Richard Anthony

R. & L. Anthony,

Tythegston Farm, Glamorgan

Richard Anthony operates a diverse, progressive arable enterprise which integrates livestock and renewable energy, with a focus on soil health.

The 40 hectares of owned, 906ha rented and 265ha contract-farmed business is predominantly arable, with 425ha winter wheat, 140ha OSR, 325ha maize and 60ha barley, 265ha grassland and 800 breeding ewes.

Richard and his wife Lynwen have developed the farm from a 45ha tenanted holding to a sustainable and profitable business over the past 23 years.

Recent key investments include a biomass boiler and a 65kW organic rankine cycle system to produce power used on-site, while surplus heat is used for on-floor drying of grain, hay, logs and woodchip, or exported to the grid. This allows cereal crops to be cut at high moisture, dried using a biomass boiler and marketed throughout the year, as another aid to cope with more challenging weather at harvest.

An adapted Mzuri drill has allowed three crops to be established in one pass, helping reduce OSR losses and provide nitrogen from legumes.

Crop rotations include forage and cereal crops, with often three crops grown in two years. The farm is trialling novel crops including haricot beans and utilises cover crops to reduce soil run-off, keep soils biologically active and lock carbon. He also hosts 1,500 small commercial variety trial plots.

Integrating livestock has provided diversity and shown improvements to soil health. As a result, Richard has seen arable yields increase as soils have become more moisture-retentive with greater overall resilience.

Large machinery is fitted with GPS to reduce passes, compaction and increase efficiency. Muck spreaders are fitted with weigh cells for accurate spreading and minimum compaction.

Digestate has reduced inorganic fertiliser costs, increased organic matter and reduced the farm’s carbon footprint, while generating an income.

On winning, Richard said:

“I feel very humble when you look at some of the previous winners but II haven’t done this on my own. My wife Lyn is very much part of it, and so is the fantastic team I’ve got around me. Over the next few years were going to see some huge changes in farming. Some of the work we’ve got planned over the next two years is very exciting, particularly cover crops and companion crops which is where we’re going with managing our soils. I’m proud of what we’re doing. People don’t see the value of farming, for soil management, wildlife, soil erosion and carbon. It’s incredible, the more I learn about soils, the more I realise how little I know and it’s so inspiring to see some of the results.”

What the judges said: 

“Richard and his wife Lyn have established a diverse and progressive arable business that is ready to adapt to future challenges including loss of subsidy and an increasing focus on soil health and the environment. While Richard is open to adopting new practices, each change to his business is inspired by research and integrated with all other sections of this very diverse enterprise, to all complement each other. A progressive thinker, he continues to make changes to the farm’s growing methods including no-till and companion cropping.”