Nitram competition winner Andrew Craig (centre) with CF Fertilisers’ customer service manager Ben Blayds (right) and Wynnstay fertiliser manager David Mitchell (left).Andrew Craig (centre) with CF Fertilisers’ Ben Blayds (right) and Wynnstay's David Mitchell (left).

Shropshire arable producer Andrew Craig, has taken delivery of 27t of Nitram fertiliser after winning a competition organised by manufacturer CF Fertilisers and Farmer’s Weekly.

Mr Craig was presented with his lorry-load of blue bags, worth about £5,000, at his Westwood Farm, Bourton Westwood, by CF Fertilisers’ customer service manager Ben Blayds and Wynnstay fertiliser manager David Mitchell.

Trading as TR Craig and Sons, the farm has been looked after by the family since 1896 and has 680ha of land in arable production, alongside a 300 ewe sheep enterprise and 50 head of Limousin-cross beef animals.

See also: Farmers Weekly Academy on fertiliser use

“We’ve been using Nitram for as long as I can remember and buy about 230t a year, so when the opportunity arose to enter the competition at The Arable Event, organised by Wynnstay and GrainLink in June this year, I decided to give it a go,” he explained.

But it’s great news. Farming is tough at the moment with the reduced returns we’re getting for our crops, so everything helps Andrew Craig

“The only win the family has had previously was when my sister won half a tonne of seed some years ago, so I didn’t hold out much hope.

“But it’s great news. Farming is tough at the moment with the reduced returns we’re getting for our crops, so everything helps.”

The annual competition attracted more than 2,755 entrants and involved answering a simple question about the relative performance of ammonium nitrate versus urea.

The question was based on results from an Adas study into ammonium nitrate (AN), which was funded by Defra.

According to Adas head of crop physiology, Pete Berry, at 200kg/ha of nitrogen, AN yielded more than urea in 77% of cases.

“AN also gave a higher grain protein content than urea, thus illustrating its suitability for milling wheat,” he said.