Real results 50 profile - Chris Leslie

Name: Chris Leslie

Occupation: Farmer

Farm: Agricultural Management Haddington Ltd, Cockielaw Farm

Cropping: Wheat, oilseed rape, spring and winter oats, and vining peas

Farm machinery:

Two combines, chaser bin, straw rake, Horsch cultivator, Vaderstadt drill, Knight sprayer, Bredal fert spreader, and Watkins subsoiler.

About the farmer:

Chris grew up working on farms in Scotland, notably Hay Farms based at Easter Rhynd, Perthshire. He then studied at SAC leaving with a BSc (Hons) in agriculture. After a gap year working in Australia, he then returned to Scotland, working for a year with Scottish Agronomy, before returning to Hay Farms as Assistant Manager for three years. In 2010 he joined AMH and has been there since. Chris passed his BASIS exam in 2014 and has just sat his FACTS exam.

He is a Director of Scottish Borders Produce and of his local vining pea group. Chris also participates in monitor farm meetings, the TAG agronomy group, Bayer 4 seasons group and the Scottish Agronomy Group.

About the farm:

At Cockielaw, Chris farms land at everything from sea level to 900ft (the Lammermuirs). A lengthy rotation of rape, wheat, oats, wheat, peas, wheat, oats, wheat, rape, means that cereals are adequately broken with a broad mix of spring cropping. Soil types are blowing sand to heavy clay. Soil structure and fertility are regulated by the frequent application of organic manures: Poultry manure before rape, pig manure before wheat, pig slurry and cattle manure, making best use of organic N loading and keeping artificial N to an absolute minimum. Straw-for-muck deals are in place with neighbouring livestock units which maximise the source of nutrition and organic matter on a regular basis. Wheat is sold to Grainco Scotland, oats to Quaker, rape to United Oilseeds, and the peas vined through SBP.

Using a precision farming model with no tramlines, Chris utilises Gatekeeper and RTK to control field traffic and precise input applications. This includes GAI scanning and yield/nutrient/pH mapping.

Farming philosophy:

Chris sees sustainability, delivered through rotation, markets, establishment and environment, as the most important aspect of his farming philosophy. He believes in applying only what is absolutely necessary, in terms of inputs, to achieve his production targets. His own business ethos dictates that by developing an independent strategy and solution for his own farm, he’s better able to operate profitably within a close-knit industry. Looking to the long term, Chris aims to grow his business in a sustainable way that delivers both commercial and environmental benefits.

Hopes for Real Results participation:

Quite simply to identify what is required to boost yields in terms of real-time data and live results and to cut through the smokescreen of marketing and PR.