Apley Home Farm, Apley Estate, Norton.
Winter wheat, spring barley, OSR, beans, potatoes, other crops.
About the farmer
Adrian’s grandparents farmed in Wilts. He studied a HND course at Harper and is BASIS qualified.
Adrian was involved in the Bridgnorth Monitor farm in 2016-2019, which proved very useful. During this he made several contacts and met some very interesting people, not just within the programme, but outside, for example Swedish journalists have since visited. He also received a high-profile visit from Defra. From a business aspect, Adrian found the benchmarking has been very useful and seeing the groups’ figures and what worked for others.
Adrian said, “It has given me a bit of a kick, because there’s people coming to have a look at the crops, which helps keep attention to detail up. Triticale and hybrid rye were being used as alternative break crops which is why we did it. We then benchmarked these crops to have a look at them.”
About the farm
Adrian farms 220 sucklers and does spring calving. Bulls are also fattened on a barley and fodder beet ration. Heifers are sold as stores. There is no room to graze them for a second season.
The farm also includes 52 belgian blue heifers and 15 steers, which are intensively reared. Heifers are under a Blade system.
Adrian buy in protein blend, otherwise he uses his own barley.
The land is very dry. - reference trials.
Adrian tries to be as efficient as possible and is faming for the long term, so he is into improving soils. He uses cover crops, organic manure, sewage sludge, chicken muck and FYM. He aims to run a profitable and sustainable farm.
He is between schemes and finished HLS and ELS schemes 18 months ago. He is looking at what ELMS might incur.
Adrian has decided to leave a lot of buffer strips in, which helps with water quality and LERAPs.
He has also invested in precision farming, variable rate P, K, lime, variable reed seed on some of the farm and is expanding year on year. He uses a yield map.
Cultivation and drilling approach
Adrian’s cultivation approach is to use a disc, 18 inches, Horsch Pronto drill. He ploughs to help with grassweed control.
He uses Liquid N.
Adrian does his own spraying, uses GPS section control and a Row Explorer.
Adrian uses 2 rotations:
1. Potatoes, wheat, rape, Wheat, rape, wheat, some #2 wheat, light land triticale/rye.
2. Wheat, rape, wheat, beans.
Biggest agronomic challenges
Adrian’s biggest agronomic challenge is pests, such as flea beetle. Two years ago he sprayed twice, last autumn he sprayed everything once and last season twice, yet he is still seeing sign damage. Nearly 90% resistant flea beetles.
With regards to disease, Septoria is a challenge. Now that varietal resistance is creeping up, this is making a big difference.
What do they most value about Real Results?
Adrian most values the data received on how different fungicides work in his situation, plus seeing the local data from other farmers. He said, “The things you get out of them aren’t the things you expect at the start.”