Louth, Lincolnshire Wolds
700 hectares of combinable crops and looking to extend business through contract farming. Mark is the 2019 Gold Award Winner with a best field yield of 16.3 t/ha of cereals.
What made you want to be a part of the YEN competition?
I entered YEN about 3 years ago, after talking to my agronomist, we decided we wanted to learn more about achieving better yields, learn more and basically asses where we are performance wise against the industry.
Have you got yield challenges on your farm?
This year has been very challenging because of the weather. Since September, we have had 350mm of rain in our area. I have managed to start drilling on the Lincolnshire Wolds, as it was fairly well drained but down in the marsh, nothing has been drilled as it has been all under water.
What is your crop management strategy?
My crop management strategy is to always start off with a spade. Go and look and see where we have compaction in soils. If we identify compaction that decides how deep I go with a sub-soiling lay. I got rid of the plough six years ago because we found on the Lincolnshire Wolds, we were getting lock-up. It’s proven really beneficial for the marsh because we were sub-soiling at 14 inches and now down to 6 inches. The compaction has disappeared, and we have got good soil structure.
Mark Stubbs receiving his Gold Award from Nick Poole, Managing Director, Foundation for Arable Research, Australia.
What have you learnt from YEN?
I’ve learnt from YEN that you can really try something different with nutrition to gain yield. I’ve been a believer that I don’t want to spend a lot of money and keep my inputs down as much as possible. By talking to other people I’ve found that it can be beneficial to spend that little extra and get extra yield.
How has this experience helped you?
This has been a massive help and I am now more technically minded and my approach is to look at the detail rather than just saying ‘I’ve always done that and I’ll do it again’. Now we try different methods, year after year, mainly on tramline trials to see how a new wild idea compares to what we usually do.
What is the best thing about YEN?
The best thing about YEN is meeting other like-minded farmers. Being able to talk and share what they do and how their trials have gone and possibly implementing them on my own farm. It may not work as well as it did on theirs but it’s part of the learning process.