Operator keeps a weather eye on applications
Nick Light operates a 30m, Sands Horizon 4000 covering 513ha of owned land and 200ha of contracting at Lodge Farm, Westhorpe, Stowmarket. This is the AHDB’s first Strategic Farm and, he says, he found the experience of being a Monitor Farm very rewarding and is looking forward to the next step.
The farm is in ‘semi-CTF’ – taking a pragmatic approach to confining all operations to the same tracks. His sprayer is equipped with RTK and auto-section control, which he says pays for itself in accuracy and savings.
An old piggery on the farm has been converted into his filling area enclosed by bunds, which drain into a lagoon. Rainwater off the roofs is collected and stored for spraying. “Our water is quite hard, so the softer water does make a difference to efficacy with certain products, particularly glyphosate,” he explains.
A finalist in 2015, Nick was encouraged by friends to enter again. “It is a very good experience and a great opportunity to learn from others. I have followed, past winner, Matt Redman’s tip and installed a camera on the sprayer boom,” he adds.
He also has a weather station on the farm, which is linked into a network of others using an App which helps him to prepare and plan his operations.
“This not only allows me to predict the weather, but gives me real-time information about what is actually happening, on the ground in other areas at the time and that’s is pretty key to us here. Tight timings and spray windows seem to get shorter and shorter, so it’s a good bit of kit to have on the farm,” he says.
Nick feels the industry needs to improve communication and recently took part in the Suffolk Agricultural Association’s Farm Fair, where 4,300 school children learned about modern farming.