Farmer Focus – Tim Parton

Yet another challenging Spring! Don’t you just love farming! It’s what I love most even though I moan (according to my wife) but if it was easy, everybody would want to do it! Every year is a new challenge, bringing new decisions, sometimes things go wrong sometimes they work spectacularly well.

Canola was drilled the first week of September in a field crawling with Flea beetle (even I was concerned). As usual I started the plant off with placed balanced nutrition and much to my delight the flea beetle disappeared, since no food was available because the plant was synthesising correctly, putting the right sugars out as exudates and not having a build-up of mono saccharides (within the plant), which is pure food for the beetles. All Canola was drilled with white clover, Burseem clover and Crimson clover. First time for me growing Crimson clover which is quite dominant and has certainly taken over in any poor patches! Problem or opportunity? I always try to look for the positives in life, so a new riddle has been ordered for my Grain cleaner, which hopefully will enable me to clean out the clover and re-grow! Ever the opportunist.

I have 14 different trials on the go this Spring which as you all know generates work within itself. If I have a new idea, I need to get on with it or I’d have to wait a whole year before trying it out. Nick Woodyatt and I have been kept busy as ever keeping the farm moving forward. Wheat has been grown with 50kg of soil applied N and then monitored through sap testing at Novacrop. I gather a lot of people have had trouble getting samples across, maybe I have been lucky, but all samples so far have gone through fine. I am using the amide N from Aiva fertilisers which I apply with whatever nutrient the plant requires to keep it balanced.

At the time of writing once again no fungicides have been used, with the wax on the wheat leaves simply glowing and standing proud with its full armour on ready to withstand attack! I am growing some Spring barley with just amino acids this time being an Organic form from Mike Harrington and more Carbon positive. “What do points make?……. Money!” (in the form of more Carbon to sell). Results will be revealed in my next article along with the other trials. Most foliar applications are now done at night since there are obviously no UVs (scorch or biological terminator) at this time. Additionally, the plant does 80% of its growing while most of the general population are asleep, which is the perfect time to add a foliar in my opinion with test results backing this up.

Spring Beans were drilled on the green and using the crimper roller that Trevor Tappin built for me. It worked very well as ever, with each roller being independent and able to follow the contours of the land, along with being able to set the pressure to suit the crop on the roll using air, I was able to achieve the perfect crimp! Cover crops were a little uneven here due to the very dry start they had last year, which meant I also needed a low dose of glyphosate to finish the crop off. Beans were drilled with a compost tea, from a 1:1 F/B compost made on farm in my new extractor/ brewer, which has worked fantastically well! I have been a little better off for rain this Spring, than I was last year (desert) and the whole farm looks very well at the time of writing (which has probably put the kiss of death on it!) But it really is nice to see the whole farm functioning well and work coming together. For anybody just starting off on the journey, firstly, well done for starting and secondly, always remember where you are heading and what you want to achieve; as it doesn’t always go as planned and can be challenging, but isn’t that the roller coaster of life? You must have the dips to appreciate the highs and one would get bored if it was continuing highs!

I have also been kept busy this Spring with my colleagues at The Green Farm Collective, holding our first conference #GFC22 on the 25th May, along with Trinity AgTech and our sponsors – Edaphos, Oakbank Game and Conservation, Severn Trent Water, Soil First Farming, Kings Crops, Indigro. A good day was had by all. Carbon and biodiversity are going to play a big part of our incomings going forward and will become the norm for future generations of farmers.

Trinity AgTech launched their grassland module for permanent grassland and Severn Trent Water launched some of their new catchment area schemes, which were welcomed by those in the catchment areas.

Hope to see you at Groundswell and I wish you all a successful harvest.