Monty Gorringe farms with his father on an 840-acre Duchy Estate holding on the Welsh borders in Herefordshire. Monty, runs a 65-head suckler herd alongside the main arable enterprise. The operation has begun to make the transition to regenerative practices across the farm.
Monty started using to fieldmargin after a recommendation from a friend, liking its ability to bring together information.
“Probably typical of every farm, we had office papers, a notebook stashed in the tractor and a few dozen things recorded mentally. I wanted something simple, which my father could use, where we could record all our activities in one place.”
So far fieldmargin has reduced the stress and time involved in preparing for audits.
“For example, it’s now no problem when Red Tractor calls asking for spraying details in a particular field; I can send them the information in a jiffy, because it’s easy to access and I know exactly where it will be.”
Monty has begun to make the transition to regenerative practices across the farm – a move that he hopes will improve their ability to crop the magnesium-rich soils.
“Following regen principles should also help us to reduce our reliance on bought-in nitrogen,” Monty points out. “And by better integrating the cattle into the rotation, switching to min-till and boosting soil organic matter, we’ll improve soil health and alleviate some of those physical issues – flat soils, layering – associated with the high levels of magnesium and potassium.”
They plan to continue making the changes, and trying new practices. fieldmargin has helped make record keeping possible.
“The simplicity and ease of entry means we can record everything we do. Sometimes you’re never sure that something you’ve noted will be useful, but it’s good practice to get into.”
Monty has been an early user of the costing feature that was released last year. One of the first tasks Monty put the costings tool to work on was to track nitrogen spend.
“With fertiliser prices as they are, it’s essential to know how much we’re spending on these crops – and then to work out what opportunities we might have to reduce that spend as we embrace the regenerative attitude.”
“The new financial tools in fieldmargin are a complete bonus. I have only to tap in the prices for each crop and the app comes back with the current price per hectare for each field, giving me a heads-up if we seem to be spending too much and the opportunity to revise, for example, my crop protection strategy.”
“It’s something that, in the past, we’ve always had to go ‘on feel’ – we couldn’t take a snapshot to see how an individual field was performing. Now we know at any given point in a season where we stand and how much we are eating into our margin. We can adjust our applications on the go and can see accurately the spend on each crop and field.”
“I’m sure every farmer knows that their agronomist’s recommendations are likely to get the best from the crop, but not at any cost. Being able to see where we stand, in real time, as the season progresses, means we can have a more constructive conversation with our agronomist and dial down on some of those higher-cost inputs if needs be.”