Tim Russon

WHAT started as just drilling maize for Tim soon led to the main drive behind P. Russon and Sons agricultural contracting business when he started harvesting and taking on other aspects he could progress the business with, such as oilseed rape drilling. The business has grown from one person to 10 full-time employed staff, expanding up to 30 when the business is at its busiest with maize harvest.

This year, the business has harvested around 3,240 hectares (8,000 acres) of maize using two new Class Jaguar 970 forage harvesters fitted with telematics to help with machine management. Tim aims to provide year-round contracting services to try and level out work peaks and troughs and to provide a steady income stream. This includes specialist miscanthus grass cutting and harvesting in January to April, utilising the forage equipment that would normally be redundant at that time of year.

He says: “We are constantly looking for niche markets in the area where there is minimal competition in the sector so the team can start contracting in that part of agriculture.” The business has recently added inter-row grass drilling services to its portfolio. This is drilled in between standing crops of maize to help retain nutrients and soil after the maize crop has been harvested. New technology is a key focus going forwards, to see how they can help increase productivity for their customers – for example, by using variable application of fertilisers – while also reducing the impact on the environment.

The business is experimenting with different cover crops with their customers to help protect the environment at harvest time and during the following winter. There are a number of rewilding projects to increase biodiversity, which are presenting the business with the opportunity to provide alternative services, such as habitat creation and management. This runs alongside the typical agricultural contracting jobs, but gives the farmer a way of becoming more sustainable and helping the environment. “I am always looking for new opportunities and exploring what is out there,” he says. “One of the sides we have developed more is using GPS on the tractors when spreading manure as people are valuing manure more, with the prices of inputs increasing.”