Farmers Weekly’s Soils In Practice is returning for two one-day conferences.
Soils in Practice brings together experts and industry professionals from across the UK agricultural sector, providing a platform to discuss the latest advances in boosting soil fertility and best practice in soil management.
The event aims to help farmers understand some of the practical steps that can be taken to measure and promote healthy soil in a sustainable farm setting.
Experts will present interactive theoretical and practical sessions on topics including: measuring soil components, nutrient management and pest mitigation, cover crops, organic matter utilisation and the likely implications of incoming legislation on soil health.
McGregor Farms is a family farming business managed by Colin and Jill McGregor. Colin was given responsibility for the daily running of the business in 1989. The farmed area was 300ha. The business was first approached in 1999 to contract farm 100ha of nearby neighbouring land. This pattern has continued over the last 20 years to today by recommendations and referrals. The majority of agreements have been operation for over 15 years.
McGregor Farms operate a sustainable apporach to farming and the environment. Rotations are agronomically proven, focussed on building fertility and soil health to maximise yield and reduce risk. Optimum crop production results are achieved within a cost-effective system.
They were early adopters of precision farming initially with yield mapping in 1996. All farmed land is GPS SOYL sampled which has allowed variable applicatinos of phosphate and potash since 1997. Soil organic matter status is routinely measured every four years. Variable line spreading is completed by their own team. Nitrogen has been variably applied since 2007. Soil conductivity maps have been made which allow variable seed rates to be used with excellent results. All mainline equipment hs some form of GPS equipment installed.
To ensure quality of work and timeliness, a considerable investment has been made in the latest plant and machinery. The five main prime movers are on rubber tracks for low ground pressure (2 tractors and 3 combines). Tillage is based on surface cultivations, strip tillage and rotational ploughing.
Winter wheat, winter barly and oilseed rape are the principal crops grown together with spring barley. Spring “break crops” are vining peas, potatoes in collaboration with Greenvale AP and a small area of spring beans.