Real results 50 profile - Russell McKenzie

Name: Russell McKenzie

Occupation: Farmer

Farm: John Sheard Farms

Cropping: Winter wheat, oilseed rape, winter/spring barley, spring beans, cover crops.

Farm machinery:

Combine – Claas Lexion 780
Sprayer – John Deere R4040i
Tractors – Cat Challenger 765, John Deere 7310, 6190, 6620
Drill – 6m Horsch Sprinter adapted for the no-till role
About the farmer: Russell is a Nuffield Scholar [http://www.nuffieldscholar.org/scholars/russ-mckenzie/]

His work investigated how the best no-till practitioners across the world manage to make the system work in both the wettest and driest of conditions.

http://croptecbuzz.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/harvest-2016- and-industry- innovation.html

He is also an AHDB Monitor Farm [https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/get-involved/monitor-farms/huntingdon-monitor- farm.aspx]

Has done trials for BASF for the last 13 years.

About the farmer:

Russell is a Nuffield Scholar [http://www.nuffieldscholar.org/scholars/russ-mckenzie/]

His work investigated how the best no-till practitioners across the world manage to make the system work in both the wettest and driest of conditions.

http://croptecbuzz.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/harvest-2016-and-industry-innovation.html

He was also an AHDB Monitor Farm between 2014-2017 [https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/get-involved/monitor-farms/huntingdon-monitor-farm.aspx]

Has done trials for BASF for the last 13 years.

About the farm:

Russell is manager of John Sheard Farms, responsible for arable cropping over 995ha on the Cambs, Beds and Northants border.

There are five blocks over 17 miles, end to end, mostly on heavy clay with the odd bit of kinder soil and some gravel.

The farm’s moving progressively towards direct drilling, with 200ha now in its first year of complete no-till. Russell has been working towards this for the past five years, mainly to address areas of compaction.

A wheat/oilseed rape based rotation has been opening up, introducing winter and spring barley, oats and spring beans. Cover crops fill the gaps. Almost a third of the farm is now down to spring crops, and that’s the biggest change the rotation has taken – a move to avoid blackgrass creeping in. Seed is grown on contract.

Crop areas:

  • OSR 142ha,
  • Winter wheat 432ha
  • W Barley 68ha, spring beans 120ha, spring barley 170ha, spring oats 50ha

Mr McKenzie says historically, oilseed rape has been a higher gross margin crop and remains a key part of the rotation. However, less is grown now due to flea beetle risk, plus he is trying to extend the rotation. Flea beetle is the primary concern, this year some fields were affected by the pest.

Farming philosophy:

Mr McKenzie’s philosophy is to continually look to improve how we produce our crops, improve our soils and their resilience and embrace change.

Hopes for Real Results participation:

Mr McKenzie says it t is good to get information from a real farm situation, and with the trial taking place on slightly bigger areas this should give more realistic information. It is a good
way of doing it.

It will enable him to tease out the differences in performance between the best products in a realistic situation & find what really works the best on the farm.