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Grower insight: Jonathan Boaz

With a farming career spanning 52 years and a British Farming Awards Arable Innovator award under his belt, Worcestershire farmer, Jonathan Boaz shares the highs and lows of his farming life to date...

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Jonathan Boaz shares the good, the bad and the ungly about farming life #Growerinsight

The facts...

  • Farm type: Mixed
  • Location: Worcestershire
  • Farm size: 243ha (600 acres)
  • Cropping: winter wheat, winter barley, grass leys and permanent pasture
  • Livestock: 200hd sheep owned, 800 sheep on tack through the winter months
  • Time farming: 52 years

1. What one thing on the farm could you not do without?

 

Number one...my wife. She keeps the whole show on the road! On the machinery front, it has to be the JCB Loadall we seem to use it for everything.

 

2. If you weren’t a farmer, what would you be?

 

As well as a farmer I have always dealt in agricultural machinery all my working life, this is a job I have always got a buzz out of as I meet up with so many interesting people from around the world and it has enabled me to travel extensively. As I've grown older, I have developed a great passion for wildlife and caring for the environment and would like to devote time to this. Also I enjoy being a curator of my rural life museum...all closely linked to my core interest farming.

3. If you could grow only one crop, what would it be?

 

Grass...it's one crop that can be grown on a permanent basis without being detrimental to the soil, it has many uses and lends itself to all forms of management from extensive to intensive and copes with climate fluctuations better than any other crop I can think of.

grass pic 2

4. What has been your single biggest challenge since you started farming?

 

Learning how to understand the intricacy of the difficult soil we farm and how to work with both nature and technology to get the best out of it without exploiting it.

 

See also: Composting on-site to boost soil organic matter

5. Most impressive yield recorded?

 

The first time I achieved a yield of over 5t/acre of wheat. It was a crop of Deben winter wheat several years ago. We also took 13 mini Heston bales of straw (around 3 tons). We achieved this on some Grade 3 land not known for the highest of yields.

6. Most embarrassing incident?

6. Most embarrassing incident?

 

There have been many...most better forgotten about. One very red faced incident was many years ago when I had the misfortune of spreading 6 tonnes of well rotted muck all down the village street when I inadvertently knocked the independent PTO into gear and failed to notice till the spreader was empty.

7. What one piece of legislation would you change or get rid of?

 

Common Agricultural Policy! Hopefully we will. I believe it is impossible to have legislation that can cater for the need of a union as diverse as the EU.

8. Favourite time of year?

8. Favourite time of year?

 

Spring, the world comes to life.

9. Favourite farm job?

9. Favourite farm job?

 

Harvesting, reaping the fruits of our labours.

10. Best invention/creation?

 

This area is my forte. I am very inventive, always knocking up things in the workshop. One very useful thing I built was a sheep fencing machine, it works like a dream and is so labour saving.Over the years I have undertaken many ambitious project one of the biggest was a self propelled crop sprayer that we used successfully for many years.

12. Dream tractor or machine?

 

I have a great passion for the machines I used in my youth, so reliable compared with todays offerings. My old Massey Ferguson 165, I had it when I was 21 and it is still going strong today!

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