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Young Farmer Focus - Matt Redman, Bedfordshire



Matt Redman, 28, operates a farming and agricultural contracting business, specialising in crop spraying, avadex application and direct drilling, in Gravenhurst. He also grows cereals on a small area of tenanted land.

 

Harvest: The bulk of oilseed rape (OSR) drilling was completed by August 22, leaving a few odd fields to do once they have been combined.


Before harvest I had not planned on carrying out much OSR drilling due to cabbage stem flea beetle and the loss of neonicotinoids, resulting in reduced areas of OSR being grown. However, I have been lucky.


Black-grass pressures and dry conditions have meant there has been a demand for a low disturbance method of establishment.


At the time of writing I have managed to drill about 280 hectares (690 acres) so a good rain soon would be much appreciated.


Autumn: This is my busiest time of the year with more than 4,000ha (9,880 acres) of Avadex to apply, along with spraying stale seedbeds and pre-ems on another 300-400ha (740-1,000 acres).


To add to the fun and games, this year I have also increased the area of autumn drilling I do, going from a few odd jobs to about 800ha (2,000 acres), most of which will be no-till/direct.


Obviously I can not manage all this on my own, so there is also the added challenge of organising staff, liaising with customers and ensuring everyone is where they are needed, and expected, to be and any breakdowns are dealt with quickly to reduce downtime.


It is hard work and can be pretty stressful, especially if the weather is not on our side, but most rewarding in the end.


Future: I have been extremely lucky I have been able to start my business by basing it on the family farm and renting a corner of the yard, grabbing shed space where possible.


However, it has now reached a point where it has outgrown this temporary home and I need to find a yard or farm of my own, which could be difficult.


Going forward, I want to take on a member of staff full-time. It is becoming difficult to find good seasonal staff who can work later into the autumn – someone full-time can also take the pressure off at other peak periods through the year so a better work-life balance should be possible.


Taking someone on will bring a whole host of new challenges and opportunities to the business and is something I am extremely nervous and excited about.


British Farming Awards: I am proud to have been shortlisted for the ‘Contractor Innovator of the Year’ in the British Farming Awards 2016. It is a huge honour to be shortlisted among other businesses which I have looked up to and thought ‘I want to be like them’ since before I started out on my own.


Good luck to everyone who has been shortlisted. I am looking forward to the awards on October 20.

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