Colchester Monitor Farm

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Tom Bradshaw is a partner in his family farm and grows 1,485ha of combinable crops – malting barley, milling wheat, peas and beans - to the west of Colchester in Essex. Apart from a small area of owned land, the majority is farmed under contracting arrangements and includes a wide range of soil types. He has been involved in Recommended Lists trials, and appeared on the BBC Harvest programme in 2013.  Tom was recently elected to the NFU combinable crops board.

Three-year summary (pdf)


For more information, please email Teresa Meadows, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Knowledge Exchange Manager, on

Previous meetings:

Drilling beans into cover crop

20 March 2015

News: Essex arable farmers on their marks for success

21 January 2015

Members of AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds' Monitor Farm group near Colchester are to start benchmarking their costs of production as a first step to improving profitability...

Read the story.

Yields looking good at Colchester Monitor Farm

27 August 2014

Harvest was completed on 21 August, which is a record early finish for us, although it hides the fact that the last third took longer to cut than the first two thirds due to the weather turning showery from about 5 August...

Read the blog.

First blog from Colchester

4 June 2014

I come from a farming family, which moved here in 1938. I’m the fourth generation in this part of Essex, and the family bought this farm in 1952.

In 2001 a neighbouring farmer issued a tender to contract farm his land, and we were successful. Truthfully I think he knew that Dad had three sons, and he decided to give us the opportunity to expand. Since then we’ve been lucky with contract work, so now the business comprises 160 acres owned – in a single block, a 60 place equestrian centre, and we contract farm for seven landowners within a 20 mile radius...Read more.

Tom In His Grain Storage

Grain storage at Tom's farm