Fertility building and organic weed control: Chelmsford

Past Event - booking closed

Fri, 10 January 2020

9:00 AM - 12:15 PM

Galleywood Heritage Centre, The Common, Galleywood, Chelmsford, Essex


Fertility building and organic weed control

Chelsmford Monitor Farm meeting

Conventional arable farming is changing. How might we approach farming when we lose our chemical options?   What lessons can we learn from organic farming to apply to our systems.

John Pawsey, Shimpling Park Farms, Suffolk is joining us for this Monitor Farm meeting to talk through his successful organic farming system.   Hear how John uses leys, sheep and cropping in the rotation to boost fertility and manage nutrients.   John has a series of inventive machinery to manage his weed control and a keen eye on costs.

With the potential changes ahead with glyphosate and its renewal, join this meeting to be ahead of the curve and take home lessons for your farm business.

Christy and Hew will be joined by John Williams from ADAS to share the final results from their on-farm try-out looking at the best way they could find to boost organic matter in Brookfield over three years.  

Have the amendments of green waste compost, turkey manure, sewage sludge or  the grazed grass ley performed better?  Which has added the most organic matter over the last three years?  Come along to find out.


  • Registration with coffee and a bacon roll
  • Welcome and introduction: Teresa Meadows, AHDB
  • Farm update: Christy and Hew Willett, Chelmsford Monitor Farmers
  • Organic farming – lessons for conventional agriculture: John Pawsey, Shimpling Park Farms
    • Organic farming
    • Fertility building through the rotation
    • The value of livestock
    • Weed control
    • Economics
  • Refreshment break
  • Boosting organic matter: John Williams, ADAS 
  • Putting it into practice at Parklands – what more can be done for Christy and Hew’s farm system? Group discussion
  • Meeting summary and close: Teresa Meadows, AHDB
  • Depart

For more information:

Please contact Teresa Meadows by e-mail teresa.meadows@ahdb.org.uk or call 07387 015465.

About Chelmsford Monitor Farm

Christy and Hew Willett farm at Parklands Farm in Galleywood on the fringe of Chelmsford, Essex. This mother-and-son team farm in partnership across 475 ha of arable cropping, with a mixture of owned and rented land. Their rotation is typically two wheats followed by spring beans/OSR, although this has become more flexible since 2012 to include spring barley and spring oats, based on the condition of each field. The farm has recently moved to a strip-till system and is focussed on the significant challenge of grass weed management, including black-grass and ryegrass. Most of their wheat is destined for local millers. The farm has diversified into horse liveries, as well as office and industrial lets. Christy and Hew see their greatest challenge as keeping their cost of production as low as possible without sacrificing yield. They are keen to use benchmarking, on-farm trials and discussions from the Monitor Farm programme to improve and develop their farm business in these critical years for the industry.

For more information please visit the Chelmsford Monitor Farm page.

About Monitor Farms

AHDB Monitor Farms bring together groups of like-minded farmers who wish to improve their businesses by sharing performance information and best practice around a nationwide network of host farms. AHDB organises and facilitates Monitor Farm meetings for farmers, who own and operate the scheme – by farmers, for farmers.

Monitor Farms are part of the AHDB Farm Excellence Programme. Each Monitor Farm project runs for three years.