Real results 50 profile - Graham Thompson

Name: Graham Thompson

Occupation: Farmer

Farm: P C Kindred and Son, Crabbes Farm Parham

Cropping: Winter wheat 210ha, winter barley 4 ha OSR 40ha. Wheat is grown for seed so a wide range of varieties is grown.

Farm machinery:

TRACTORS: 2 x New Holland tractors 210 hp and 250 hp; New Holland combine (GPS, Yield mapping); Landquip self-propelled sprayer; Simba Horsch drill; Sumo cultivator and power harrow.

About the farmer:

Mr Thompson is farm manager for P.C. Kindred and Son. He was brought up on his parents’ livestock farm. He went to university and studied plant science. After university he did trials work for a few years and then studied for BASIS and Facts and became an agronomist/manager mainly centered around potatoes. He is currently a manager at the above farm.

“I think my upbringing inspired me to have a career in farming. I was brought up on a livestock farm and then went into arable farming and have now ended up with a bit of both. We are open to change and recognise there are areas that need changing in what we do.”

About the farm:

The heavy clay soils support a rotation of wheat, barley, peas, rape, sugar beet and grass seed, which is in a two- or three-year ley. The need for good breaks between seed crops, and also peas, means there is no standard rotation.

The farm has recently bought three fields with blackgrass problems. It is not a problem elsewhere on the farm, thanks to a lot of hard work and a zero-tolerance approach. The farm also supports indoor pigs.

The farm is adopting new technology. “We are working with GPS now,” says Graham. “We have had it in one tractor temporarily and we are also looking at liquid nitrogen application.

We have had yield mapping on the combine for two years now. What we have seen from the mapping is that it can all be related to the field’s history.”

The farm is involved with the local school, usually every summer, trying to make them aware of where their food comes from.

Farming philosophy:

Mr Thompson said, “We do what we think is right. We listen and observe and hopefully progress. We like the unity that our mixed farm brings.”

The farm is very environmentally friendly farm. There is an abundance of wildlife, including, deer, hares, barn owls, little owls and tawny owls and buzzards. “It is a nice environment to work in – you do not know what you are going to see on a particular day.

We like to farm with everything in mind, not just the bottom line. The farm has got to be profitable but it is not all about profit. If we lose a little yield across the whole farm due to the wildlife we are not overly bothered.”

Hopes for Real Results participation:

Graham is looking forward to getting feedback on the different fungicides and the yields.

“Being part of the Real Results Circle will allow us to focus our attention on that one field and figure out with all the analysis that goes on behind it what we did right and what we did

“This might just confirm what we are thinking or it might just open our eyes in a new direction.

“The greatest challenge is the weather; it seems to influence a high percentage of what the outcome will be. What could be right this year could be completely wrong next year when we
have a wet year. From my point of view, I am hoping we will find nothing between the fungicides, as generally – on the grand scale – there is very little between the new chemistry
when it comes to fungicide control.”