Busby House, Stokesley, North Yorkshire.
Winter wheat, winter barley, OSR, spring beans, other crops.
About the farmer
Andrew has a BSc honours degree in Agriculture from Newcastle.
He is a third generation on his family farm, which was first bought in 1917 and farmed by his Grandmother. The farm was then farmed by Andrew’s father and his uncle. They divided the business in the early 80s.
Andrew said, “My father was an international rugby player and had a sudden heart attack in the 1950s so I came home to run the farm. I was thrown in at the deep end.”
About the farm
Andrew has expanded the business from a 250 acre family farm. “We’ve bought 200 acres ourselves and expanded through contract work.”
The farm is medium - heavy clay loam and is on the Cleaveland Plain about 200 ft above sea level.
Andrew said, “It’s typical North Yorkshire land, with predominantly winter cropping. We aim to get all crops established by 1st week in Oct. It’s a fair ask, but we try.”
The ethos of the business is to get autumn establishment and as much combinable crop in as possible.
Cultivation and drilling approach
Direct drilling is not suitable for our soil types. It doesn’t restructure naturally well enough,” says Andrew.
“We subscribe to Philip Wright, paying for a day’s consultancy each year and go through the whole farm.
There are a lot of grants out there for those on the right soil. Realistically there’s 15-20% of the farm area suitable for direct drilling - it’s not a route that could be considered our ‘saviour’. It would be nice if it was, as we would save a lot of money.”
We will leave for 2-3 weeks (or as long as we dare!) to create a stale seedbed and spray it off with glyphosate before drilling using a Vaderstad drill (or a Kuhn combination drill for certain situations). We also use Cambridge rolls and then spray with either our Sands 36m or Bateman RB35 24m.”
Andrew’s typical rotation is as follows: 1st wheat, barley, OSR.
Biggest agronomic challenges
At the moment, Andrew’s biggest agronomic challenge is extending the rotation, whilst maintaining as much autumn establishment as possible.
He added, “Fortunately, we’re relatively well placed in terms of black-grass - we’re managing it strictly by applying liquid Avadex, as a preventative measure.
OSR is definitely becoming a 1 in 5, 6 or preferably 7 years. That means dropping the acreage to just 12% of the farm, rather than the 33% it has previously been. We’ll be mixing and matching oats, spring beans and rye into the rotation in the future.”
What do they most value about Real Results?
Andrew said, “we get real value from just being involved in the network.”
He also values being able to push for best, optimising returns, getting the opportunity to compare your farm standard against new technologies coming through and having a genuine platform to look at other farms and approaches.