The article below comes from Tillage magazine, and was written by Marion King. To access the original article, please click here.
Precise attention to detail in every aspect of growing every crop in every part of every field certainly isn't easy when you're managing 2400ha in 40 separate parcels of land up to 25 miles apart under 17 different contract farming agreements.
But this is exactly what father and son, Bill and Eric Wright and their six-man Wrights Agriculture team are doing across nearly 2000 square miles of north Leicestershire and south Nottinghamshire by making the very most of modern farming and communication technologies.
From Gleve Farm, Saxelbye near Melton Mowbray, they've grown and developed the family business over the past five years, in particular with a tightly managed recipe of precision, performance, efficiency and accountability based firmly on long term land care.
Working closely with Agrii agronomist Harry Abell, the Wrights insist on Soil Quest scanning and management zoning of all the land they farm as part of each new contract agreement. Variable rate fertilisation, sowing and increasingly now, spraying is managed through the Agrii Precision Services portal integrated with Gatekeeper and John Deere's Greenstar system.
All agronomy recommendations are made, application information transmitted to the field team and operating records automatically updated to the management computer at Glebe Farm through individual iPads using the simple Dropbox system.
"The technology allows us to manage our scale of operations with the individual field care and attention we've always seen as vital," stressed Bill Wright. "Our landowners entrust us with their most valuable asset, As well as generating the best returns from it, with the greatest economies of scale, we treat it as we would our own and are fully accountable for everything we do."
"Understanding the actual variations in soils across our fields has enabled us to be very much more precise in our phosphate, potash and lime applications," Eric explained. "Accounting for them effectively in our fertilisation strategy makes a big difference when we're managing such a large area.
"More recently, we've been moving to variable seed rates for all our crops, varying winter wheat sowing from 100 to 400 kg/ha in some fields as much to combat grassweeds as to even-up establishment. We're also using satellite imagery through the Agrii Precision Services portal to vary our nitrogen applications.
"Harry and I are now starting to employ the satellite images to fine-tune our wheat and OSR fungicide and PGR rates too," he added. "This season, for instance, we've been increasing our To, T1 and stem extension applications in the thicker areas of the crops carrying greater risks of disease and lodging while reducing rates in the thinner areas, applying 90-120% of the prescribed average application rate of 100l/ha.
"Confidence in and close-working with Agrii and other key partners is central to the recipe we've developed. Careful monitoring and management of all our operations, the versatility of our high capacity fleet and well-integrated support from our suppliers ensures we maintain the attention to detail as well as scale so essential to success."