Farming is now a global profession, says Rob Warburton

One of the most enjoyable parts of travelling on my Nuffield studies was staying with the people I met along the way. During the two weeks I spent in the UK, I didn’t stay a single night in paid accommodation, such was the fantastic hospitality afforded to me.

There’s nothing we farmers like better than kicking the tyres of someone else’s kit and wandering around in their crops. One of the more memorable moments was sitting on the tailgate of a Range Rover in Cambridgeshire eating fish and chips while discussing the finer points of blackgrass control in wheat.

Last week, I had the opportunity to return the favour when a Farmers Weekly reader and his family visited me from Northern Ireland.

What always amazes me about meeting farmers from around the world, apart from the scale and the climate, is just how similar our operations are. When sitting around the table with a cup of tea discussing the pros and cons of agriculture, it feels like it could be a neighbour sitting opposite, not someone from the other side of the world.

Farming is now such a global profession, no longer do we only look down the road for new ideas, with global communication at our fingertips you can be discussing the finer points of barley nutrition with an agronomist in Canada on Twitter in the morning and fungicide timing with a farmer in the UK that night.

Travelling through Uruguay, which until I visited I hadn’t regarded as a modern agricultural environment, I found farmers using technology everyday that we are only now starting to experiment with.

Farmers and farming are a true global community, which with the sharing of ideas and problems can overcome almost any issue. I look forward to more visits in the future and the fellowship that follows.

Rob Warburton farms 3,000ha with his wife Jen and two daughters in Kojonup, below Perth in Western Australia. Cropping includes wheat, barley and oilseed rape. Wildflower seed is grown for retail. Merino sheep are reared for wool and meat.


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