170 ha + 840 ha arable, medium loam, Yorkshire
Phil and Simon Redfearn are third-generation farmers whose family have lived at Park House Farm, Birkin near Knottingley for almost 100 years. Phil and Simon farm 170 hectares, the majority of which is owned.
Outlining the background to their current system Phil states: “Traditionally, we used a full cultivations programme. Straight behind the combine we went in with a Flat-Lift subsoiler fitted with a tine toolbar, then left the land to green over before spraying it off and then drilled with a 3m combination unit. This is still the standard approach in this area. It worked, but the big drawback was that the output was only 10–12 ha per day, which made it slow and expensive.
“We began looking at alternatives in 2010, specifically methods that would move less soil, create a better soil structure with increased organic matter, could deal with chopped straw and were faster and cheaper to operate.. . . The Claydon System was an obvious contender: it was well-proven and we had heard good reports from other farmers. When we visited the Claydon farm we saw just how good the soil structure could be, even on heavy clay, and visited several other farms using the Claydon System on the same land as ours. What impressed us was how well the crops looked, the farmers’ enthusiasm for the technique and the benefits they were achieving.”