RevYstories: Pat Thornton
We will be hearing more in-depth from UK growers about their farming experiences, as they share their stories of using Revystar® XE.
Find out more about Pat Thornton and follow his RevYstory throughout the upcoming season below.
Pat Thornton farms in partnership with his father at Low Melwood, in the Trent valley in North Lincolnshire. Everything they grow on the 150-ha farm goes through the combine; winter beans for seed, wheat for seed and feed and barley, winter, and spring, is for feed too.
Pat says ‘working smart’ is always at the forefront of his mind, “Be happy with the investments that you make, make sure there is a definite return and keep an eye on the detail. On a farm of our size, we need to push every metre as hard as we can.” He is an advocate of very regular crop walking to ensure using the right products at the right time.
Pat has worked as an agronomist and agricultural consultant for many years. The size of the farm dictating the need for an alternative income stream especially, as he says, “There is not much opportunity for diversification so the opportunity to go out seasonally and work elsewhere has allowed me to keep farming. I spend about two thirds of my time on farm.”
Pat works with two neighbours, who also have alternative incomes and farms of similar size. There is no formal arrangement, but they share labour and machinery, helping one another out in a symbiotic relationship enhanced by their individual skillsets.
Soil health has always been at the forefront of decision making at Low Melwood, “The quality of the soil beneath our feet pays the bills, “ says Pat. “Our mantra is ‘Only do what’s necessary’, what’s best for the crop.”
Over the last couple of years Pat has tried different mixes and species of cover crops – mustard, spring beans, barley – for an overwinter cover crop. He has found these keep the soil structure, allowing better establishment and freer drainage.
The soils are predominately clays and the important thing for Pat is soil machinery working days, he said, “With our kind of soil type there is a very limited window of days which are suitable for drilling.”
Pat constructed a direct drill last winter, based around tines from a Dale drill to see if direct drilling would work for their soils, without spending a vast sum of money. The drill has worked well, giving them another option and some of this year’s spring crops have been direct drilled.
To minimise the risk in his wheat crop, the starting point for Pat is varietal resistance. The farm is near to Rawcliffe Bridge, where BASF have variety trials and Pat finds the ability to see local data hugely beneficial. He doesn’t chase the extra 2% of yield for a new variety, preferring varieties that he is familiar with- this year he’s growing Skyscraper for seed and Gleam for feed.
Pat has been part of BASF’s Real Results Circle since it began. He said, “Real Results has been a huge bonus for me and my little group of growers. It has provided access to new chemistry early and in a safe learning environment which has enabled us to find the best way to invest in a crop.”
Pat is planning to use 1.0 l/ha Revystar® XE (mefentrifluconazole + fluxapyroxad) at T1 across all his wheat this year. He said, “It comes back to spending money wisely and the return on investment. Results from Real Results, AHDB and NIAB/TAG work tells you it is the best place to put your money so I don’t see why I wouldn’t.”
What’s happening on the farm?
The winter wheat, both Skyscraper and Gleam have established very well and are thick, lush, and full of potential. No T0 has been applied as there has not been the level of disease to justify it. He is planning to use Revystar® XE across the board at 1.0 l/ha at T1.
Fertiliser, urea, was applied at the start of April. Pat bought his nitrogen when it was significantly cheaper than it is now and although he has cut back his bagged fertiliser this year by about 10 kgN/ha that is mainly down issues with lodging last year.
The winter barley is looking well although there is some Brown Rust in it.
Spring barley, Laureate, is also looking good, this crop is sown in areas where blackgrass is bad to widen the rotation.
Revystar® XE contains Revysol® (mefentrifluconazole) and Xemium® (fluxapyroxad). ElatusTM Era contains benzovindiflupyr and prothioconazole. Arizona® contains Folpet.
Revystar® XE, Revysol® and Xemium® are registered trademarks of BASF. All other brand names used are Trademarks of other manufacturers in when proprietary rights may exist.