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Helix Concept Rolled Out – South East Farmer – Stuart Hill, Rob Jewers

Hutchinsons is rolling out its helix farm concept to regional centres, starting with the Helix East farm ...

Hutchinsons is rolling out its Helix Farm concept to regional centres, starting with the Helix East farm, near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, and launching sites in North and Central England later this year.

Hutchinsons’ national Helix site, which was launched in the summer of 2019, is hosted by Andrew and William Pitts, of JW Pitts & Sons, at Mears Ashby at Whiston in Northamptonshire. The new Helix East operation is being hosted by Tom Jewers of GD Jewers & Son, at Wood Hall Farm in Rattlesden.

Hutchinsons’ Head of Technology and Innovation Stuart Hill pointed out that in a time of change, farm businesses “need to remain financially profitable and sustainable”, which means agronomists and growers “will require new technologies and practices that allow them to become increasingly more efficient and adaptable”.

He went on: “The most important question is whether or not these technologies have a benefit at farm level. Are they affordable and practical and do they improve productivity and profitability?

“At the very core of the Helix Farms approach is a proofing process to ensure that technologies are tested thoroughly on farm. This includes looking at any potential further development to simplify and integrate them into practical everyday use.”

Work conducted at the national site has already seen the launch of tools such as TerraMap, the highest resolution soil mapping system available, the Omnia precision climate module, a BYDV prediction model and, later this year, a rotational planning tool and a carbon mapping tool.

Stuart Hill, Hutchinsons’ Head of Technology

Hutchinsons’ Helix East co-ordinator and crop nutrition specialist Rob Jewers will work closely with Tom across all of the focus areas.

“Everything that we are doing on the Helix sites will link closely to integrated crop management (ICM) as we know that this will be a key requirement for future farming systems, and we are able to trial and test them within this context, which is a really valuable output,” he explained.

Tom Jewers and Agronomist Mike Greener

Tom said he was particularly interested in how he can use technology to make sure he is ahead of the game when the ELM scheme comes into force. “As we move to public money for public goods, I need to know what my best options are, so now is the time to test these,” he said. “If I know what works for me, we will be ‘match fit’ by the time ELM is rolled out.”

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