HUTCHINSONS FieldWise(April2019) (1) - Page 1



Fieldwise
AGRONOMY NEWS FROM
APRIL 2019
Combining technology
and agronomy to
improve profitability
We take a closer look at the new Helix Technology Development Farm
and some of the areas under scrutiny to improve future profitability.
Andrew and William Pitts farm 809ha
of arable land at Mears Ashby and
Whiston in Northamptonshire. They
are the second generation of the Pitts
family to farm this land and firmly
believe that in order for the farm to
be viable for future generations they
must be productive, efficient and
ultimately profitable.
“We are a one unit size operation
and that means one sprayer and one
combine. It’s about keeping it simple
and supports the advice from leading
accountancy firms that one unit size
farms are the most profitable and the
most resilient,” says Andrew.
Moat Farm • Whiston • Northants
Cropping: wheat, barley,
beans, oats and OSR
1 full time employee
who helps with all farm operations
To ensure that we have a farm in the
future, we need to be constantly
looking at what we are doing, how we
are doing it and if it can be done any
better, he says.
“It’s about managing out risk – we
know that over the next 7 years we
will lose subsidies as we know them,
so we need to be looking now at
making up this difference so that we
are more resilient”.
So how are we going
to do this? he asks.
“The technology revolution is here
and we need to ensure that these
technologies are relevant and applicable
to use. The relationship with our
agronomist will need to adapt to this and
I see a future when we will spend much
less time field walking and instead rely
on technologies to feed us the necessary
crop data, so we can spend more time
on strategic discussions about the farm
and sustainability.”
Andrew Pitts
HELIX NATIONAL TECHNOLOGY FARM
Michael Shemilt
HUTCHINSONS AGRONOMIST
This is why Andrew and William are
hosting the Hutchinsons national
Helix Project. The first of its kind,
the Helix project will assess how
technologies can be successfully
linked with knowledge on a farm scale
level and measured not only on yield
performance, but also productivity,
efficiency and the farm environment.
Key areas of innovation and technology
will focus on sensors and prediction
software, soil management and
analysis, to environmental aspects such
as surveillance and predictive systems,
nutrition and input technologies.
Hutchinsons agronomist Michael
Shemilt will be working alongside
Andrew and William, testing and
managing the technologies on trial to
better understand how they work and
their value in a farm scale situation.
All the data will go into a central
hub – Omnia and, in doing so, keeps
everything in one place, keeping it as
straightforward as possible.
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