Julian Radcliffe

Occupation

Farmer.

Address

EH Radcliffe & Sons Ltd, Vale of Glamorgan.

Cropping

Winter wheat, winter barley, OSR, winter oats, maize, temporary grass, beans.

About the farmer

Julian is the fourth generation of his family to farm at Penmark Place. He never thought about being anything other than a farmer, and has worked here all his life, not regretting a moment of it.

Julian was the first Welsh Monitor Farmer, when he took part in the first wave of the Monitor Farm Scheme and still benchmarks with others from the group. He said, “The whole project was brilliant it was great to have everything based on his own farm.”

Julian went on the BASF trip to New Zealand and thinks that going to new places and seeing and sharing new ideas is a good way to learn.

Julian is interested in new technology and two tractors on the farm are equipped with Greenstar.

About the farm

The farm is an intensive arable farm, mainly flat, with a valley that runs through the edge of the farm. The farm is beside Cardiff airport, in a semi-rural area. The main area of the farm is ring fenced with another two blocks of land approximately 7 miles away.

The predominant soil type on the farm is a medium clay loam.

Black-grass is a big problem. Julian said, “We use stale seedbeds and spray off with glyphosate. That’s not the whole story though. A good crop rotation including maize and grass helps.”

Farming philosophy

The bottom line is important but according to Julian there is more to it than that. He said, “You should always leave a farm in better shape than you took it on, and farming is a way of life.

A good motto to live your life by is, ’Live as if you are going to die tomorrow but farm as if you are going to live forever.’ It is a long-term way of life, we do things that won’t pay in the short term but over the long term they pay hands down. As a fourth-generation farmer I am reaping the benefits of the work that those who farmed here before me have done.”

Cultivation and drilling approach

Around 50% of the land is ploughed and 50% min-tilled using a Sumo followed by a power harrow and a Horsch Sprinter drill. Where black-grass control is needed, seeds are allowed to chit.

Rotation

In terms of rotation, Julian has oilseed rape as a break crop, then wheat, then barley and then an alternative break crop, either oats, grass or maize in order to keep the OSR crops 5 or 6 years apart, and then back to wheat.

Biggest agronomic challenges

Black-grass is the biggest problem. “It costs us a lot of money,” said Julian. Ploughing and good rotation help to control the spread.

Septoria in wheat and rynchosporium in barley are the most problematic fungal diseases.

What do they most value about Real Results?

Julian always finds the trials interesting. He particularly appreciated the New Zealand tour, as this brought home ideas on using high rates of nitrogen and robust growth regulators on winter barley. A subsequent trial in 2019 produced a phenomenal crop near maximum potential, which was also valuable.