This month, local South Staffordshire Soil Farmer of the Year and winner of our  Whitegrove Trophy  Competition, Tim Parton spoke to Janet Hughes, director of DEFRA’s Future Farming and Countryside programme about his passion for sustainable soil management on his farm.

“Soil is such a valuable resource and we can’t afford to abuse it”

Tim is the farm manager at Breewood Park Farm, South Staffordshire (300ha).

An arable farmer, Tim uses a no-till system, brews nitrogen fixing bacteria and regularly monitors plant health and nutrition using methods including sap testing. This has significantly reduced the amount of inorganic fertiliser, fungicides and pesticides that are used on the farm. Not only has this  improved soil health it has also considerably improved crop yields.

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In England, Direct Payments are being gradually phased out over a seven year transition period. 

Table taken from the Agricultural Transition Document (DEFRA 2020). 

DEFRA have developed a BPS payment reduction calculator to help you prepare your farm business for the reduction in basic payments.

 The Farming Investment Fund (FIF) provides grants to improve productivity and bring environmental benefits. The FIF is made up of two separate funds:

  •  Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (for grants between £2,000 and £25,000
  • Farming Transformation Fund (for grants between £35,000 and £500,000)

The application window is between November 16th 2021 – 7th January 2022.

Full details of how to apply for these grants can be found in the guidance available on the .gov website by clicking on the button below. 

Chris Seabridge presented the Whitegrove Trophy, for the Farm Conservation Competition to Mr & Mrs Tim Parton at the Staffordshire & Birmingham Agricultural Society Annual Dinner.

This years winner of the White Grove Trophy Farm Conservation Competition is Tim Parton, Farm Manager at Breewood Park Farm, South Staffordshire. The trophy is awarded annually to the farmer in Staffordshire who has done the most to encourage environmental management on their farm alongside successful commercial activity. The award was judged by Michael Williams, Director of the Staffordshire & Birmingham Agricultural Society who jointly sponsor the competition with Chris Seabridge & Associates.

Impressed by Mr Parton’s strong environmental approach and clear consideration for farm profitability, the judge commented “The farm ethos is to work with nature and to produce a biologically rich soil which enables Tim to eliminate the use of insecticides, fungicides and to significantly reduce the application of nitrogen. Not only is the soil improved, but also the wildlife on the farm, with high numbers of red list species including skylarks and linnets being observed.”

Chris Seabridge was delighted to present the award to Mr Parton at the Staffordshire and Birmingham Agricultural Society Annual dinner. Mr Parton said “It has always been my plan to farm in harmony with nature, and to prove that profitable production can be achieved whilst regenerating the whole ecosystem on the farm”.

This year’s winner of the Whitegrove Trophy award is Mr John Billington of Adbaston Farm.

He will receive the Silver Lapwing trophy, now in its 41st year, to celebrate his success at managing a commercial farm whilst integrating conservation efforts into his farming business.