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Sutton St Edmund farmer ponders how he will change environmental management in the future

Arable crop harvest is coming to an end and although the weather during August was not perfect, we have completed harvest in good time. Crop quality and yield has held up well after the unsettled weather.

We are busy establishing next year’s crops. With our reduced tillage approach we still do some soil loosening. It is important to get the correct balance of air into the soil without moving too much soil, creating either hard, dry clods or too loose a profile which can get wet and will compact easily, writes Eddy Gent.

Recently I have visited some other farms looking at different approaches people have to farming.

Edward Gent (16487905)
Edward Gent (16487905)

One thing I am looking at is how we are going to change our environmental management in the future. We have a higher level stewardship plan which includes 20ha of wildlife areas such as pollen and nectar areas for bees and wild bird seed areas for feeding birds during the winter. The scheme comes to an end soon and the government is changing the way these schemes work and how we will get paid. We would like to keep doing our bit to help the local wildlife and environment. Hopefully with some government support we will be able to keep doing so.

Another farm we looked around was an organic farm growing a diverse mixture of combinable crops with grass and sheep in the rotation.

It was very interesting to see crops being grown with no chemical inputs at all. The farmer was making a very good job, fields were weedy and had poor patches but on the whole the farm looked very good. With the crops fetching three times the price of a conventional crop, the farm was making good money as well.

I don’t think it would work for all farmers to go organic, as the market would not support it, but we could learn a lot about crop and soil health from looking at the organic farmers' approach.

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