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'Precision conservation'

'Precision conservation' is a relatively new phrase within our collective businesses and, as such, it is right to ask the question: What does it actually refer to?

For most, 'precision' and 'conservation' are two words not immediately associated with one another. In an agricultural context, 'conservation' can have us thinking wistfully of tussocky field corners and snaking wildflower margins. Of course, when you really think about it, the location of these features is never by accident. Some planning is always involved and that's when the link between the two words becomes clearer.

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Turning Countryside Stewardship negatives into positives

The Kings team has delivered a series of grower workshops across a number of regions in recent weeks to provide support and insight on a wide range of land-based topics. These included getting the best from Ecological Focus Areas (EFAs), guidance on simplified offers from Natural England, and how best to integrate stewardship and sporting interests...

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Make the most of your ‘natural capital’

'Natural capital' is a relatively new phrase within UK agriculture. We spoke about it as part of our presentations at this year's 3D Thinking seminars and it sparked a real interest amongst growers. As we explored the phrase's definition and what it meant for farmers, our audience soon recognised the importance of 'boarding the agri-environment bus...

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Countryside Stewardship – too good an opportunity to miss

As we enter a period of change in agriculture, don't let niggles stop you acting to seize this huge opportunity. Recently, my wife and I had the opportunity to go out for a meal unencumbered by children. As my mind works in rather convoluted ways, our time at the restaurant had me thinking about the parallels between what we experienced and, oddly,...

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Cover crop destruction: timings, species and methods

Nearly everyone is talking about cover crops. Soil health and ways to preserve it have been prominent topics at recent farmer meetings that I've spoken at and the area of cover crops planted post-harvest has significantly increased. This isn't really surprising given the growing focus on water quality and last January's change in Ecological Focus A...

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Stewardship can be good for any business

This article was first published in the December issue of Three Counties Farmer.  As soon as the autumn drilling and harvest period came to a satisfying conclusion, it seems thoughts and potential decisions immediately moved to the spring. No doubt the British weather will serve up some extremities in the coming months but, in the meantime, bo...

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Balgonie: an Interreg North Sea Region PARTRIDGE project

As part of my role as a Kings advisor, one of the great things I am involved with is the Balgonie grey partridge project in Fife. Balgonie features as one of 10 Interreg North Sea Region PARTRIDGE projects and, as with the work we also support at Loddington, it serves as a demonstration site and involves us working closely with the Game and Wildlif...

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Integrating new policy into the modern farming business

This blog was first featured as an article in the November issue of Three Counties Farmer: The sun has continued to shine. As I write, the weather forecast shows a considerable rain event over the coming weekend preceding another settled spell. Autumn drilling and harvest continues but, with my growers at least, there isn't an air of comp...

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Post-maize opportunities

Over the last five-to-six years, it's been clear to see an ever-increasing area of maize being grown across the UK. Maize has a number of production uses but the most notable are bio-gas and forage. With so many now taking on the crop and due to the nature of which it is grown, it's important to consider careful management while it's in the ground ...

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Catch crops: don’t get caught out

Catch crops, sown in the summer, can be used very effectively as part of an Ecological Focus Area (EFA) greening requirement. These crops offer potential benefits to soil and rotation management beyond the financial rewards of EFA. However, it's important to comply with EFA criteria around management dates. Catch crops that were established by the ...

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It’s win-win if we work together

​This blog was first featured as an article in the September issue of Three Counties Farmer What a difference a day makes. It's a lovely song by Dinah Washington, originally written in Spanish by Maria Grever. It's been covered by many artists over the years and no doubt murdered on the X Factor in more recent times. Having been lucky enough to tra...

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Potatoes in Practice

Kings attended Potatoes in Practice this month, the UK's largest field-based potato event. Held at The James Hutton Institute's Balruddery Farm in Dundee, our team were delighted to be attending for a third year. The event comprised demonstrations of both varieties and machinery, highlighted innovative research and was a great platform for industry...

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What would Dragons' Den make of agriculture?

This blog was first featured as an article in the August issue of Three Counties Farmer Since beginning these monthly columns back in March, I think we've experienced almost every weather condition Mother Nature could throw at us. At times I've written this while watching the snow settle ever deeper and the winds get bitterly cold. I've witnessed w...

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Are you thinking about companion crops?

​Well, harvest is flying! Crops are in the barn much earlier than usual which gives us more time to think about how best to tackle oilseed rape establishment. However, that's not all there is to start planning. Some growers are using this extra time to contemplate companion crops and how they can help bring benefits to their farm.  Companion c...

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Countryside Stewardship - is it for you?

As I sit here writing this blog in my office, from the corner of my eye I can see a fairly substantial pile of paperwork relating to the ten-or-so Countryside Stewardship applications I am putting together on behalf of customers. Thankfully, Natural England has extended the deadline for submitting completed applications to 31st August, so I can bre...

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Be inspired for fresh start in post-harvest

This blog was first featured as an article in the July issue of Three Counties Farmer Once again, I write this during yet another change in the weather. The cold, wet spring has now given way to some very warm days, some intermittent and heavy downpours and a late growing season which has delivered some amazing growth to both spring and winter sown...

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Best practice for warm weather and high temperatures

With the hot and dry weather set to continue, Kings sales manager, Richard Barnes, discusses the impact for game cover and wild bird seed crops across the UK and how to manage them for best results.   Having been an advisor with Kings for 15 years, how does this year's weather compare to that of previous years? Every year has its own challenge...

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Take care of your farm’s biggest asset

This article was first published in the June edition of 3 Counties Farmer I've been told on many occasions the best time to plant a tree was 40 years ago and the next best time is... tomorrow! Thinking further than a day ahead can seem quite difficult when you are in the thick of a busy growing season, hampered by cold and wet conditions while atte...

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When is best to drill your game and stewardship crops?

With the sun shining and spring positively blooming just now, many growers will be overcome with the itch to start drilling. However, it's worth asking yourself - is now really a good time to drill your game cover, wild bird seed, nectar flower and other stewardship features? Good things come to those who wait In most instances (especially for kale...

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Thoughts from the field

Over the last two weeks, my travels have taken me as far as the Scottish Borders right down to glorious Exmoor. Along the way I've been stopping off to visit customers and present to growers, both of which have offered me a fascinating insight into where the farming, greening and sporting worlds are currently at. To better explain, I thought it wou...

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