Real Road Trip 2019 – Antony Pearce & James Whatty
Antony Pearce & James Whatty – Moat Farm, Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire
Farming 3000 acres in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside is arable farmer, Antony Pearce of Moat Farm, Stoke Mandeville. Antony’s grandfather established the family farm and now, being a third-generation farmer himself, Antony is keen to pass this farming bug onto his children to assure a long-term future for the business. His knowledge and passion for agriculture is combined with training in science, having studied for a degree in Biology at Bath University in 1998.
Assistant farm manager, James Whatty shares Antony’s enthusiasm to better understand their crops’ potential and in tailoring investment accordingly. As a way to help reduce costs, direct drilling has been implemented on the farm over the past decade. Antony says, “Being a heavy land farm, we did have a different cultivator for every eventuality, but the switch to direct drilling seems to work in most recent years”.
Describing himself as a “thinking farmer”, Antony strongly believes that collaborating in all aspects of his business is vital to success. He is set on the idea of working together with an array of specialists to help achieve the best results.
“I believe in mixed farming, not mixed farms. All farmers need to specialise, but that doesn’t mean a combinable crop specialist can’t have beef on their farm. It simply means they need to get another specialist in, so both parties can benefit from the mixed farming approach.”
Although much effort has gone into reducing costs at Moat Farm, Antony is prepared to invest in crops, as he believes yields are key to business success. In order to achieve this, he tries to plant high resistance rated varieties to ensure that he is maximising the possible genetic gain.
The duo are keen participants in BASF’s Real Results Circle, and they hope to explore the effectiveness of using the best cereal fungicides in conjunction with the most resistant varieties to increase the arable enterprise’s margins. They particularly want to explore the economic payback of more expensive chemistry.
This year’s cropping at Moat Farm is 50% winter wheat, 25% oilseed rape, and depending on rotation, a combination of spring wheat, spring barley and beans. Both Antony and James are looking forward to seeing this years end results.