Real results 50 profile - Robin Aird

Name: Robin Aird

Occupation: Farmer

Farm: Charlton Park Farms

Cropping: Winter wheat, oilseed rape, spring barley and winter barley

Farm machinery:

Min-till system based on a Gregoire Besson Discordon cultivator and Vaderstad Rapid drill, trailed sprayer, New Holland CR900 combine, and grain dryer

About the farmer:

Robin Aird graduated from Harper Adams in 2000 and following work on a soft fruit and contracting business in Northamptonshire, he moved to Charlton Park Estate in 2003 as farm manager. He is BASIS and FACTS qualified and undertakes all the agronomy work on the farm. In 2007 he was awarded a John Edge Scholarship and in 2013 completed the Worshipful Company of Farmers’ Advanced Course in Business Management. He manages three staff.

About the farm:

Charlton Park Farms is a division on the Charlton Park Estate, seat of the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire. This is a large diversified business which includes tourism and sporting activities.

The farming business covers 1200 hectares of arable land, all down to combinable crops. Min-till has been practiced for the last 14 years and over that period Robin has noted improvements in soil structure and an increase in the number of earthworms. He has managed to eliminate brome as a problem but does have to cope with the challenge of blackgrass.

The soils are all grade three and include gault clay, oolitic limestone and cornbrash.

Recent investments have included a 40 tonne per hour grain dryer to compliment the 5000 tonnes of storage on the farm. The plant has sufficient capacity to allow for drying and cleaning of crops for third parties.

There are 78 hectares of managed woodland and some areas of grassland let out on annual grazing licences.

Environmental features cover 30 hectares across the farm with the main objective to increase the number of wild birds.

Farming philosophy:

Robin aims to farm productively while at the same time looking after the environment across the estate.  He has been very committed to various environmental schemes and is currently involved in the planning process for a new anaerobic digester.

Hopes for Real Results participation:

Robin says, “I just want to make sure that what we are doing here is right. Comparing results with others should be really useful.