AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Nuffield arable scholarship 2013

AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Nuffield Arable Scholarship Award winner Tom Sewell, will give a regular update on his progress over the next 18 months of looking further into the long-term benefits of direct drilling.

The father of four who farms in Kent picked up his award in November 2012, and spent the next year and a half researching his project, titled "Moving from Sustainable to Regenerative Agriculture using No-Till Systems".

Round up blog

28 April 2014

I have returned from my Nuffield travels confident that no-till not only works but can improve soils, improve profits and give farmers more time to think, plan and implement changes. Read more.

Combating soil erosion and increasing soil organic matter in Paraguay

20 February 2014

The past week in Paraguay, a land-locked country nestled between Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia in the heart of South America, has been fantastic. I have been given a week’s tour of the southern part of the country by Rolf Derpsch, a 76-year-old German who speaks four languages fluently and another two well enough to hold a conversation. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of no-till in Paraguay and has been here since 1988. He has seen the country go from only cropping 5,000ha in a no-till system in 1988 to now where 97% of the land is under no-till. There are now 2.7 million hectares of no-till in Paraguay.Read more

December down under

23 December 2013

The last month has been very busy with 44 separate farm visits across New Zealand and Australia. Both countries are fascinating but for me the one big difference between the two is water. New Zealand has fairly good soils, a great climate and plenty of rain. They also have impressive Grassland management, and an irrigation infrastructure which is able to deliver water to both arable crops and grass-based systems which boosts productivity and then profit. 

I was in New Zealand for two weeks to look at the no-till established crops and see the benefits it was bringing. Many of the farms I visited were seeing a huge improvement in soil life, yields and profits from no-till with and without irrigation. There was also a far more consistent establishment of spring fodder crops seeded with no-till into a drying seed bed. Read More

To harvest and beyond

25 October 2013

Well it's been a very busy few months since I last wrote….

In July I was off to America, North and South Dakota, for a flying 10 day visit. I had a fantastic time meeting some of the best brains on No-Till, cover crops and soil health in the world. Spending time with Dwayne Beck, Gabe Brown and Jay Fuhrer was a privilege and I learnt so much from these men with well over 100 years’ experience between them! Read More

It's been a busy three months for AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Nuffield scholar Tom Sewell

28 March 2013

Well, the last few months have been busy to say the least. In February I visited Harper Adams University in Shropshire to see the work of Professor Simon Blackmore and hear him talk about Precision farming. I was part of a group of five 2013 Nuffield Scholars and it was nice to visit the place where I spent two years of my life 13 years ago.

“I was then off up the M1 again, this time to Stoneleigh and the offices of my sponsor AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds. I had a fantastic time meeting all the dedicated and enthusiastic staff, on a tour of the offices with AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Chairman and Kent farmer Jonathan Tipples, a near neighbour of mine. I then met with a number of the senior management team and presented my study plan for the coming year. We had a very productive time and I drove home back to Kent with ideas spinning around my head, thinking of all the possibilities my Nuffield Scholarship was unearthing! Read More

AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Nuffield Arable Scholarship Blog

17 December 2012

I am delighted to have been awarded the first AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds sponsored Nuffield Scholarship, and will be studying the long-term benefits of direct drilling. I attended the Nuffield Conference in Stratford last month and was excited to meet my fellow 2013 scholars and to be presented my award by AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Board member Guy Smith and NFU President Peter Kendall. There is a great group of 22 of us who will travel to Canada in March for the Contemporary Scholars Conference with the other 2013 scholars from around the world. I'm really looking forward to travelling and meeting farmers who have experience in direct drilling and no-tillage systems.

Currently I am farming with my wife in partnership with my parents in the Medway Valley between Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells. We currently crop 850 acres of arable crops plus around 150 acres of grass for hay production, although only 67 acres is owned. We have been shallow cultivating for many years and are now looking to move to a no-till system whereby we aim to eliminate cultivation from our establishment of combinable crops... Read More


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