(Picture only shows half of the room as the wide angle lens from the stage is not wide enough. Think of it like a butterfly image.) I’ve completed my two talks at Farm Tech12 in Edmonton Alberta Canada, one as a keynote speaker on PX Farms and the other on my Nuffield travels. Standing in front of 1600 people to give an hour talk, stretched me, which is what Nuffield is about. I was told “do something everyday that takes you out of your comfort zone”. I shall remember this adventure for along time to come. I’m awake at 3 am Canadian time as i haven’t been able to climatise to the time which considering I’m returning home today is a good thing. Ive never been to an event like it. 1600 people for 3 days listening to keynote speakers and break out sessions. Its a well run event and there is a lot of younger farmers present and also positive feeling towards the future of Canadian agriculture. Google Farmtech12 and see the program. I spent some time with Steve Larocque a Canadian Scholar who is a Canadian Controlled Traffic Farming pioneer.

Following the sun to generate energy

Scotland Farm’s new solar panels have made the features section of the Farmers’ Guardian. The article is reproduced below with a link to the original at the bottom.

A new generation of photovoltaic panels which turn to follow the sun to produce solar energy, have been installed at aCambridgeshire farm.

The innovative panels will provide all the power needed to dry thousands of tonnes of grain at Scotland Farm in Dry Drayton,Cambridgeshire.

The five ground-mounted ‘tracking’ photovoltaic units are now operating and the renewable energy will save around 40 per cent of the farm’s annual electricity bill.

Meeting needs
Owner James Peck says: “For some time I have wanted to be involved in renewable energy.
“I chose solar because energy generation is highest in the summer when our use of electricity is at its highest drying and storing grain. I think sunshine is more reliable than wind and a lot less trouble than anaerobic digestion.

“These units are especially effective because, like sunflowers, they keep turning towards the sun as it moves across the sky from dawn to dusk.

“These are a great improvement on former systems which are static. I believe mine are some of the first to be installed in this country – if not the first.”

The five tracking units are sited at ground level close to the grain store, to which the power they produce will be sent.

Robin Purser of EcoEnergy (Europe), the firm which carried out the installation, says: “With a power output of just below 50kWp (peak power at maximum solar radiation) the system works well with Feed-in Tariffs.

“Ground-mounted systems are becoming more popular as people realise the benefits – photovoltaic is not just for putting on a roof.”

Mr Peck also received funding in the form of a 10-year loan from NatWest and help from farming adviser and Norfolk CLA committee member, Lindsay Hargreaves.

Mr Hargreaves says: “The really great thing about this installation is that commercially, it stacks up.

“We needed this to pay its way within 10 years on 100 per cent borrowed money, which it does. So this is not just a win for the environment, but for James’s bank balance too.”

The original article at the Farmers’ Guardian site can be viewed by clicking here.


FarmTech 12

I’m currently in Canada, Edmonton in Alberta at FarmTech12 a conference and agricultural showcase.
I’ve never seen anything quiet like it.
1600 farmers for 3 days listening to keynote speakers in the main room pictured below and then break out seasons were you chose one of 4 talks to go to each hour. The venue is enormous.

My keynote talk is for an hour on running an agribusiness in the uk is on Thursday morning in front of 1600 people and then a break out session at 3.30 for an hour on my Nuffield, Arable farming where next?

This is like the Oxford farming conference on steroids.

Location:102A Ave NW,Edmonton,Canada

Nuffield irish conference

The Irish nuffield conference was on Friday afternoon with presentations from Julian, Kevin, Kevin, bill and bill. Caroline made it from the Uk as well. Good papers by all.

On saturday Steve and i went hunting for the day with the island pack of hounds. We hired two horses and went hunting with Julians brother Frank and met at paddys farm near carlow. Steve hadn’t ridden a horse for 15 years but was a jackaroo in Australia for 2 years. We had a good days hunting jumping 5 bar gates, bank and ditches. Steve only fell off once, he has more sticking power than super glue.

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CTF conference at PX Farms

Excellent conference on CTF and my Nuffield adventure. Very grateful for all the presenters and farmers that attended. We had a turn out of over 80 people. Tim Chamen and his wife worked hard on the day. We had Robert Camps from the catchment sensitive project, Rtk farming, David White and Chris Ashcroft, Will Mumford from As communications, Stephen Burcham from Horsch, Jo Franklin from Agrovista, Mark Kitson from AGCO.
In the afternoon Tim Chamen gave a working demonstration on soils, Robin Purser on solar panels, Luke Stanbridge on the automatic grain drier. I showed the machinery lined out showing the track marks laid out by chalk to demonstrate how the machinery will work in a field situation.

Mother had been baking for a week and we all enjoyed tea and cakes in the afternoon.

Location:Scotland farm