Welcoming Farm Safety week 2019

Farming is an inherently hazardous business, which is why we – and any other business or body that takes modern farming seriously – welcome the Farm Safety week initiative.

Run by the NFU and Farm Safety Foundation, Farm Safety week asks farmers and farming-related businesses to share stories of behaviour change and innovation when it comes to health and safety. The NFU is looking for examples of how farmers have made safety improvements, and what inspired them to change.

The history of farming – both distant and present – is laden with tragic tales of accidents that may have been avoided, and it is often personal experiences that motivate farmers to change their approach to health and safety. It is hoped that the sharing of such stories will inspire the wider farming community to alter attitudes towards farm safety for the better, so that it becomes less likely that similar tragedies occur in the future.

Hope from tragedy as one family campaigns for better farm safety

Only very recently, the staff at P.X. were given a talk by the mother of a teenager tragically killed in a farming accident deemed by the courts to have been the fault of his employers. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) stated that his death could have been prevented if the employer had managed the risks involved and ensured that the trailer he had been told to used had been properly maintained.

Nobody wants to see a repeat of such tragedies, and now his incredibly brave and inspiring mother and wider family is urging farmers to service trailers regularly. Supported by Cambridgeshire police and the HSE, the Tilly Your Trailer campaign will see trailers that have been checked and serviced by a qualified mechanic given a distinctive sticker so that drivers know the equipment is safe.

P.X. Farms takes safety incredibly seriously

Health and safety is of paramount importance to P.X. Farms. It has to be. If you’re operating heavy duty farming or haulage vehicles, you need to be doing so to the highest safety standards, both for your own protection and those around you.

Having such standards is not only a mark of our own highly professional outlook as a forward-looking agribusiness, but also of the extremely high level of care we have for the people that work for P.X. Farms and the customers we operate on behalf of.

What are we doing to improve safety?

To maintain such high health and safety standards, we invest in regular up-to-the-minute training and new ways of keeping our operations as safe as possible.

Recently, we held a session with staff where we looked at images and footage of typical farming activities in progress and, as a team, discussed what those pictured were potentially doing wrong and how they could improve their approach to both safety and efficiency.

We’ve always recognised the importance of well-maintained equipment and have regularly tested and fixed ours accordingly. But this year we decided to take one step further by inviting main manufacturers, like Horsch, to send along their engineers to appraise our equipment and make further repairs where necessary.

An example of our investment in new safety technology is the new CCTV system we have installed on our latest fleet of lorries. These cameras provide all-round view to improve visibility and safety of the surrounding environment, and record in real-time to provide footage that helps us to identify areas where we need to support our drivers with training. Another example is the recent purchase of an on-site cherry picker to reduce the need for our team to go up and down ladders.

We have also invested £100,000 in a new fuelling system to replace our existing one and improve safety when it comes to refuelling our farming equipment over long distances.

Positive attitudes towards health and safety

Ultimately, anyone working for P.X. Farms must be acutely aware of the vital importance of health and safety, and willing to continue to learn about ways to make farming as safe as possible.

By having the highest possible health and safety standards and attitudes ingrained in them, we enhance the safety of our P.X. Family members (and we like to consider everyone that works for P.X. as being part of one big farming family) and their enjoyment of our wonderful industry and way of life.

As custodians of our local environment, we have also recently created a dedicated a professional entrance to Scotland Farm for large vehicles at the roundabout, which has the added benefit of moving traffic movements away from the residential area.

We are also at pains to ensure that any local roads we use are cleared of any potentially hazardous mud and that hedges are well-maintained.

To us, this all part of what it is to be a considerate and safety conscious farming business.

Great feedback on our open day from NFU members

What a fantastic day we had on Monday 24th June, welcoming around 140 people from the Cambridge branch of the NFU (National Farmers Union) to Scotland Farm.

We’d invited the NFU members to come along and learn about the forward-thinking and innovative sustainable farming methods we use at P.X. Farms, and there was particular interest in our use of CTF (controlled traffic farming), the grain storage operation and our investment in state-of-the-art new equipment.

We had some great feedback on the day and afterwards, like these fantastic comments on Twitter:

It’s always great to be able to share our passion for embracing new ways of farming, and we look forward to hosting similar events in the future.

Harvest 2019 grain storage available

Crop storage forms a major part of our business, and you may be pleased to hear that we have crop storage available for independent farmers and grain merchants for harvest 2019 at our 82,000-tonne facility at Scotland Farm, Dry Drayton just outside Cambridge.

Capable of managing over 5,000 tonnes of incoming crop a day during harvest and the capacity to dry 1,200 tonnes per day and clean 480 tonnes per day, our facility includes high-tech monitoring in each store that cools whilst aerating and maintaining temperatures at less than 5°C.

We also have a weighbridge and sampling services that enable us to process a lorry in nine minutes and load out up to 180 tonnes per hour.

And there’s more.

We were recently awarded coveted organic status by official UK certifying body, OF & G Organic. This means that we’re now able to meet the increasing demand for organic and even vegan farming production.

Additionally, we offer a collection, cleaning and delivery service for out of spec crops through our Grain Hospital, which uses state of the art cleaning equipment to provide full colour and size sorting, and fine cleaning. This means that we’re able to help with admix and ergot removal, bushel weight improvement; pea colour sorting; premium enhancement; preparation of commodities; and cleaning all combinable crops.

This flexible storage solution can be rented annually. Independent farmers can use this storage to sell their crop to whomever they wish, whilst grain merchants can have their grain delivered from all their farms and stored in one place.

So, if you haven’t got crop storage in place for this harvest and want to learn more about our offering, please give us a call on 01954 210211 option 3 or email grainstore@pxfarms.com.

 

The threat to farming’s future

Never before has farming faced so many challenges: the pressure to feed a burgeoning population, climate issues, the growth of veganism and increasingly urban populations, price pressures, Brexit and so much more. Farming in today’s environment is undeniably a challenge, and sadly I fear any farmers not adapting to the changing environment may pay the ultimate price.

As a businessman, as well as a farmer, my response to this is how can we ameliorate this risk? How can we draw on the experiences of other industries to help us overcome the challenges?

The role of us all is to look after each other. Employers, staff, neighbours, people in the industry -we all face difficult times especially with mental health and health and well being. It’s important we consider those around us and how we can help support each other. The Worshipful Company of Farmers’ recent ‘Health & Wellbeing Research Report’ published in April 2019 highlights the challenges around mental health, long working hours and rural isolation. It makes recommendations to support each other through support groups and evidence-based learning, encourage collaboration and introduce a nationwide programme like FarmStrong in New Zealand.

The future of farming is two fold for me: it’s supporting and working together through the challenging times and celebrating the good times; and about combining scale for efficiencies of economies and specialism to build value. Supporting each other, blending the latest research with practical agricultural knowledge, and implementing best practice farming techniques all help underpin a strong industry foundation to create premiums, increase yield, reduce inputs and protect our countryside that we can all benefit from.

I’ve travelled extensively over the years to Europe, Australia, New Zealand, the US, China, Canada and India to see first hand the application of innovative farming techniques which we’ve been able to adopt and develop to the benefit of our customers and our own farms.

That experience, in particular, was the motivation for me to drive P.X. Farms to be a leading innovator in arable farming here in the UK. And to be a business that can credibly and capably support others to give farming a future.

A key driver for me is to ensure we make money for our customers and remain profitable for future stability. Though innovating can be costly and you might fail, it’s what you do next and how you adapt that is crucial.
We’re a professional and highly skilled agribusiness dedicated to ensuring profitability for both our clients and our family farm, whilst working in harmony with the countryside.

Check out our latest Spring/Summer 2019 P.X. Farms Newsletter

Our Spring/Summer 2019 newsletter is now available

Print copy – get in touch for your print copy or check out the May 2019 issue of Farmers Guide

Online copy – simply download the online version here

This issue covers:

  • Storage and cleaning facility achieves organic status
  • Diversification into potatoes
  • Major investment in safety and service for high-spec fleet
  • The threat to farming’s future – by James Peck
  • It’s all about the P.X. Family – by James Peck