Real results 50 profile - Nathan Hopkins

Name: Nathan Hopkins

Occupation: Farmer

Farm: Hopkins Developments, Sutton Farm

Cropping: Winter wheat (milling), OSR, hybrid barley, spring barley, spring beans and grass.

Farm machinery:

Sumo DTS drill (8m), Vaderstad Rapid (8m), Sumo LDS subsoiler, Vaderstad TopDown cultivator, Amazone Pantera sprayer (36m) Amazone ZAM fertiliser spreader, Claas Lexion 780 combine(12m), Fendt 980, 2 x Challenger 785.

About the farmer:

Nathan is a director of Hopkins Developments, a family business that includes a mixed farming enterprise and building project developments. He is also a director of Hopkins Concrete. These companies take much of Nathan’s time, but he has a passion for practical farming and is very much a hands-on manager. He carries out a significant proportion of the drilling and combining work. He does not believe in cutting corners, a mantra that is being tested to the full having inherited some heavy black-grass infestations on some of the land he has bought in the past few years. The farm has grown from 160ha a decade ago.

About the farm:

The farm is made up of several distinct units spread across eight miles. Soils range from difficult but potentially high-yielding silty clay loams (the majority) to brash. All is owned. The land is block-cropped as much as possible – the blocks range from 120 to Real Results Farmer details

320ha. Rotation is key to control black-grass and keep the land in good heart. The aim is to ensure no crop is grown more than one year in four, five where possible. Wheat yields average 10t/ha. Rainfall is around 870mm (35 in) per year.

Farming philosophy:

Nathan’s key aim is to maintain a viable and sustainable farm business that can stand up on its own merits. As land is taken on, Nathan and Richard have spent a lot of time bringing it back to good agricultural condition, which often starts with good drainage and ditching. Both men are prepared to try out new ideas to help this aim, and Nathan is prepared to invest accordingly. Once crops are in the ground they believe in looking after them. That includes investing appropriately in fungicide spend to protect crops in what is a relatively disease-prone area – it is seen as sensible insurance.

Hopes for Real Results participation:

Richard says the trials will provide a good vehicle for growers to benchmark their own farm practice with other leading arable businesses, and for agronomists, the advice they are providing for clients. He looks forward to seeing how the four main SDHIs compare this season, and believes the 50 growers taking part representing all arable regions of the UK will deliver a very useful dataset.