Two years ago, Nick Padwick became the estate manager of Ken Hill Farms and Estate, near Snettisham in the UK and in one year, has already saved £40, 000 on diesel and seen a reduction in fixed costs of £230/ha.
The 1400ha estate has 600h of arable cropping and has been implementing regenerative practices such as:
- Cover crops through rotation
- Maximising diversity through rotation
- Minimising soil disturbance
- Sheep grazing
The approach is largely focussed on only farming more-productive land and cutting costs wherever possible, leading to a guaranteed stable income averaging £300/ha and providing environmental benefits at the same time.
“It will create a margin that arable cropping would never have made on the land, which is either loamy clay infested with blackgrass or virtually pure sand, yielding only 8t/ha of wheat in very good years.”
They have moved away from a system of plough, press, cultivate and drill to a reduced traffic system to minimise soil disturbance.
“We now use direct-drill, min-till and drill or strip-till and drill. In our first year, we saved more than £40,000 in diesel, despite the price going up,” says Nick.
Much of the existing machinery has been sold and replaced with a Horsch Avatar drill and two smaller tractors. The Avatar is able to plant seeds at different depths in one go.
An overview of results is outlined in the article, indicating the gross margins and breakdowns.