Real results 50 profile - Andrew Williamson

Name: Andrew Williamson

Occupation: Farmer

Farm: Upper Overton, Bridgnorth,

Cropping: Winter wheat (120 ha), winter barley, winter oats, winter oilseed rape, spring barley. and spring beans.

Farm machinery:

John Deere tractors, Claas combine, min-till drill and cultivators from Vaderstad and Lemken, Chafer trailed sprayer, and KRM fertiliser spreader.

About the farmer:

Andrew comes from a long line of farmers. They have farmed in Shropshire since the early 1900’s. He gained a BSc Hons in chemistry from Bristol University before deciding his career was after all to be in farming.

Andrew has been on the family farm since 1999 and has developed an interest in precision farming which he regards as “highly beneficial to the farm.” He undertook a Nuffield Scholarship in 2013/14 looking at the development of precision agriculture around the globe. His studies took him to the US, Mexico, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Brazil.

He concluded that UK agriculture was perfectly suited to take full advantage of precision agriculture. In his report he says,

“Data is king – how it is collected, how it is utilised it and who owns it.”

He has been chairman of his local NFU branch and is currently vice chairman of the union’s West Midlands Crop Group.

About the farm:

Andrew farms four units made up of a mix of owned, tenanted and contract farmed land. The soils are predominantly silty clay loams and annual rainfall averages 800 mm.

Permanent pastures are grazed by sheep and all the land is managed under Higher Level Stewardship. Increasing bird life is a major objective but not at the expense of public access. There is permissive access over 6 km of bridleways and Andrew hopes that this will give users a better understanding of how the adjacent land is farmed.

Farming philosophy:

Andrew aims for as much productivity as he can possibly achieve from his cropped land. He does however temper that with by insisting that production has to be balanced with sustainability. “Profit, not turnover, is what counts at the end of the day“, he said. “There also has to be room for a bit of lifestyle”, he added.

Hopes for Real Results participation:

He hopes to explore the agronomic benefits which come from the use of Ag Space satellite imagery.