Tim Parton

Brewood Park Farm, S.S. and S.D. Kirk, Staffordshire

WITH an ambition to improve soils for the next generation, Tim Parton, farm manager at Brewood Park Farm, Staffordshire, has run the 300-hectare estate on  managed regenerative agriculture policy for 15 years.

Through extensive research and trials and by transitioning to no-till, the system has allowed the farm to eliminate insecticides and seed dressings and reduce herbicide and fungicide use across the whole system.

Using a modified drill which enables biologicals to be placed next to the seed, the amount of fertiliser required has fallen substantially.

Tim brews his own biology, which he says plays a vital role in fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere, releasing phosphorus from the soil and fighting fungal  infections on the leaf. Molasses is added to nitrogen applications to reduce the amount needed for each crop and feed the soil bacteria and fungi.

The modified drill also enables Tim to drill three different crops at one time, so oilseed rape can be companion cropped with clover, or buckwheat with beans, for example.

He says this gives him consistently better yields.

Cover crops are destroyed mechanically without glyphosate to reduce cost and prevent damage to soil biology. Any glyphosate used on-farm is offset by adding fulvic acid to allow biology to recover.

The farm grows a wide rotation, which includes lupins to boost soil health, and Tim has also started a haylage business to serve the local equine community, allowing him to keep grass in the rotation, which puts carbon back in the soil, establishes good mycorrhizal colonies and manages grass-weeds.

The changes Tim has implemented have not only improved soil health dramatically and seen wheat yields rise by one tonne/ha, but he says the farm now saves more than £45,000 a year compared to 10 years ago.

The judges said about Tim:  The judges praised Tim’s in depth knowledge and his studies of soil microbiology, they were impressed by the breadth of methods trailed and applied. He has set himself in a strong position going forward, post Brexit.

On winning, Tim said: “It is fantastic to have won, but also to come together to promote British agriculture. I am farming as sustainably as I can be and I am overwhelmed to be congratulated like this for what I am doing. British farming is some of the best in the world, so why not celebrate what we are doing. We produce good, high quality nutritious food and the British Farming Awards is what it is all about.”