“We need the public to buy British produce, and to do that, we need them to understand and value what we do in the countryside,” he adds. “And that means taking the time and the opportunity to educate.”
A fourth-generation farmer, Richard says diesel, labour and machinery costs are at the forefront of everything the farm does, and investing in new machinery is based on reliability, and the local dealer’s ability to support his business.
“We recently bought a new Kubota BV5160 round baler from Browns, after another machine’s constant failures prompted an early rethink,” he says. “That was three years ago, and now with almost 10,000 bales on the counter, we’re extremely pleased with its performance.”
Each season, the farm produces just over 3,000 bales, comprising grass silage, hay and straw. Bale sizes and density are varied, to suit storage and logistics, and with a drop-floor and 14-knife crop chopping system, he and baler operator Trevor King, say bales are easy to rehandle and distribute.
“These bales don’t sag,” says Trevor. “They’ll stand a fair bit of handling too.”
The farm makes the most of storage by stacking straw bales on top of clamped silage, to enjoy under-cover storage. The clamp’s sheet is first covered with a layer of conventional bales, with the round straw bales then placed, and pushed over the top.
“They slide well, and stacked in two layers, help with consolidation. As both straw and silage are used in equal measure, it makes sense to keep them together,” he says. “It’s all about making the most of what you have. And based on the service and support we’ve had from our dealer, we’ll look more seriously at a Kubota tractor next time, too.”