Arable Technical Field Tour
M. 07855 357166
The Arable Field Tour welcomes you to Lincolnshire to showcase the best of UK arable farming. We will be visiting one of the most productive areas of the UK with some of the most fertile soil found anywhere in the country. We will start with a very traditional estate that is home to a unique business, producing chlorophyll as well as growing lucerne for horse feed and poppies for morphine. We conclude our tour with a trip around one of our best known research centres, NIAB.
Depart from Park Inn, York (organised transport) to Blankney, Lincoln.
Chlorophyl, lucerne and poppies for morphine are some of the more unusual products grown by Blankney Estates who operate one of the few surviving commercial grass driers. Lucerne (alfalfa) is a major ingredient in horse feed and is also a feedstock for the process of chlorophyll extraction undertaken by British Chlorophyll (a subsidiary company), specialising in the production of natural green food colouring and plant extracts. Arable cropping continues to be a mainstay of the Blankney Estates’ business which also has an 18-hole golf course and owns limestone aggregate and blockstone quarries. (www.blankney.com)
A fourth generation family farming business, Worth Farms operate on over 4,900 acres of grade one silt land on the Holbeach Marsh growing potatoes, wheat, sugar beet, vining peas, mustard and energy crops. Land is let out for speciality salad crops for JE Piccaver, and a joint venture vegetable growing operation with sister company QV Foods. Investment in water infrastructure and a diverse crop rotation are key to Worth Farms success. They have traditionally operated on a six-year rotation and are now moving to eight years to preserve the soil’s productivity and improve quality. Worth Farms are industry recognised for running a highly sophisticated and sustainable business. In 2015, they won the Farm Business Food and Farming Award for their commitment to innovation, the environment, collaboration and people. (www.worthfarms.co.uk)
The Naylor family has been producing flowers since the 1940s. Today they grow over 50 million stems of cut flowers a year for UK supermarkets and mainland Europe retailers on reclaimed silt land around the Wash, just east of Spalding. Well suited to growing cut flowers, harvest begins with daffodils in February and carries on into November with ornamental brassicas. In between, they are busy with alliums, asters, sunflowers, Sweet Williams, gladioli and peonies. They are also the largest grower of delphinium cut flowers in the UK. A 2005 Scholar, Matthew Naylor is MD of Naylor Flowers, a regular columnist for Farmers Weekly and well known raconteur. (www.naylorflowers.co.uk)
Representing the UK’s premier technical event for the arable industry - with over 148 acres of stands, crop plots and live working demonstrations - the two-day Cereals Event provides an opportunity to see the full range of arable equipment and the very latest product and technology developments. It brings just about the whole supply chain together, from machinery manufacturers to seed producers, from precision farming services to grain traders, providing visitors with a great opportunity to investigate new ideas and have their questions answered. (www.cerealsevent.co.uk)
Techniques like no-till, companion cropping, bi-cropping and mob grazing mean that Thriplow Farms are not just trying to farm sustainably, but to actively regenerate the quality and productivity of their soils, says 2014 Scholar, David Walston. He studied ‘Above and below ground: building resilient, productive and profitable soils’ around the world and has been applying many of his newly found Nuffield findings on his home farm. Thriplow Farms crop 2,224 acres, just south of Cambridge. They grow a wide variety of crops, such as wheat, barley, oilseed rape, peas, beans, oats, linseed and maize. Today, the farm also supports sheep and cattle on herbal and grass leys, as well as multi-species cover crops during the winter. (www.thriplow-farms.co.uk)
PX Farms Ltd, run by Scholar, James Peck, was established in 2003 and specialises in contract farming over an area of just under 5,000 acres. Farming is based on heavy clay and fen silts on controlled traffic farming (12m). Since 2003, the business has diversified into grain storage and haulage, a 'grain hospital', fertiliser storage, along with residential and commercial property lets. (www.pxfarms.com)
The National Institute of Agricultural Botany is a major, international centre for plant science, crop evaluation and agronomy, with a 100-year history. Based in Cambridge, but with regional offices across the country, NIAB focuses on the improvement of crop varieties, evaluates their performance and quality, and ensures new advances are transferred into on-farm practice. As NIAB TAG, they conduct crop trials and provide impartial variety and crop husbandry information.
As NIAB Innovation Farm, they focus on knowledge exchange and the end-users. NIAB
is also the home of the so-called ‘Synthetic Wheat’. (www.niab.com)