Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Arrival Back

After 46 hours of travel and three flights totalling 30.15 hours i have made it back to Cambridge. Jet lag has been a small issue with 1 am and 4 am playing a big part in my day. Currently -7c its a good 35c difference. Even after looking for two days i cant find that the team have done anything wrong at all. I should go away more often!. Well done them! Its been a fantastic trip and i met some wonderful people and the whole Nuffield experience has been a joy. I would like to thank all the people i met and stayed with a big thank you, and the team back home who allowed me to enjoy myself without concern for home. Tuesday night we went for the farm Christmas dinner to the Chinese where they did us proud. Even after my china experience of saying i wouldn't eat Chinese food again i had to give in. I was grateful that no chicken heads or river fish to be seen!. Whilst i was away Fiona had purchased a paint brush and has decorated the bedroom with flowers and the snug has gone brown, i must say it looks good and getting use to waking to floral.
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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Three Nuffield Amigos

Desiree myself and Jim Baird another UK Nuffield Scholar went on an adventure. We hired a Helicopter and went up to Mount Cook, New Zealands highest Mountain. We landed at a neighbouring mountain side. The journey took 45 minutes at 120 miles an hour. On the return to base camp the pilot Andrew showed us the abilities of the helicopter. I turned around to see Desiree with her hand over her face and Jim with a smiling face combined with a scared and surprised look. Whilst we where weaving in and around the glaciers rugged cut mountain walls i nearly at one point learned over to the Pilot to say, 'old boy we are about to trim the rocks'. It was a nice ending to this 9 week Nuffield adventure. Tomorrow i fly from Christchurch to Sydney, Sydney to Singapore and then to Heathrow. I'm not looking forward to the 27 hour and 15 minute flight time over two days but I'm looking forward to returning to the farm. The question is, is the farm ready for me.
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Monday, 13 December 2010

Trouble in paradise

It must nearly be time to come home, I've run out of tea bags which the empire was built on. With the speed of the post it would be quicker to replenish stocks back in England. Last time i went travelling there where three things i missed most, a proper cup of tea, cotton ear buds and a bath. I bought two out of the three with me, i have found the odd bath, in fact Ed and Kate Cox let me have a bath in their on suite, and the bath was as large as Hugh Hefner's hot tub but sadly empty of talented young ladies. I also tried to have one in a hotel but it was rather like a large be day, I'm sure why they build them, unless its an Australian thing to conserve water.
Today i woke to find my face lying beside me on the pillow, I've gone from the red Botox look to peeling skin rather like a leper. I still have two days to re burn so i will look tanned when i return to the cold of England, hopefully Fiona will meet me with my set of long johns as I'm going to have a temperature shock. I weighed myself today and i hope there's a Nuffield prize for gaining the must weight, I'm optimistic that Ive won, it read 98.7 kg, I'm not sure what that is in imperial but judging by my trousers it frightening. With Christmas ahead and all the goodies I'm unlikely to see this drop. They Say 'Nuffield changes your Life', i put forward the motion that 'Nuffield changes your Body'.
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Saturday, 11 December 2010

Rotary Board Room

Desiree Reid Nuffield 2010 NZ, and husband Paul have a rotary board room!.
Business decisions made over looking the 800 cows being milked. Desiree and Paul 10 year goal is 10 farms in 10 years. Everywhere i go at the moment i see Cows, it must be a sign.
Neighbouring small tourist town has 40 bus loads of tourists per day, there must be an opportunity here.
Paul has a talent with machinery and buys farm machinery from the nettles and brings it back to live in between milking and moving irrigators. Plenty of water here with no restrictions, complete contrast to Australia. Centre pivots play a big part of the landscape, 95% of water still goes out to sea.
Canterbury plains was once dominated by combines and arable equipment, it has gone through a complete conversion to Dairy its know spot the wheat plant. For survival tactics i pretend i have a dairy back home to fit in as i don't want to be lynched for being an arable boy. Any future arable Nuffields brush up on cow talk as talking about wheat is a conversational killer. I'd like to thank Paul and Desiree for letting me stay and wish them luck with there 10 year goal.
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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Arable and Dairy get together

Rhys Williams Welsh Nuffield 2010 has made it to New Zealand with the family, and is driving around in a camper van. It reminded me of the Mini Winny, William Forsyth and i drove around USA in but much smarter and without the rattles.
We are staying in a camp site and i have a little cabin with all home comforts. Rhys has set me up with a farm visit this afternoon looking at a Dairy as he thinks it will be good for me to look at cows. I think its because he's preparing me for the dairy he wants to set up at Scotland Farm. After an afternoon looking at Dairy operations on a low cost system, im sold and can see the oppurtunity of dairy on a arable farm in cambridgeshire.
See my Botox Look. I'm very grateful to Kelly for supplying me with after sun lotion. Thank you to Nicholas Haines for showing me around three dairies and explaining how it works.
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FAR Farm day on Precision Ag

Pictured is Dan Bloomer demonstrating at an open day discussing Precision Ag and Soil Structure in using Controlled traffic farming. Two samples of soil 20cm by 20 cm taking from the same field and dropped onto a wooden board from a metre high. First sample came from the centre of a cultivated field and second from beneath the hedge. Second sample was superior for having good soil structure, high levels of organic matter and worm activity. I ended up having to give a talk on my experiences of weed management and control traffic farming on my scholarship travels. All Nuffields be prepared that you might have to give a talk with no warning.
Dan warned me to put sun cream on, i decided it wasn't warm enough and just not manly, last night my face decided to set as if i had over done botox.
Next Photo will demostrate the improtance of sun cream on your travels. Mind you, sat next to a welsh man ill always look tanned.
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Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Canterbury crop day

James Powrie and Dan Bloomer from Landwise, Hastings in the North Island, Paul and i went to the FAR combinable crop day. Stuart Wright Chairman of Nuffield New Zealand was also the chairman of Far. Craig Mackenzie a Nuffield Scholar had set himself up in a business selling Green Seeker and Weed Seeker technology minimising inputs and maximising output. Another Nuffield Scholar Hugh Ritchie who has embrassed Precision Ag and only farms at night. After looking at trails presentations and machinery manufacture stands we had a talk given by Mark Inglis the mountaineer with no legs. After his speech on how he climbed Everest with no legs and lost fingers through frost bite i felt like a pathetic man for complaining it was cold at 10C when he had been climbing at minus 50C. Its all about attitude was the clear message, keep pushing forward and take good instruction.
Earlier in the day James and Dan took us to one of the farmers of the year runners up John Evans who had a diverse business. He showed me a side shift frame he had built which can be used in a controlled traffic situation. He also was mastering the use of wireless technology to his sprayer for spray recommendation. His wife had a rouging business and had imported a machine that three people could sit on and be motorised up and down the field. I would like to thank John and his wife for showing me around, and Stuart for the Far Day and special annoucement at the dinner.
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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

New Zealand, North and South

Arrived Monday into Auckland and like all scholars decided to book into the Langham Hotel where i had afternoon tea and contemplated my next 10 days in New Zealand but avoided the Spa as im a stone heavier from leaving home and decided to keep my true Nuffield body to myself. The next morning i travelled to Christchurch in the south island which is based on Cambridge. Meet with the NZ scholar Paul Mcgill, still the James Bond of Nuffield. Had a ride about town on the tram looking at the sites of Christchurch which was enjoyable. Up with the crack of sparrows and off to the annual combinable crops conference near rakaia at the FAR (Foundation of Arable Research) research site. I appreciate its cold at home but its 10C this morning and i've had to find my jumper from the china trip. Sounds like next week will be a Nuffield reunion as Jim Baird from Scotland, Rhyes and family from Wales, Julian from Ireland will all be here, so the four nations reunite. Paul will have no time to write his report pre christmas. Sorry not to be in Australia after seeing the cricket result.
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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Canadian CTF tour.

From Toowamba to Gold coast. Tim Chamen the CTF expert in the UK put me in touch with Tim Neale in Australia. Tim was hosting a CTF group from Canada. I was lucky to be invited to spend two days with them looking at machinery dedicated to CTF from axle modifications to 3 metres to Oztek chaser bins with extended belts for unloading at 12 metres. Three drill manufactures specialing in disc and tine drills. We went to visit different farmers who had converted to 3 metre tramlines on 11 metre and 9 metre systems. On thursday night we went to the RM Williams outback spectacular, where we had a meal watching the romantic history of Australia and the light horse brigade. We retired to Jupiters Hotel and casino. Mel next to me in the photo was crouching so Steve Larocque Canadian Nuffield 2008 could be included in the photo. It was great to finally meet the Canadian CTF entrepreneur and Tim Neale who was a fantastic host and had a well planned and interesting trip. I would like to thank the Canadian group for allowing me to join there trip and for making me feel so welcome. I wish them an enjoyable time in Australia and welcome any of them to come and stay in England.
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An Australian Nuffield 2011

Rob and Penny Blatchford farming at Gurley in NSW, he is one of the new nuffields with an adventure in front of him. Rob has embraced Controlled traffic and has a rotation of millet and cotton. Pictured is a JD 7760 cotton picker on 12 metre double skip configuration. Rob was in the the farming press this week for building a 36 metre cotton planter using JD planters. Diversity in water storage was the dam they had built which was also their water skiing lake with a 400 hp speed boat, very impressive.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Land of dreams and honey.

Dave Brownhill Nuffield 2010 Australian Chairman and legend. Dave and liz kindly let me stay in the 'Hut' which was a five star house in the garden with fresh flowers. It rained after i arrived and I'm beginning to get a complex as it seems to be following me around Australia. The picture was taken 36 metres high at the top of the elevator, not liking heights i still had to get to the top as i was too proud for Dave to tell the world that the pomey was beaten especially when we are doing so well at the cricket.
The soil on the Liverpool plains is fertile with underground water, perfect! Cotton in CTF was the new enterprise, the agronomist quoted it was the best he had looked at. Tramlines had some depth which showed the benefits from CTF but also asked some interesting questions. Weedseeker technology on the sprayer and biomass scanners (greenseaker)was saving 1000's a year on chemical costs. Specially converted belly tanks allowed the second line to turn on and off when the scanner detected weeds as the sprayer pasted over the field, Brillant!. Next morning we had 63 mm and the Nissan Micra not known for its 4wd qualities was dispatched or i might have got stranded. On route following Dave to a local town to meet Richard Heath he slowed down on a gravel track to show me 20,000 acres of flooded crops and the Micra was aquaplaning at a pace to towards the rear of his hilux, luckly he saw me in his rear mirror and put his foot down which saved my insurance excess. Over a coffee the three of us thrashed out the future of agriculture in 20 years time. I enjoyed my time with the brownhills and wish i'd had more time to spend with them.
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