Graham Thompson

Occupation

Farm Manager

Address

PC Kindred & Son Crabbes Farm, Silverlace Green, Parham, Woolbridge, Suffolk, IP13 9AD.

Cropping

Winter wheat, winter barley, sugar beet, OSR, vining peas, triticale, grass seed.

About the farmer

After studying for a degree in plant science, Graham moved into trials work before studying for his BASIS and Facts qualifications. This allowed him to move to an agronomist / manager role which was largely focused around potatoes. Graham is now the farm manager at PC Kindred & Son.

“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 diverse cropping system – there isn’t really one standard rotation.

Black-grass is not a problem on most of the farm, thanks to a lot of hard work and a zero-tolerance approach. The farm did buy three fields three years ago with black-grass problems. These were fallowed in year 1, grew vining peas in year 2 followed by sugar beet this season. The intention is to follow this with winter wheat.

The farm also supports indoor pigs.

The farm is adopting new technology. We are working with GPS now and have had it in one tractor temporarily. 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 children more aware of where their food comes from.

Farming Philosophy

We do what we think is right. We listen and observe and hopefully progress. We like the unity that our mixed farm brings.

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. The abundance of wildlife that we have on the farm makes it a nice environment to work in – we’ve got barn owls, little owls, tawny owls, buzzards and more.

Cultivation and drilling approach

Rotational ploughing is still included in the mix alongside using a Sumo trio. Crop rotation dictates some cultivation’s, such as sugar beet, as does the incorporation of FYM. However I like to think we only do what is necessary. There is no direct drill capability on the farm.

Rotation

We have no strict rotation but seed crops (grass & OSR) have dictated previously due to ‘prior cropping’ stipulations.

Biggest agronomic challenges

My biggest agronomic challenge is the weather and trying to create a framing system that works with nature, as opposed to fighting against it.

What do they most value about Real Results?

One thing I most value about Real Results, is that the work is done on your own farm and challenges your own farming methods.