Managing Nutrients

P.X. Farms has a longstanding relationship with precision farming specialist SOYL, and we have exploited soil analysis combined with nutrient offtake data to establish soil, status and direct variable rate applications where necessary.

We still study the data and will use analysis when taking on a new tenancy, as well at the end of its term, or for contracts, to document soil quality improvements,” explains James.

However, we are moving increasingly to blanket applications of lower costs product. Variable-rate application is still appropriate for higher-cost treatments. By standardising treatments, we can aim for meaningful measurements.

The aim is to increase indices with a target of 2+, and each field receives nutrients every year. “Sulphur has an increased influence, and we are carrying out sulphur trials. Due to the enforcement of the Clean Air Act, we will need to supplement sulphur on crops such as brassicas.”

Nutrient sources are also carefully considered – Limex, Fibrophos and Gypsum are all used.

James says: “Fibrophos is heat-treated chicken manure which has no odour, so is more socially acceptable in built-up areas and helps avoid nitrate vulnerable zone (NVZ) issues. We also like products that can be stored outdoors and spread in summer.

Prioritising Drainage when Taking on New Land

Drainage is a priority for new farms, with the first course of action being to dig ditches out and cut back hedges, allowing assessment of existing drains.

PX Farms Sapperton 2020

Generally, it is headland drains which have failed, or old infrastructure systems, as increasingly heavy machinery can break pipes. Headland drains often prolong life to the field if replaced as they take the largest impact from water, machinery and block outfalls resulting in damaged systems.

Soil sampling follows, and pH is corrected if necessary, along with P&K levels. Where there is evidence of compaction, this is addressed with a deep subsoil.

You can see the difference, after 600mm of rain in winter 2019-20, land that had been in CTF had no standing water, whereas farms that were new to us were waterlogged,” comments James.

Obtaining drone footage can also be revealing for these farms, giving an accurate picture which is more up to date than Google Maps.

P.X. Farms Workshop First to be Tilly Pass Approved

The workshop at P.X. Farms is now authorised to inspect trailers for the Tilly Pass scheme, the first on-farm facility so far approved to carry out this vital function.

Tilly Pass Certificate

Agricultural trailers are legally required under PUWER 98 Regulations to be in a roadworthy condition – well maintained and in good working order with records of maintenance held by the owner/farmer. However, this can be overlooked with busy farm schedules, and many farms don’t have the experienced mechanics qualified to carry out a thorough inspection.

The Tilly Trailer Pass offers the opportunity to maintain trailers to the legal standard. An annual 18-point inspection is carried out on the trailer owner’s farm by authorised mechanics from a list of approved dealers at www.tillypass.co.uk. Upon completion of the test, a Tilly certificate will be fixed to the tailgate of the trailer, clearly displaying a Tilly Pass unique number. This number is recorded along with the chassis number for a thorough record of your maintenance.

“Farm safety is at the heart of everything we do – P.X. Farms has a Tilly Pass on trailers large and small, including trailed implements, to ensure that they are up to standard,” comments P.X. Farms Managing Director James Peck.

We are pleased to have been approved to carry out the inspections in our dedicated workshop so that we can ensure that this vital safety check takes place, regardless of our busy workload.”