John Pawsey, Shimpling Park Farm, Suffolk – 13th of May 2016

The second visit of my UK Nuffield mini trip was to see John Pawsey

20160513_090532108_iOS

John farms about 3500 acres organically. He converted to organic in 1999 and grows Winter wheat, Spring Oats, winter beans and Spring Barley undersown with a 2 year ley which he now grazes with sheep, a new edition to the farm this year. The other new edition to John’s farm, the System Cameleon, is one of the reasons I wanted to see John.

20160513_090636501_iOS

This is the first such machine to be imported into the UK. What makes it unique is that it is a drill and also a inter row hoe. John runs an 8.8m CTF which fits the Cameleon in perfectly. When I got there the machine was busy hoeing

20160513_090450207_iOS

 

Above is the coulter that drills and hoes. It drills in 25cm rows and the hoe covers 80% of the ground

image

It really is an impressive machine and does a very accurate job of hoeing. John bought it for a couple of reasons. Firstly as a drill it has a consistent seeding depth, unlike his horsch. This means that when he blind weeds he doesn’t pull out the shallow seeded plants. Also as a hoe it manages to enter the ground in any condition due to the tungsten tip unlike the Garford. As it is so accurate as a hoe it also means it opens up many opportunities for undersowing consistently, intercropping, relay cropping etc.

20160513_090439961_iOS

John has become the distributor for the System Cameleon in the UK. If I was ever to convert to organic (no plans­čśÇ) this would be the first bit of equipment I would buy.

On John’s farm he is also hosting a field lab which is looking at Black Grass control in cereals through sheep grazing

image

Above at the top and bottom of the picture has been grazed at GS30-31 by sheep and the middle has not. As can be seen the middle had a lot of BG in head and looks worse than the other. From a quick inspection it seems a success but it looks like the BG in the grazed area is just delayed not killed. They were doing plant counts the day I was there so the results are not known yet. Whether the delayed grass BG produced less seed, I am not sure.

John’s other recent addition to the farm is a flock of New Zealand Romney sheep. These have been introduced to make use of the 2yr leys in the rotation, aid soil health and add diversity to the farm

20160513_095913389_iOS

I really enjoyed my morning with John. He is someone who is always looking at ways to improve and is not afraid to try something different. I was really impressed with the farm and the crops. Thank you John.