Can you scoop our arable gong?

An in-depth technical grasp of cropping coupled with good staff management are key attributes this year’s judges will be looking for in the arable category.

In addition, a sound business and approach to marketing will also feature. So if you feel you are up to the mark, then have a go, as the benefits can be huge.

Scooping last year’s award has not just brought benefits to John Goodchild, but also to the whole team.

“Winning this award boosted the morale of everyone in the team – giving recognition of their commitment and hard work over the years. And it certainly raised the profile of Bartlow Estate.”

He found the application and judging process stimulating and thought provoking. “It threw up lots of ideas for the future.”

Cropping on the 1,870ha (4,621 acres) Bartlow Estate, near Haverhill in Cambridgeshire, includes winter wheat, oilseed rape, spring malting barley and sugar beet, on boulder clay and medium-light land.

Sugar beet is a key part of the enterprise, where John’s technical knowledge has seen him join an elite club of beet growers producing yields above 100t. He has also built up a successful contract sugar beet lifting and transport business.

For those looking to enter this year’s award, he advises using the application to tell the judges what makes your farming operation stand out – not just what you do, but how and why you do it.

“Don’t overdo the trivia and detail, but remember, what’s familiar and humdrum to you may be fascinating to others.

“Answer the questions and cover all aspects of your business – production, machinery, staff and marketing, plus any additional activities on and off the farm,” he says. Finally, back it up with succinct financial information and records.

How to enter

You can enter or nominate someone for the 2011 Farmers WeeklyArable farmer of the Year, sponsored by British Sugar, at or ring Alma Watson on 020 8652 8026 for an entry form. Entries close on 30 April 2011.

Nominate someone and you’ll also be entered into a prize draw to win two tickets to the awards event on 6 October plus overnight accommodation.

2011 Farmers Weekly Awards

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