BASF Agricultural Solutions UK

RevYstories: Mike Hambly

In 2021 we will be hearing more in-depth from our UK growers about their farming experiences, as they share their stories of using Revystar® XE. Find out more about Mike Hambly and follow his RevYstory throughout the upcoming season below.

About Mike

Mike grew up on the family farm and after gaining a degree in Agriculture at Harper Adams in 1985, worked in a number of roles within the arable sector before returning to the farm in South East Cornwall near Callington to run and operates the Westcott Farm Partnership with his wife.

The 200ha farm has been in the family for 200 years and the Hamblys can trace their roots in the immediate area back to the 1600’s. The farm is mostly down to autumn-sown combinable crops, which are block-cropped and used to support the intensive beef finishing enterprise.

The soils on the farm are clay loam and crops are grown in a four-year rotation comprising of winter oilseed rape, winter wheat, winter oats and winter barley. Approximately a quarter of the land is ploughed, however, Mike says this continues to be reduced, with the remainder prepared by a Sumo Trio in front of a Vaderstad Rapid drill.

The focus is firmly on feed varieties and, according to Mike, the barley is “ all walked off the farm.” Straw is baled to be used for livestock bedding.

With an average rainfall of around 1500mm, too much rain is the main constraint to yields on the farm, particularly with regard to control of fungal disease. Septoria isolates in the area are as aggressive as those in Ireland and the farm lies in a Rynchosporium hotspot.

Attention to detail across all aspects of the business is key to Mike maximising output and margins, whether that is in terms of using the latest crop agronomy, precision GPS applications, or close monitoring of financial transactions. He has a wealth of technical industry knowledge, built up from some 21 years working in the supply trade, agronomy, and the grain division of Cornwall Farmers (now part of Countrywide Farmers). He is a big supporter of NIABTAG and is the technical committee chairman for Cornwall, alongside a number of high-profile positions within the arable sector.

What's happening on Mike's Farm?

What`s on the ground?

Earlier in January 2021, Mike talked to us about what he has currently got on the ground. He explains, “At least we did manage to drill some wheat this year and that is looking ok. We have Graham and KWS Extase in the ground this year. The barley, LG Flynn, is all drilled too and that is looking fine. The winter oilseed rape is looking ok too, we’ve got Aspire in. The oats are all still in the bag, we have a bit over a 100ac of oats still to drill. Hopefully, we will get a chance between now and the beginning of March to get them in”. Mike also goes on to say, “The crops are looking well, however, it is certainly wet, we’ve had just over 700mm from the 31st of October to the 31st of December”. In terms of establishment, Mike explains, “The winter wheat established well, we drilled the wheat first, it went in after last years oilseed rape. We had good establishment on that and because it was following the rape stubble it was one pass with Sumo and then it was drilled with the Vaderstad. With the way the weather went we didn’t manage to get it rolled”.

Wheat disease

Mike also shared his latest (Jan 2021) observations on any wheat disease pressures so far, saying: `You can see a few Septoria pustules on the lower leaves but to be honest that’s quite normal, nothing out of the ordinary with the rain that we’ve had. We aren’t going to worry about that until February when we can actually do something.”

In the Press

Mike is one of Crop Production Magazine’s Real Results Pioneers and was featured in this year’s January edition. Here he highlighted the challenge of farming in an area of such high rainfall and disease pressure, especially when he is driven by big yields. However, these yields must not be achieved at any cost, Mike said, “I would describe myself as a careful Cornishman, so costs are scrutinised carefully in order to deliver a healthy margin.”

Read more

Mike is part of our Real Results Circle

We caught up with Mike to find out more about his farm, farming philosophies and biggest agronomic challenges

Visit Mike's Profile
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Revystar® XE contains Revysol® (mefentrifluconazole) and Xemium® (fluxapyroxad). Revystar® XE, Revysol® and Xemium® are all trademarks of BASF. Siltra Xpro contains bixafen + prothioconazole.