Richard Ward manages, share farms and contract farms 640 hectares of Arable and Grassland in the North Cotswolds. Soil-types vary from Banbury Iron-stone, to heavy Warwickshire clays, to light sands, often all in the same field. Unusually for the Cotswolds, there are no Brash soils whatsoever.
During 44 years of farming, he has tried various methods of Arable farming, including Plough based, Direct drilling and Min-till.
Like his father, he has completely given up ploughing twice, only to be forced to return to it, because it has proved to be the most consistently reliable, cost effective and profitable way of farming the types of land he farms. Mostly due to its vastly superior, reliable and considerably cheaper Blackgrass control.
Still keen to try and to learn about alternative methods, he wants to learn about No-till farming, especially as this method will attract financial farming support in the future, once we have left the E.U. and the CAP.
However, he is not encouraged to adopt this system until that financial support is established for three reasons:
1. Will we actually leave the E.U. ? Therefore, will the “Public money for Public goods” actually happen?
2. Why invest in and change to an unproven system on his soil types until he absolutely has to or needs to, when the plough based system he uses now, works so well?
3. What happens if Glyphosate is banned? Ploughing will remain the only viable way to continue farming his farms. Therefore why invest in a new system that will totally rely so heavily on Glyphosate, when its future use is in jeopardy?