Benefitting from Precision with Nick Ridley

The future is precision, and it’s not just for the big boys - Nick Ridley highlights the benefits he's seeing

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Nick Ridley of Park End Farms was one of the first farmers in the north to have his farm scanned with TerraMap and is already seeing the benefits of a variable, more accurate and insightful approach to his crop nutrition.

“It all really began a couple of years ago,” explains Nick. “Traditionally, all our land has been ploughed, as is much of the land around here, but we started to realise that this may not be the best approach any longer, as our soils were not looking as good as they could be, drainage was poor and we had very few, if no worms in the top soil.

On the advice of his Hutchinsons agronomist, Stewart MacIntyre, Nick agreed to have a Healthy Soils assessment done and this confirmed that changes needed to happen to improve the soil health on the farm. “We had to find an alternative approach to ploughing so we agreed to trial a Mzuri Strip drill.

The results have been impressive. “Despite the obvious savings on fuel and labour, we are seeing better looking crops, supported with healthy wide reaching roots, and plenty of worms in the top soil.”

Stewart then suggested having the fields mapped using TerraMap so Nick could get a really accurate and detailed view of his soils’ nutritional status.

“It was really clear that we had issues with our P and K levels, and pH levels were also highly variable across the farm. We weren’t surprised, as you ‘know your fields’ and we suspected some deficiencies, but the TerraMap results confirmed this and gave us the accurate levels of data we needed.”

“Luckily, we had an existing Kuhn fertiliser spreader with a variable rate box, and a variable rate drill, both of which connected up to Omnia really easily through the Connect system – all we had to do was plug in our iPad to the tractor – the variable plans were transferred and we were into variable rate nutrition. It was as easy as that!”

“Potassium was variably applied for the first time this autumn –- and the cost savings have been notable,” said Nick. “We used Primary P at drilling in our first experience of using a placement fertiliser and the results were impressive – plants certainly had more tillers and were better rooted. We will look at addressing the phosphorus by applying it straight onto the stubbles this coming autumn,” he added.

“It’s certainly been a really interesting journey. I used to think that precision and tools, such as TerraMap, were just for the big boys, but having now embraced the technology we have been able to see the benefits on a small arable unit like ours.

“No doubt we will learn more and more as we become more familiar with Omnia and start to use it in different ways. We will take this onto the next obvious step this autumn with variable drilling,” pointed out Nick.

 

Find more details on TerraMap HERE and find out about our Omnia Business Manager services HERE

 

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