Richard Wainwright

North Yorkshire
500 Hectares of combinable crops and large beef unit to provide organic material. Richard won the 2019 YEN Silver Award for best field yield of 15.2 t/ha of cereals.

Why did you enter the YEN competition?

I first looked into entering YEN because I wanted to know the scope of our progress in terms of plant nutrition and other technical parameters. Could we be doing things differently other than weather and moaning about things.

What yield challenges did you face on your farm?

There are numerous challenges and they vary by year; our job is to set up crops with the potential. Hopefully, the right weather, we can maximise to the full potential yield estimate. This year has shown that if you are in the right area and lucky with the weather, you’ve got a big yield.

If you’re not in the right area, your just unlucky and that’s the sad fact. We do all the work and technical preparation but if your unlucky with the weather you’ve had it.

Do you have a crop management strategy?

Following on from being a part of the YEN for the last 3 years, it is about keeping the crops, greener for longer. Whether or not that means putting on crop nutrition or crop protection products on to keep them greener, that is the way forward.

Richard Wainwright receiving his award from Nick Poole, Managing Director, Foundation for Arable Research, Australia

So, over the last 3 years what have you learnt being a YEN farmer?

 I’ve learnt from YEN that there is a myriad of information you can access but it is down to you as an individual to decide to use it or not. Whether you understand it or not, that can be an issue. With all the information and data we get from YEN and other sources, if you choose not to utilise it, you are still a farmer and need to work with the seasons. YEN adds 20-25% yield, so if do all the things right, take note of the tissue sampling, use all the available technology, we are in for another 25%.

How has this experience helped you?

Being an experienced YEN farmer helps a lot with diagnosis. Instead of just opening the shed door in December and seeing how much wheat we’ve got in it, we know as we go along, on the progress we have made, and we’ve done as much as we can. We keep measuring performance and adjusting our inputs and strategies and hopefully, we get a good result at the end of it.

What is the best thing about YEN?

At the risk of being condescending, the best thing about YEN is the enthusiastic bunch of people. I’ve realised, the whole thing has grown exponentially, and put a lot of pressure on various people. But with the stress of the size of the network, they still want to talk to you and be enthusiastic. That’s infectious and we’ve become a fantastic team.

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