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Arable Farming

Bedfordia Farms produce farm assured combinable crops from 2450 hectares of land using high levels of technology to maximise output in an environmentally sustainable way.

Area and TopographyBedfordia Farms Map

The current farm size is 2450 hectares predominately in North Bedfordshire. 2240 hectares are cropped, the remaining land consists of pasture, lakes, woods, tracks and buildings. The land is gently undulating with occasional steeper areas.

Average yearly rainfall is approximately 597 millimeters (23.5 inches).

Soil type

There are 27 different soil types, the majority of the land consists of Hanslope clay, Faulkborne and Stretham, these are classified as chalky clay which becomes waterlogged in winter.

The soil is naturally low in phosphorus (P) but has good reserves of potassium (K).

All the farmed area has been GPS soil mapped and is analysed for all the major nutrients and pH every 4 to 5 years.Bedfordia Farms Soil Analysis

In the last decade Bedfordia have invested in a series of Trimble GPS devices that have improved efficiency and hugely reduced input wastage. This maximisation has led to the arable team reaching yields of 9.5 tonnes per hectare for milling wheat and 4.1 tonnes per hectare for Oil seed rape.

Harvest yield recording on both combines is used to identify areas that vary from the mean. The “N” sensor from Yara measures the infra-red light refraction from crops and determines by their thickness or density how much product needs to be applied. A computer then determines (within pre set limits) the appropriate amount of fertiliser or crop protection product to apply to the area.

Through correct volumes of application the crop requirements are optimised, efficiency improved and environmental impact minimised.

Soil maps are uploaded and used to control the seed rates on the grain drill. This allows the use of variable seed rates to try and achieve an optimum in wheat of 600 ears per square metre.

Cultivation Strategy

Bedfordia Farms aim for a high quality, efficient, minimal cost cultivation policy.

The policy varies by season and soil type to attain the best possible return.

Generally ploughing occurs once every 3 years for 2nd wheat. A stale seedbed is achieved; weather permitting, prior to drilling in all cases, this assists in controling blackgrass.

Oil Seed Rape establishment occurs through one pass operation with the Kverneland CTS stubble finisher coupled with the Vaderstad Bio-Drill, followed by heavy rolls and a Vaderstad Biodrill applying slug pellets when appropriate.

Our John Deere 9620 and 9630 articulated tractors are some of the largest in the UK. They are equipped with an RTK auto steering system with an accuracy of +/- 25mm.
This leads to reduced operator fatigue and allows the operator to concentrate on the cultivator, as well as increasing output by 10% with a similar reduction in fuel consumption.

Technology
The two Claas 580+ TT Combines are both fitted with RTK and Trimble auto-steer for operator assistance and the Claas yield mapping. This is integrated by SOYL to compare yield against the soil scan data to help derive maps for variable seeding and slug pellet applications.

The farm is also supplied with in season satellite imagery for leaf area index to variably apply Nitrogen and as a management tool to assess variation influenced by the high use of organic nitrogen used to grow Bedfordia Farms arable crop.