Real results 50 profile - John Biggin

Name: John Biggin

Occupation: Agronomist

Farm: JB Agriculture Ltd

Cropping: Winter wheat and winter oilseed rape

Farm machinery:

N/a. Contractors used.

About the farmer:

Mr Biggin has been an agronomist for 35 years and used to work for a merchant. The opportunity to take on the ground arose at about the same time he became an independent agronomist, 10 years ago.

He said, “As an agronomist I spend a lot of time with farmers and I think I am a bit of a frustrated farmer so when the opportunity came up to take on the land I had to go for it.

It has been useful to do my own experiments on my own fields. I have been able to use my ground to showcase trying new things. I used to hold farm walks and my growers would come along to see what I was doing, it has been a very useful tool to show growers I am putting into practice what I preach.

I have experimented with fertiliser rates, fungicide programmes, digestate and variety trials. Last year I did my own fungicide trials looking at T1 and T2 combinations.”

About the farm:

The soils on Mr Biggin’s land are sandy loam and he grows winter wheat and winter oilseed rape. All the field work is done by contractors, including the application of anaerobic digestate and solid N to the winter wheat.

Blackgrass is not as much of an issue as in other parts of the country but Mr Biggin said, “It is slowly arriving here in the west.”

Farming philosophy:

Mr Biggin said, “I absolutely believe if you look after your soil then it will look after you. There is going to come a time when I have to hand the land back to the owner and I’d like to think I will hand it back in at least as good a state as I got it in.”

Hopes for Real Results participation:

Mr Biggin said, “I’d like to find out if what I am doing is right and if I am completely wrong then it is going to point me in the right direction. I’d like to think I am doing it right but you never stop learning. There are so many different combinations for T1 and T2.

You can look at AHDB work and hear what manufacturers say about their products, although they do tend to all make the same claims but every situation is different. A lot of trial work is done in the east, however, here in the west we have a slightly different disease spectrum and it’s useful to look on your own farm and see what happens there.”