Fram Farmers

Fram Farmers, Station Road, Framlingham, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP13 9EE Tel 01728 727700 Every precaution has been taken to ensure that the material published in Farmers First is accurate at the time of printing. For further details about any of the information featured in this edition please call Sophie Clarke at Fram Farmers on 01728 727700, or Charles Macdowell at Land Communication on 01473 353613.


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Member Profile - Culver Farm Produce 5 Continued from page 1

SWEETCORN SUCCESS Coerulea or Salix Alba) to Gray-Nicolls, a company in Robertsbridge, East Sussex who use it to make some of the world’s finest cricket bats. “Farming in East Sussex was traditionally based on producing milk and getting it on a train to London,” Mark adds. “Nowadays half the inhabitants of East Sussex get on a train and go to work in London. The level of sympathy with farming locally is not high and with a chaotic road infrastructure it makes running our type of business quite a challenge. “On the plus side, it’s a good area for growing sweetcorn, which needs daytime temperatures to be as high as possible. While other regions of the UK might have a higher average temperature throughout the growing season, they don’t reach the peaks that we have here. That said, this really is as far north in the world as you want to grow sweetcorn on a commercial scale, and the varieties we use must be vigorous and establish quickly to make it viable. We must produce a saleable cob with good eating characteristics, and retailers are increasingly concerned with the appearance of the cobs. “Until the 1980s the UK sweetcorn season only lasted from the very end of August until the arrival of the first frosts. During that decade, a lot of work was done on covering crops with polythene to get them started early, which brought the season forward by a month and allowed harvesting to start at the end of July. “We now grow 230ha of sweetcorn which is sold to packers, wholesalers and supermarkets in the UK, with a small amount retailed through our farm shop. That’s about the maximum area we can manage and sell. Demand tends to be consistent from year to year but I don’t see it increasing by a huge amount, unlike UK-grown asparagus or strawberries for example which are increasingly sought after. THE MARKET FOR SWEETCORN “Sweetcorn is a bit of an odd crop. There are only a handful of growers in the UK, and what we produce between us is sufficient to supply the UK market. We start drilling from the end of March and go through to the beginning of June, which gives us a ‘polythene cycle’ and a

Mark Stroude grows his sweetcorn in a ‘polythene cycle’ and a ‘non-polythene cycle’ to provide a spread of maturity dates.

non-polythene cycle’ to provide a spread of maturity dates, so we can supply customers with UK-grown sweetcorn for an extended period. All of them are ‘yellow’ varieties, because the market for white and bi-colour types is in its infancy.”

The crop is mechanically harvested four-rows at a time using a Pixall harvester with tipping hopper, hand-graded and packed into ‘Culver Corn’ branded cardboard packaging by a team of 24 casual workers from Eastern Europe supplementing the five full time staff, transferred to the farm’s cool store and finally loaded onto refrigerated transport. “We also produce 185ha of milling wheat which is harvested by a contractor,” Mark adds. “We can store all of it on the farm and that allows us to wait until we are offered an attractive price, with most of the crop going to mills on the south coast. The agronomy days hosted by Laura Buckingham (Fram Farmers Arable Inputs Manager) are very valuable, as they provide vital information which enables us to challenge suppliers if necessary. It is important to do that while prices for agricultural commodities are at levels which do not give a return that adequately reflects the level of risk and capital involved.” “I am a great believer in the concept of cooperation to maintain a balance between

farmers and suppliers. As a business, we have supported that ethos since the 1980s, when we joined our local cooperative, Lewes Farmers. In 2007 that became part of what is now Fram Farmers, so we look to buy as much as possible of what we need through them. “I forward buy all of the nitrogen fertiliser for our wheats, compound fertilisers and herbicides for the sweetcorn, half our projected fuel requirement for the year through the pool, all of our electricity and some machinery. BUILDING CONVERSIONS “We have numerous former farm buildings which are being converted into office accommodation and industrial units (below). With agricultural commodity prices where they are, and the prospect of farming in a post-Brexit environment, we are now investing more of our time, effort and capital there. “I find Fram Farmers very good for providing advice on building materials and supplying the wide range of products we need, including concrete panels, readymix and timber. “The most recent development has been to move all of our insurance over to Fram Farmers Insurance, which has already generated a saving of over 20% compared with our previous broker. “We run very light on labour, and being a member of Fram Farmers is of great benefit as it allows me to operate very efficiently rather than spending unnecessary time on administration. When we are very busy it is also comforting to know that our bills for input purchases will be paid on time through the single monthly direct debit to Fram Farmers.”


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CEREALS 2017: Grain Marketing 7

KWS MONTANA PROVIDES A PREMIUM OPPORTUNITY Our grain marketing partner, ADM Direct, has an exciting new milling wheat available for drilling in 2017 which will provide a significant opportunity to add value as part of your wheat rotation strategy. “There is significant demand for imported wheat in the UK, as domestic Group 1 does not have the necessary gluten strength for a number of bakery products,” Stuart Carpenter of ADM Direct states. “KWS have found over the last three years that KWS Montana, which is widely grown on the continent, not only suits UK growing conditions, but potentially could meet some of this demand. “We have put in place a premium structure to encourage good milling wheat growers to take up the variety. A premium is paid on a rising scale, up to a maximum of £25/t over Group 1 prices for the best protein, and the level in Montana is naturally higher than conventional Group 1 varieties. “Last year all Montana growers achieved a premium, and a Fram Farmers member achieved 14% protein from his crop. This was 1.5% higher than Skyfall drilled at the same time and grown under the same nitrogen regime - both varieties yielded the same.” Anna Perz, Wheat Development Manager, ADM Milling adds: “Montana has stronger gluten properties, and being higher in protein has the potential to meet demand for some higher-specification flours.’’ Mark Ringrose, Trading Manager ADM Milling, states: “We fully support this exciting variety from KWS. It is a welcome addition to our existing field-toflour initiative.’ SUITS UK CONDITIONS For UK growers, KWS Montana offers the opportunity to produce an essential, high-quality product and achieve good financial rewards. In terms of grain quality, it produces consistently excellent

proteins in the UK, routinely 14% under a standard Group 1 milling wheat growing protocol. In KWS milling wheat trials during 2016, it produced a Hagberg Falling Number of 434 (Cordiale 397, Skyfall 350). KWS Montana has proven itself in Germany where it accounts for 4% of the winter wheat area, delivering high protein levels which provides mills and bakeries with high loaf volumes coupled with good stability. Following 12 months of intensive product development, end users across Poland, Sweden, Austria, Czech Republic and South Eastern Europe are now reporting the benefits of including it into their grists. Bred by KWS Lochow in Germany, KWS Montana is the result of a three-way cross based on the high yielding German varieties Kadu x Cubus/Privileg. Although E wheats are inherently lower yielding under UK conditions, Stuart Carpenter points out that KWS Montana is on a par with UK favourites Solstice and Cordiale, and certainly in the later drilled situations to which it is most suited, there is no difference. While Montana can be sown on a range of soils it is best suited to medium and lighter types. GOOD IN BLACKGRASS STRATEGY The variety has a vigorous growth habit and is best drilled from 10 October until 30 November, making it ideal behind sugar beet or potatoes and a good option as part of a strategy for tackling black grass. KWS Montana has good disease resistance, its breeder scoring it 7 for mildew, 7 for yellow rust, 8 for brown rust, 8 for fusarium and 5 for S. Tritici under UK conditions. Nitrogen strategies should be targeted at producing 14.5% protein, whilst avoiding large uptakes resulting in excessive growth at stem extension. As an E wheat, KWS Montana is efficient at utilising nitrogen into protein and typical

KWS Santiago

Skyfall

Montana rates of around 280kg/ha will achieve the correct balance between yield and protein. Fram Farmers Director Tom Duke, of K. D. Duke & Partners near Royston in Hertfordshire, has grown Montana. He states: “The headland was very badly compacted so didn’t yield, but the rest of the field produced around 8.5t/ha as a third wheat, which was very similar to Skyfall, and I treated them the same, with both receiving 226 kg/ha of Nitrogen. The quality of my Montana, at 14% protein, was within specification and significantly higher than Skyfall, which only averaged 12.6%. The fact that we could also drill it a bit later suited us.”

Fram Farmers and ADM will be on stand 783, KWS UK will be on stand 445 at Cereals 2017.

Your Nationwide Training Specialist


8 CEREALS 2017: Supplier Profile - Fertilisers

NEW FERTILISER COMPANY LAUNCHES WITH A ‘BACK TO THE FUTURE’ APPROACH TO CROP NUTRITION SERVICES A team of fertiliser industry veterans has launched a new crop nutrition company in Norfolk. Focussing strongly on old school personal service and up to date advice, Payne Crop Nutrition is based at their new fertiliser blending and bagging plant at Fakenham, serving farms in the east of England including Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire. Payne Crop Nutrition (PCN) sells direct to farmers, as well as through buying groups and partner distributors. “The fertiliser needs of each farm can vary enormously – field by field, and crop by crop,” says David Harrod, PCN’s Commercial Director. “We are convinced that this cannot be serviced properly by ever-larger producers with ‘one size fits all’ solutions.” “Our high quality on-farm advice and soil sampling service links straight through to sourcing, production and delivery. Our brand-new bagging and blending plant can

handle up to 50,000 tonnes a year; it will produce special fertiliser mixes specifically for individual farmers, matching their crops and soils, but we will also offer the normal range of straight products, delivery bulk or bagged, and spreading. Reliable delivery is going to be a key priority for us,” he states, adding that there will be a formal opening event at their new facility on 9 June. PCN is owned by Dale Payne, whose fertiliser business was acquired by J&H Bunn in 2007, and four other ex-Bunn executives: David Harrod, former Joint Managing Director at Bunns; Jeremy Hitcham, now PCN’s Technical Director and Matthew Tooley, Production Director. Between them, they have 121 years’ experience in the fertiliser business. Their FACTS qualified sales team includes former colleague Keith Parker, while Jim Holt will act as independent sales agent. Danny Blake and Miriam Waller will cover production, logistics and administration. “It is great to bring back some familiar faces with all their knowledge and experience, especially in sugar beet,

potatoes and vegetables,” says Dale Payne. “We will be putting this to good use, helping our customers add value to their businesses through efficient and correct crop nutrition.” “We look forward to continuing our relationships with David Harrod and his colleagues,” says Annie Buckingham, Fertiliser and Seed Buyer at Fram Farmers.

Fakenham Agri Park, Hempton, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 7DY T: 01328 864 864 W: www.paynecropnutrition.co.uk E: sales@paynecropnutrition.co.uk @paynenutrition

TRAINEE INDEPENDENT AGRONOMIST GAINS EXPERIENCE WITH FRAM FARMERS

Fram Farmers are delighted to announce that for one day a week, over the next 12 months, Francesca (Frankie) Pattinson, a trainee agronomist with APEX Agronomy (www.apexagronomy.co.uk) will work alongside our Arable Inputs Team at Framlingham. Frankie, who was born in Suffolk and is engaged to a farmer in the north of the county, gained a Degree in Environmental Sciences from Oxford Brookes University. After graduating in 2014, Frankie took a year out before joining an Independent Crop Consultant

in Essex in September 2015 to gain crop walking experience. Frankie completed her BASIS training in July 2016 and joined Apex Agronomy in April this year. She is now learning the profession by working alongside four of its highly-experienced agronomists, John Clarke, Robert Hurren, Tim Martin and Ruth Naudé APEX Agronomy is an affiliation of fully independent professional agronomists who provide agronomy services on over 40,000ha throughout East Anglia. All are on the BASIS professional register, FACTS and ICM qualified, members of the Association of Independent Crop Consultants (AICC) and have at least 15 years’ experience. They always recommend products which are technically the most suitable for clients, enabling inputs to be sourced cost effectively, either directly or through a buying group. “We work closely with Fram Farmers and are delighted to help to train the next generation of independent agronomists,” Rob Hurren states. “Frankie spends four days a week with us, which will enable her to get to know our clients and their farms. It will also give her a deeper understanding of what we

do and why, as well as being involved in strategic planning and inputs purchasing. Ultimately, this will provide the experience, all-round knowledge and confidence required to operate as a successful independent agronomist. “We felt that it was very important for Frankie to experience the supply side of the agronomy business, because that is vital to ensure that clients have access to the right products, at the right time and at the right price. By working with Fram Farmers’ Crop Inputs Team, Frankie will gain that knowledge, deal with manufacturers and distributors and see how a buying group operates. That will be a tremendous benefit for her in her agronomy career. “Frankie will help Apex Agronomy to offer our clients timely advice at key times of the year, many of whom are members of Fram Farmers and very supportive of what we are doing. The next step will be for her to achieve the FACTS (Fertiliser Advisers Certification and Training Scheme) qualification later this year and ultimately develop her own client base in time.”


CEREALS 2017: Supplier Update - Dow AgroSciences 9

CEREAL GROWERS GET PEACE OF MIND WITH ZYPAR FROM DOW AGROSCIENCES. A brand new broad-leaved herbicide promising reliable control of a wide spectrum of key problem weeds has been deployed in cereal crops across the country. Zypar, from Dow AgroSciences, is the second herbicide to be released using the Arylex Active molecule which debuted in Pixxaro EC last year. Arylex is used in formulation with florasulam which will be known to growers from Dow’s well-established Spitfire product. Zypar only gained registration in March, just in time for spring applications. Dow’s customer agronomist Stuart Jackson says that it has the potential to be a game-changer for many cereal growers who have not seen new chemistry for broadleaved weed control for well over a decade. He said: “A lot has changed in terms of what a modern farming business requires and we feel that this product hinges on reliability and flexibility – two cornerstones of a successful product that growers will adopt. “The ability to perform in cold and variable conditions is the hallmark of an Arylex product and this characteristic effectively creates more days when it is possible to spray. “Whatever the weather, Zypar has market-leading control of key problem weeds such as cleavers, poppies, cranesbill, fumitory, fat hen, chickweed, brassicas and mayweeds. “Flexibility is delivered in the way it sits happily in the tank with fungicides, PGRs and trace elements and there are no following crop restrictions.” Stuart added that large and small acreage farmers will see the benefits. “Large estates, with big acreages to cover, need to get on early to manage their equipment and labour. They want flexibility on following crops and a product that mixes well in the sprayer. “Smaller farms don’t have the time or the money to make several passes to control broadleaved weeds. “They all need a product that they can rely on and with Zypar we have come up with a really strong solution.”

WHAT’S DRIVING HERBICIDE CHOICE? Research carried out by Dow has shown that the reasons for choosing one herbicide over another are varied. Weed spectrum An obvious driver is the spectrum of weeds that are present in the field, and growers are increasingly looking for a single product that will take them out in a single pass. Cleavers, poppies, fumitory, fat hen, chickweed, mayweeds all feature. Flexibility Good tank-mix compatibility is a must for many growers and agronomists allowing applications to be combined with fungicides, PGRs and trace elements. Reliability Performance in variable weather conditions is a primary focus for growers and their advisers. Traditional chemistry struggles to achieve robust control in cold conditions, or during warm days following cold nights. Resistance Where resistance is suspected or confirmed, growers are being advised to seek alternative modes of action to tackle broad-leaved weed populations.

ZYPAR AT A GLANCE • Contact-acting herbicide which can be applied from growth stage 11 through to growth stage 45 in all winter and spring cereals except oats. • Controls key problem weeds including cleavers, poppies, cranesbill, fumitory, fat hen, chickweed, brassicas and mayweeds.

• Sociable tank mix partner – no aggravation when mixed with fungicides, trace elements or PGRs. • Attractive option for growers with suspected or confirmed resistance to ALS chemistry in poppies and chickweed.

MID-LINCS FARM PUTS ZYPAR TO THE TEST Ben Abell, an agronomist responsible for a large acreage in midLincolnshire, applied Zypar to 500ha of hybrid rye in April. For efficiency the herbicide was tank mixed with a T1 fungicide application of epoxiconazole + fenpropimorph along with PGR and trace elements in the tank. “In one 160ha block there was quite a lot of large cranesbill and it’s done a good job on that so I’m pleased with it,” Ben said. “Cranesbill was the main problem but we had a bit of volunteer rape and fat hen too.” Ben has now applied Zypar to 50ha of spring barley as a spring clean up of broad-leaved weeds and is considering further applications in other cereal crops. “That was for a general tidy up of polygonums, groundsel, mayweeds and cleavers.” Ben added.

Dow Agroscience will be on stand 618 at Cereals 2017


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CEREALS 2017: Fram Farmers Variety Day 11

VARIETY DAY IS NOT TO BE MISSED

The Fram Farmers Variety Day on 5 July at RAGT Seeds, Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, will benefit all members who grow cereals, says Ross Dawson, Arable Inputs Specialist. “The event will provide a valuable opportunity to assess the latest Recommended List varieties for wheat, barley and oilseed rape, winter oats and hybrid triticale, alongside cover crops and small seeds. You will be able to see how the latest varieties perform in terms of their resistance, or susceptibility to Yellow Rust which can reduce wheat yields by 30%. A good way to understand more about current varieties is to look at the ‘parentage’ used in the breeding programme to find potential weaknesses. You will be able to view plots demonstrating the history of milling wheat, early sown wheat and a yellow rust nursery showing how the parents of RL varieties perform. RAGT’s Simon Howell will talk through the key varieties, I will be there to provide impartial advice, while Annie Buckingham (Fertiliser Buyer) and Amanda Owen (Seed Buyer) will be available to discuss these inputs. WHAT YOU WILL SEE “RAGT is probably best known in the UK for its Group 1 milling wheat Skyfall, which has been a major success and is now the country’s most widely grown winter wheat

- the first time a milling wheat has achieved this for more than 25 years. You will be able to compare it alongside the new KWS Zyatt, the UK’s highest yielding Group 1 bread making wheat, with high protein levels and good agronomics. Like other new varieties, it will be available only in limited quantities, so register your interest as soon as you can. Supplies of the new Group 4 winter hard feed wheat KWS Kerrin, the highest yielding variety on the Recommended List, will also be limited and it will sell out early. Dickens is also likely to be popular this autumn as a potential replacement for struggling J.B. Diego, as it has very good agronomic characters and offers a different genetic package to the other new varieties, which will help to spread risk. With margins under pressure, it has never been more important to consider a variety’s agronomic package and cost of production in terms of all inputs, from the seed, to agchems, time, fuel and management time, as these will all determine the gross margin. When selecting varieties, look down the list, note those which are becoming superseded and consider what might replace them, rather than focusing solely on the latest, highest yielder. Blackgrass remains a major concern for many growers, and the event will provide an opportunity to see the impact of delaying drilling until the spring and how cover crops might help. However, it is vital to recognise that cover crops must be treated as ‘crops’ and are very dependent on individual farm situations. If you have any questions we will be on hand to give you the best advice. To book your place on the Variety Day, please contact Ross Dawson

t: 01728 727715 e: ross.dawson@framfarmers.co.uk

STAFF PROFILE

SOPHIE CLARKE

MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Sophie Clarke, Fram Farmers’ Marketing and Communications Executive, has made her mark since joining us last year. Responsible for all communications, including print, digital marketing, social media and the website. After studying English and journalism at the University of Northampton, Sophie worked in retail before joining a Suffolk-based publishing company. She particularly likes the fact that Fram Farmers is a true farmers’ cooperative which operates exclusively for its members and provides completely impartial advice. “I really enjoy working in an interesting, varied environment where the focus is on presenting members with information and opportunities that might be beneficial to them rather than trying to sell them things they might not need. “I enjoy using visual means to capture the reader’s attention, so my focus has been on improving the design and layout of our communications platforms to make them interesting and relevant. My aim is to ensure that the information we send out is useful and well read. I keep in close contact with each department to find out what they want to communicate, then present the information in an interesting way. For example, our purchasing updates now contain more graphics showing prices and trends to make it easier to see information quickly and easily. “In addition to printed and electronic communications, my role includes preparing advertisements, helping to design and populate the manufacturers’ pages on our website, creating an agronomy portal to enable independent agronomists to place orders on behalf of members, as well as communicating news and information about forthcoming events via Twitter and Facebook. “Currently, I am developing an improved directory which will make it easier for members to identify suppliers in their area.”


12 CEREALS 2017: Supplier Update - Fertilisers

DRY SPRING UNDERLINES IMPORTANCE OF CORRECT FERTILISER CHOICE The very dry start to 2017 across much of the UK could have caused significant problems for many growers who applied urea and urea plus Sulphur products. Poor resulting crop performance may cause some to consider their approach next season in favour of Ammonium Nitrate (AN) and AN based Sulphur products, believes Ross Leadbeater of CF Fertilisers. “These products offer less risk, greater reliability and, according to research,

deliver higher crop yields and quality. In fact, in Defra research, urea had an average of 22% N loss due to ammonia volatilisation in cereals compared to only 3% emissions from AN. For grassland situations it was as high as 58%. “The researchers calculated that to maintain yield and quality, the optimum N rate when using urea would have to be, on average, 20% higher than for AN, negating any cost savings and risking significant production losses and environmental problems.” According to Dr. Pete Berry of ADAS: “Replicated experiments comparing Ammonium Nitrate with urea, funded by Defra, showed that AN yielded more than

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urea in 77% of cases and gave a higher grain protein content (+0.4%), illustrating its suitability for milling wheat.” ADDITIONAL SULPHUR REQUIRED Ross Leadbeater says growers need to keep an eye on Sulphur needs too. “Sulphur deficiency in crops is increasing, because stringent air quality legislation has reduced S deposition by 90% in recent years. But Sulphur is vital for the effective utilisation of Nitrogen and essential for optimum yield and quality. In milling wheat, for example, it has a dramatic effect on bread-making quality, and some contracts stipulate that growers apply at least 50 kg SO3/ha.” Sulphur deficiency symptoms show up in the plant’s youngest leaves, and additionally through pale flowers in Oilseed Rape, whereas Nitrogen deficiency is seen in the oldest leaves, Ross advises. “The most effective way to supply Nitrogen and Sulphur is to use a true granular compound such as CF DoubleTop (27N 30SO3) or SingleTop (27N 12SO3). CF DoubleTop is an Ammonium Nitrate based fertiliser with Ammonium Sulphate as the Sulphur source. SingleTop, which contains Calcium Sulphate as its Sulphur source, offers a lower S content for the flexible ‘little and often’ approach.” Where time and labour are tight, growers should consider using the CF spring applied NPKS compound Heartland Sulphur (24-8-8 (8SO3), he adds. “Trials in 2016 found that CF Heartland produced an average yield benefit of 0.65t/ha yield worth £75/ha based on a crop price of £120/t.”


CEREALS 2017: Supplier Update - Mitas Tyres 13

TYRE WARRANTY CLAIMS PUT FOCUS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE When it comes to buying tyres, farming businesses are increasingly focusing on how their investment will be protected, according to Mitas Tyres. Whilst durability and longevity remain high on the tick list for tyre buyers, falling crop margins mean that farming businesses are increasingly taking account of warranty conditions and after sales support when making their decisions. That’s the view of Jon Ward, Managing Director of Mitas UK, who says that while farmers are still prepared to purchase quality products in the current economic climate, greater peace of mind is an increasingly important element in their buying decisions. “Farmers increasingly recognise that not all tyres are the same and that by and large you get what you pay for. This is certainly the case in terms of the durability and working life of tyres, with budget options seldom delivering in this area. They are also aware of the larger range of tyre options to suit specific purposes and appreciate that tractor tyre technology has moved on considerably in recent years. “At Mitas we now offer a wide range, from our standard AC85, to wide-section HC 70, AC 85 and AC 90 for row-crop applications, our extremely low inflation pressure CHO for combine harvesters and, of course, the increasingly popular SFT super flexion tyres for higher horse power tractors. “High flexion VF tyres offer growers considerable advantages by allowing lower operating pressures to be used safely and

soil compaction to be reduced in-field, but without compromising road performance and speed. Every fourth tractor and every second combine produced in Europe is equipped with Mitas tyres and we’re seeing increasing demand for VF tyres as standard fitments, while producers are also asking for them at replacement time. QUALITY PAYS DIVIDENDS “At Mitas we are aware that low commodity prices are putting pressure on all inputs. Farmers are becoming increasingly discerning and want their purchases to live up to their expectations across all areas. The type of person who buys a low-cost tyre will always do that, but most arable producers know they need to invest a bit more to get the performance and long trouble-free working life they need. “One of the biggest areas in achieving this is ensuring tyres don’t fail in the first place and this has been the focus of much development in recent years. At Mitas UK our warranty claims in 2015 were 25% of what they were just five years ago and in 2016 halved again, despite our agricultural sales doubling in the same period. “Much of that is due to ongoing research and investment in manufacturing and materials but it’s only part of the picture. A lot of the confidence a customer gets relates to how warranty claims are handled. Unlike many in the industry, Mitas uses independent assessors to handle every claim and acts quickly on their recommendations without question. “That’s not always the case. Many manufacturers rely on their sales teams or distributors, so even if your claim is successful, you can be stuck without a tractor or combine for several days at a vital time of year. “Mitas has so many exciting projects that it’s essential we support these as fully as possible. When it comes to tyres I think many farmers just assume that warranties

and customer service are the same across the industry, but the truth is it’s not. As in the technical developments which Mitas has made in recent years, we’re pretty confident we’re leading the field in this important area too.” Bert Essink of FGS Agri, one of the UK’s largest contracting operations, agrees that support is increasingly important. “Previously, all FGS Terra-Gators operated on non-Mitas tyres and we expected them to last five years. In three years 19 of the 46 failed, yet no-one appeared interested - the equipment manufacturer, dealer and tyre manufacturer blamed each other. “On one occasion when we needed a replacement there were none in the country. That left us with a £350,000 machine standing idle for five days while a new tyre was located, shipped and fitted. All our Terra-Gators were changed over to Mitas tyres because the quality of product, reliability and after-sales service are in a different league.” The Kent-based organisation subsequently changed the OE tyres on a 544hp Vredo VT5518.2 spreader for new Mitas 1250/50 R32 SFT (Super Flexion Technology) to maximise performance.

Mitas UK will be on stand 530 at Cereals 2017

Jon Ward, Managing Director, Mitas UK. Mitas is a major supplier of radial agricultural tyres for new tractors and combines produced by the European plants of global leaders such as John Deere, Case New Holland, Claas and AGCO, with one in four new tractors and harvesters in Europe being fitted with Mitas tyres.

FGS Agri’s Vredo VT5518.2 spreader is equipped with Mitas 1250/50 R32 SFT tyres to maximise performance.


14 Supplier Profile - Ernest Doe

SERVING EAST ANGLIA SINCE 1898: ERNEST DOE & SONS LIMITED Ernest Doe is the UK’s largest family-owned agricultural, construction and ground care dealer in the UK with a network of 19 branches in East Anglia and the South of England.

After 119 years of trading, it is still very much a family business. Current Managing Director Colin Ernest Doe is the fourth generation to have taken the helm during the company’s 119 years of trading and his son, Angus Ernest, is the Service Director. Ernest Doe have been working with Fram Farmers since 2002, shortly after they took on the Case IH franchise. However, the company can trace its history back to June 1898 when Ernest Doe took the lease on a blacksmith’s shop at Ulting near Maldon, Essex. This site remains the location of the company’s headquarters to the present day. In the early days, work mainly consisted of shoeing horses and repairing agricultural implements but the business prospered and by 1910, Ernest Doe had not only bought the freehold of the blacksmiths, but also the neighbouring farm. By this time Ernest had three sons; Ernest Charles, Hugh and Herbert. After the war, in 1920 Ernest Charles persuaded his father to buy some of the 6,000 tractors which had been sent from the United States to help the war effort. This was the start of the tractor business. During the 1930s the firm began selling Case tractors and also Ransomes implements. During the Second World War, every possible acre was put to the plough and Ernest Doe & Sons did its part in supplying tractors from Fordson,

The early years Left to right: David Redman (Case IH Sales Area Manager), David Bush (Ernest Doe Power Ringmer Branch Manager), Colin E Doe (Managing Director), Gerald Silvey (Ernest Doe Power General Manager) Picture taken at the Ringmer Branch’s Open Evening in April

David Brown, Allis Chalmers and Case amongst others. In 1943 the first branches of the company were established. The first at Fyfield near Ongar and the second at Hythe Hill, Colchester. By 1947 a further four branches had been opened. During the 1950s the company was selling the products of several tractor manufacturers, but in 1957 a decision was made to hold a sole franchise – that of the Ford brand. DOE TRIPLE D In the late 1950s, local farmers had been crying out for a more powerful tractor to work the heavy land. In 1959 the company launched its own tractor – the Doe Dual Drive (known affectionately as the Doe Triple D). This tractor was a coming together of two Fordson Super Major tractor units, minus their front wheels but with a turntable slung between them. This created a four wheel drive, articulated tractor, which at 100 horsepower, was twice as powerful as most other tractors on the market. The Ford tractors franchise developed through an association with Fiat into the New Holland tractor and combine franchise of today. The development of Ernest Doe Power and the Case IH franchise began with the purchase of Framlingham Tractors in Suffolk in 2001, when a division was set up to sell Case IH products at separate locations to the New Holland branches. This was further enhanced in 2004 by the acquisition of Harper & Eede in Sussex adding three further sites in Ringmer, Albourne and Hurst Green.

The network of branches has expanded in this time to 19 locations, nine of which trade as Ernest Doe Power, operating as Case IH dealerships in East Anglia and south of the River Thames in Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex and Kent. WORKING WITH FRAM FARMERS Ernest Doe Power are delighted to be associated with Fram Farmers as an approved supplier offering parts, sales and service to all members. The Case IH fleet scheme is available to all members who purchase through the Case IH franchised branches of Ernest Doe Power.

Ernest Doe Power General Manager: Gerald Silvey Gerald Silvey joined the company in 1995, and has been responsible for the company’s sales of Case IH products since 2002. He is supported by a team of nine Branch and Sales Managers and 12 Agricultural Area Sales Managers Gerald can be contacted via email at geraldsilvey@ernestdoe.com


Member Profile - Kenniford Farm, Devon 15

DON’T HESITATE TO JOIN FRAM FARMERS, SAYS DEVON PIG PRODUCER to-finish operation which takes 9,500 Landrace x Large White x Duroc progeny annually to around 80kg deadweight, the business also has its own on-farm butchery that handles 40 of the 180 pigs produced every week. A small number are sold through local outlets, the remainder to Tulip, the English arm of Danish Crown. Pigs processed on the farm provide pork and bacon products to the farm shop, to Andrew’s hog roast business which handles 150 events a year, and to his catering vans which operate under the Kenniford Farm name.

Andrew Freemantle

“I’m still a ‘newbie’ at being a Fram Farmers member and getting to know exactly what they do, but my advice to others who’ve not yet joined would be to spend an hour or so talking with one of their Business Managers. It would be a very good use of your time and it won’t take long to see the benefits,” says 47-year-old Devon pig producer and entrepreneur Andrew Freemantle of Kenniford Farm, Clyst St Mary near Exeter. It was while discussing the rising cost of electricity with fellow pig producer and Fram Farmers Tamer Group member Martin Tamblyn in 2015 that Andrew first heard about Fram Farmers - and did just that. Since joining in December that year, he has seen his annual electricity bill fall by £4,000 and estimates that, when veterinary medicines and other inputs are considered, the total annual saving exceeds £5,000, many times the cost of membership. “The industrialist Henry Ford is famously quoted as saying that ‘farmers buy retail and sell at wholesale,” Andrew explains. “In my mind, Fram Farmers helps its members to redress that balance, making for a more level playing field. “I joined at a time when pig prices were not what they are now. What amazed me was the difference between the price which I had been paying for electricity, even using a local buying group, as well as for the veterinary medicines I sourced from my vet. The fact that Fram Farmers guarantees payments to suppliers makes a huge difference in being able to negotiate favourable prices; if you’re not a member you won’t be able to get anywhere near those levels.”

DIVERSIFICATION IN ACTION When Andrew returned to what had previously been a 70-acre family dairy farm bought by his father in 1987 he converted the redundant former cubicle sheds to house sows and started in pigs in 1994. As things turned out, that wasn’t a bad time to get into the sector because in the wake of BSE, improving the demand for pork, to the detriment of beef sales. After enjoying a good run through until 1997, a rise in the value of Sterling caused pig prices to fall from £1.50/kg to half that amount. This forced many producers out of business and made Andrew realise the benefit of retailing. However, in expanding the wholesaling and retailing side of the business he has remained focused on the business of producing pigs efficiently and profitably. The business has expanded dramatically since those early days and the nature of its operations means that Andrew’s 25 full- and part-time staff work across a wide area of the West Country every day of the week. “We breed all our own pigs on the farm for our award-winning pork, bacon, sausages and hog roasts, which can be purchased through our farm shop and many local outlets,” explains Andrew, who has won numerous business awards. They include Devon County Show 2008 Diversification Farmer of the Year, Farmers Weekly Pig Farmer of the year 2009, BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards 2010 Finalist, Best Takeaway, Taste of the West Awards 2012 where his “Kenniford Scotch Egg” was ‘Best of ready meals, soups and light eats’, together with 2013 Pig Producer of the Year PPM Magazine and 2015 Producer-Retailer of the Year. In addition to a 350-sow farrow indoor-

SHOP & CAFÉ The process of diversification began in 2000 when Andrew opened the Kenniford Farm shop and café, initially as an outlet to sell home-reared pork, but since then it has expanded considerably. Today, the shop sells a wide selection of local wines, beers and ciders, everyday products such as local organic milk, butter and cheese, as well as local West Country produce. Alongside home-produced pork, sausages, bacon and ham it retails chicken and duck from Creedy Carver and beef from Dartmoor farmers, with on-site butchers available to cut any specific orders that customers may require, from a small joint to a whole pig. The shop, which also sells pork products wholesale to many local restaurants, pubs and bed & breakfasts as well as retail outlets, includes a popular café which is open seven days a week, serving freshly prepared food. Outside are tables, a children’s climbing frame, chickens, ducks and ponies to look at and pedal tractors to play on, all situated within the enclosed environment of the old farm yard. There’s also an indoor play barn and piglet viewing window for anyone wishing to see a sow with her piglets. The same year that Andrew opened the farm shop and café he also ventured Continued overleaf


16 Member Profile: Kenniford Farm, Devon Continued from page 15

DEVON PIG PRODUCER into hog roasting and from a small scale has built this up to be a thriving and very popular side to the business. During this time, it has provided well over 3,000 hog roasts for all manner of events, from christenings, weddings and funerals to large corporate fun days and launch parties. It has a reputation for excellent food and service and prides itself on ease and convenience. The staff can cater from 80 guests to thousands, with various options available, from simply carving a hog roast to a full three course sit down meal.

modern meeting room seating up to 36 people which is available for hire, while visits from schools and organisations interested in learning about food production and farming are a regular feature. As if that wasn’t enough, the business also rents out Cider Steps, a three-bedroomed self-catering holiday cottage which was converted from a cider apple storage barn.

“Over the last 17 years we have become much larger and our catering revenues are now greater than for the pig business,” Andrew explains. “I am very pleased that we developed the retail side of the business, because the 40 pigs a week which we process through our butchery and catering operations create the same turnover as selling 150 pigs to a processor.”

HOG ROASTS AND CATERING The business also operates four catering trailers which are permanently situated on industrial parks at South Molton, Cullompton and Newton Abbot in Devon, as well as Liskeard in Cornwall. Mostly open seven days a week, they sell a range of hot food, including the very popular takeaway roast pork dinners. The business also operates a fleet of hog roast and Dartmoor Farmer’s beef catering trailers which travel to agricultural shows, festivals and large events throughout the West Country. Back at the farm there’s also a large

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IT Update 17

NEW DAILY UPDATE OF YOUR ACCOUNT Members are now able to gain a much more up to date view of their Fram Farmers’ account following the addition of an exciting new feature to the Member area of the website, says Nick Hindle, Financial Controller.

Under ‘My Profile’ you can now view ‘Live Rolling Balance’ information for each of your accounts. The figures are updated every evening with transactions that we have added to your account that day. There are five figures, which are updated as follows: 1. Current Balance: This represents the current month’s invoices plus any Direct Debits (see note 2) that have been generated but NOT actually processed.

2. Total Direct Debits: This represents DDs that have been generated but not sent to the bank for processing. 3. Total Value in Dispute: This figure represents the total value of invoices currently held in dispute.

4. Total Value on Extended Terms: This figure represents the total value of invoices that are due for payment beyond the current due date. 5. Total Outstanding: This represents the total value of all invoices currently on your account including those in dispute and on extended terms.

Currently, there are no drill-back options on each of these figures but hopefully these will still prove a useful guide to advising you of the amounts that are owed on your account at any one time. 40% GO PAPERLESS Since we introduced paperless statements in April 2016, 40 per cent of member statements are now sent electronically. Apart from being a faster, more convenient way to receive this vital information it also allows you to save the data directly to your network and retrieve documents quickly, while eliminating the need to store paperwork. The savings in printing, staffing and postage costs here at the Fram Farmers’ office make it possible to reduce the annual membership fee for 2017/18 by £70 for members who receive electronic statements. If you wish to opt out of paper statements part-way through the membership year, we will refund the annual saving on a pro-rata basis. To stop receiving paper invoices and statements simply click on the ‘do not receive paper statements section’ of your Member’s web page. However, you can still access statements via your Member’s web page, which will contain your historical statements, and send files to multiple recipients.

Industrial & Agricultural Doors

Most members use Sage, Farmplan or Landmark accounting systems to open the new CFF (Common File Format) files. We are currently working on a new system of CSV (Comma Separated Values) files, which will contain line detail of your invoices and allow you to upload the data directly into your office accounting systems in a tablestructured form, rather than having to re-key all the information, saving a great deal of time, effort and cost. These include details such as supplier, invoice number, invoice date, line description, goods value, VAT value and gross value. We are currently testing this Member service and hope to be able to go live with this new feature towards the end of the year.

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18 Member Profile - Grosvenor Farms

GROSVENOR FARMS PIONEERS OPTIMUM USE OF ORGANIC INPUT Understanding the precise contribution of livestock organic matter, and how best to balance it with fertiliser, is pointing to a new way of considering nutrient management at Grosvenor Farms Ltd, Fram Farmers’ original member in the North West and one of the UK’s largest mixed farming operations. Trials by Grosvenor Farms and CF Fertilisers are showing how to estimate Soil Nitrogen Content more accurately, adding over 1t/ha to cereal yields and increasing nitrogen utilisation efficiency considerably. With waste products from a 1,600-cow dairy herd, 1,500ha of combinable crops and yields in the top quartile of production, fertiliser management is essential. “Developing our environmental strategy is a main driver and we’re comfortable with ‘sustainable intensification’, says arable manager Charlie Steer. “A key objective is to keep production costs down and these are very low, £80/t for wheat, £78/t for barley and £205/t for OSR. The key is to optimise resource efficiency, using the best scientific practice and ethical knowhow.” This involves making full use of 15,500 tonnes of separated solids and 57,000m3 of dirty water from the dairy unit each year. “We’ve invested in a boom irrigator system so we can apply low volumes down the tramlines at 48 metres, which should give more opportunities to apply organic matter when the crop is growing. The target in wheat is to get a first application of 50kg N/ha from dirty water and supplement this with 34.5% Nitram, Ammonium Nitrate. The second would be 80kg N/ha, with as much as possible coming from the organic matter, topped up with Nitram where appropriate. The final 80kg N/ha would be solely from AN. We aim for a maximum of around 220kg N/ha for feed varieties and 300kg N/ha for milling wheat. “Of our 524ha of wheat, around 125ha are Skyfall for milling this year, with previous crops producing 9.2t/ha at 14.8% protein. On milling wheat, we want to apply as much dirty water as possible without compromising the NVZ limit, which should be easier with the new system.”

Charlie Steer, Grosvenor Farms

SOIL TESTING PAYS One of Grosvenor Farms’ objectives is ‘wanting to minimise our environmental impact and have one of the lowest carbon footprints for milk and grain production in the UK’, so fertiliser choice is increasingly important. They have been Nitram users for many years across all crops, and following evidence of striping in OSR, abandoned urea sulphur in favour of a combined nitrogen sulphur granular product, DoubleTop (27N (30SO3). CF Fertilisers agronomist Allison Grundy says the key to accurate fertiliser application with high volumes of organic inputs is to understand what is in the material and how it behaves in the soil. “Most analyses involve an assessment of what nitrogen is in the soil tested, the Soil Mineral Nitrogen (SMN), but this is only half the equation. Soil nitrogen that will become available to the plant between spring and harvest, the Additional Available Nitrogen (AAN), is equally important.” The importance of this sophisticated testing is unequivocal, with trials at Grosvenor Farms using this approach increasing average margins by £113/ha in winter barley and £186/ha in OSR. In one winter barley trial, the CF N-Min gave an SMN of 113kg N/ha with an AAN of 68kg N/ha. With an estimate of 22.5kg N/ha of nitrogen in the crop, this gave a

Alison Grundy, Agronomist, CF Fertilisers UK Ltd

total Soil Nitrogen Supply (SNS) of 204kg/ ha. The CF nitrogen calculator tool, N-Calc, recommended an additional 95kg N/ha be applied, compared with the farm’s standard 190kg N/ha. The resulting saving in fertiliser costs, £61.75/ha, combined with an extra 1.7t/ha yield gain, gave a £233.75/ha increase in margin, from £664.50/ha to £898.25/ha. OSR YIELD GAIN, SAVINGS In oilseed rape, a similar trial the previous year showed a 0.4t/ha yield gain with a £53.25/ha saving in fertiliser costs, giving a margin increase of £168.75/ha. P and K are not an issue because of the large amounts in the organic materials applied, but sulphur is something that should be monitored. In the past, a urea sulphur blend was used on OSR because of evidence of paler flowers, but following signs of striping and uneven application, a granular product, DoubleTop, will be used exclusively this year. Charlie Steer adds: “The new application system allows us to use organic manure much more efficiently, so we should see reduced leaching, better nutrient utilisation and cost savings. The next step is to understand more fully how this behaves in the soil, which is where the N-Min approach comes into its own.”


Machinery 19

‘RED POWER DAY’ HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE OF CORRECT BALLASTING Fram Farmers members learned more about the latest Case IH tractors and how to get the most from them during a recent ‘Red Power Day’ at our offices, which was attended by Directors Wendy Houston, John Parkinson and Andrew Read. The event showcased examples of the Case IH tractor line-up, which ranges from the 50hp Farmall to the Quadtrac 620 which develops up to 692hp. The display included a 380hp Magnum Rowtrac 380 CVX, which combines the benefits of wheeled and tracked tractors yet outperforms both. Also on show was the new 300hp Optum 300 CVX, a powerful, compact and highly-manoeuvrable model with an excellent power-to-weight ratio. ‘Tractor Of The Year 2017’, it was displayed alongside a 150hp Maxxum 150. David Redman, Sales Area Manager (South East UK) for Case IH, outlined the features and benefits of each model before demonstrating how to ballast a tractor for optimum performance and efficiency. When it comes to 300hp tractors, he explained, farmers increasingly want one with a light chassis which can be used un-ballasted for spraying and spreading, or ballasted for optimum traction and performance during heavy draft operations.

Some of the members who attended the Red Power day at Framlingham

The Optum 300 CVX precisely meets the requirement for a wheeled tractor to weigh 43kg/hp for optimum performance. It can be operated as light as 10,540kg, up to 16,000kg, a difference of 5,460kg, giving incredible versatility. “It is essential to tailor the amount and positioning of ballast to the task,” David stated. “Often, a heavy weight is attached to the tractor’s front linkage for draft operations but not removed for lighter duties. Incorrect ballasting will result in poor weight distribution, excessive wheel slip, reduced performance and output, increased fuel consumption and greater soil compaction. “Most farms don’t own weigh cells but will have access to a weighbridge which will provide the same information. Some tyre manufacturers are also very good at giving advice on farm, such as Michelin and Mitas, both OEM supplier to Case IH.”

CORRECT BALANCE “Wheeled tractors are designed to operate with a rear weight bias, hence they have larger wheels on the rear axle. Using linkage mounted equipment, the weight should be distributed 40% on the front axle, 60% on the rear, and with drawbar machinery 35%:65%. “Tyre pressures should be optimised for the task, particularly when moving from tillage operations to top work, and are especially important with a tractor like the Optum. This is much easier where a Tyre Pressure Management system, optional on the Optum CVX, is fitted. This will monitor tractor and implement tyres with pressures displayed on the AFS700 screen. “For a Magnum Rowtrac the optimum front:rear balance is 20%:80% because the front wheels are primarily for steering and most of the power is transmitted through the rear tracks. A Rowtrac on 75cm tracks has a ground contact area which measures 210cm long and 63cm wide, compared with a 73cm x 60cm footprint for the Optum 300 CVX’s 620/75 R38 rear tyres.” After explaining the theory of correct ballasting, David used weigh cells to

demonstrate the effect of attaching or removing a front-linkage-mounted onetonne weight on overall weight distribution. “We were delighted that so many members and directors took the time to see and learn more about the latest ‘Red Power’ equipment, as Case IH is at the forefront of developments in agricultural machinery,” Jemma Neesham, Fram Farmers’ Machinery Buyer, stated.

David Redman used a Case IH Optum 300CVX to demonstrate how to optimise weight distribution. The pressure in the tyres will be approximately the pressure exerted on the ground, so it is also important to optimise it for each application. This tractor was fitted with Michelin 620/75 R30 (164D) front tyres and Case IH’s industry-leading engine braking system which increases braking efficiency by 40%.

Since 2000, Fram Farmers has operated a highly successful Case IH Fleet Scheme which enables members to qualify for significant manufacturer’s rebates on new Case IH products purchased from an authorised dealer, including tractors, combine harvesters, telescopic handlers and balers. Contact Jemma Neesham t: 01728 727700

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Farmers First Issue 44 - Summer 2017  

Member magazine for the Fram Farmers cooperative