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Growers Perspective Event: Beyond the Map

Growers Perspective Event: Beyond the Map

The first event in our new series of ‘Growers Perspectives’ took place on the 13th of March. These are events designed, sponsored and delivered by our corporate partners to showcase work being done with Grower Members.

Some Grower Members, the Hutchinsons and Fenland SOIL teams, and a few interested farmers from the area, convened in a potato shed in Haddenham at A.G WRIGHT & SON, (FARMS) LIMITED where we were hosted by Jack Smith. Jack is a Grower Member of Fenland Soil who also works with Hutchinsons Agronomy. Teas, coffees, and a few minutes of chatter got everyone acquainted, and the event was kicked off by a quick introduction from Megan Hudson.

James Lane, an Omnia Digital Farming specialist from Hutchinsons then took the floor for his presentation on what maps are and delved into how they can be used, highlighting the large impact they can have combined with prescriptive management.

Hutchinsons head of soils Ian Robertson walked us through the role of Terra mapping in managing for soil health. He then gave a quick walk though of soil and plant health principles from the soil food web to the plant health pyramid. And finally spent some time on the nutrients in our soil, how the biological, chemical, and physical properties of the soil affect those nutrients, and how the right agronomical decision considering those aspects plays a vital role in making locked up nutrients accessible, or “moves nutrients from the freezer, into the fridge”.

Jack Smith then took the stage to talk about A G Wrights journey so far and how by using Terra mapping targeted towards more variable fields, they could adapt their prescriptions to save on areas where application is unnecessary, and put the correct rates on areas that would otherwise go under prescribed. He also showed the evolution of their use of maps, methods they use to do budget precision applications, and talked of his relationship with Fenland SOIL and how they have found value in engaging with us and worries of peatland emissions and loss of soil.

The group then headed out to the field to break down what could be seen in three soil pits, showing distinct profiles in each one. Ian again took the stage, this time a few feet lower and a lot damper, and reiterated parts of his earlier presentation with hands on demonstrations and explanations. He highlighted just how much change there can be within a single field, with the most obvious difference being that the peat ranged in depth from around 30cm to more than a meter and a half.

Megan Hudson stepped in to give a geological perspective and talk us through the formation of the various layers seen in the soil pit. This started an engaged discussion around the clear degradation happening in our peat soils, regenerative principles, and what the next steps in protecting the fens are.

Jade Prince a soil specialist on the Hutchinsons team then gave a walk through of a Visual Evaluation of Soil Structure (VESS). Note was taken of the stark difference between the cover cropped vs uncovered sections of the field, especially due to the very wet conditions.

The event ended with good discussion amongst experts and attendees. We look forward to the next Growers Perspective event!

Many thanks to the Hutchinsons team and our kind host Jack Smith and the AG Wright team!

If you would be interested in delivering or hosting a future Grower’s Perspective event or would like to suggest a theme for an event please contact a member of the team at

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