Charles Matts_blog2

Arable Farmer of the Year Finalist

Charles Matts, Managing Director of Brixworth Farming is one of three finalists in the 2015 Farmers Weekly Arable Farmer of the Year Award.

Charles is keen to stress that the whole team at Brixworth Farming is responsible for the success of the business and that the recognition must go to everyone.

The judges were impressed by the way that we maximise margins and aim to add value to our crops wherever possible by growing varieties that command a premium. We have an excellent relationship with our grain merchant, Charles Jackson & Co , who gets involved at the start of the cropping cycle, rather than at the end. We ask advice on the crops on which we can best add value, even if the yield is lower, we can achieve a better overall margin because of the premium. For example, last year we grew some Kielder wheat that yielded 11.2t/ha, while Revelation averaged 9.8t/ha. However, Revelation gave a better overall margin because of the premium. Brixworth Farming has also become a LEAF Marque certified business, demonstrating our commitment to environmental sustainability and enabling us to add value to other crops such as oilseed rape. This is grown on contract with ADM to make Hellmann’s mayonnaise and fetches a premium of £15/t.

The judges were also impressed by other ways in which we have demonstrated innovative farming techniques at Brixworth Farming. Uniquely, we haul crops directly from the field, with chaser bins loading into lorries, so there is no on-farm storage. The old grain stores have been converted and rented out as workshops or storage units, which more than covers the cost that we pay for haulage, storage, drying and laboratory services. And we’re getting a better price for our crops. In addition, the judges liked the use of cover cropping to improve soil health, the strategy to suppress blackgrass and the strong team ethic at Brixworth Farming, thanks to our hard-working and committed staff.