Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Buenos Aires

Enjoying an evening out in a cigar shop learning about Cuban cigars and then for dinner with Bayer crop science.

Jim McCarthy took us today to his last farm a heavy land and rice growing area.

An interesting machine used for emptying the silo bags but also straight into the grain heap in store. A concept that could prove useful in england.

A simple machine used for applying seed dressing. In this case supplied by the contractor who does the seeding.

Contractors sleeping quarters when shift working while seeding.

Sleeping quarters for me was in the back of Jims car.


Monday, 27 June 2011

El descanso

5437 ha.
No tilling into a mat of straw. The mat keeps the moisture locked into the soil and the weeds down. Only a disc drill would managed.

Blackboard shows the farm and the soil type dictating the fields and crops grown.

The house on the farm sleeps 12 with views over 400 cattle.

Fertiliser stored in grain bags.

Simplicity of machinery here is that it can be powered by electric or pto.

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Saturday, 25 June 2011

3800 ha

Planting wheat direct after soya bean. Low capital expenditure.

No gps just top operators.

A fellow Nuffield scholar Jim Mccarthy from ireland shows us around one of his farms in Argentina. About 600 km from Buenos Aires. The farm is roughly 10 km by 3.6 km. That's farming. All operations carried out by contractors. Fields have been put into different soil types so crops can be managed and inputs.
Grain is put into silo bags and stored for up to a year.

Bayer crop science

We had a 3 hour drive to Bayers crop station north of BA. A 40 ha site where they trail chemicals on a special licence from the government on cotton, maize, canola, wheat and soya bean. We met with Matias Pastore who introduced us to the station and his father who owns a farm and agronomy business supplying seed and inputs. We had an interesting introduction to farming in Argentina, land values, rental incomes, gross margin and rotation. Since 1996 when Gm roundup ready came into commercial use the rotation has gone to continuous soya bean. Rents have gone to 600 us dollars per ha. Income after all costs and taxes 35 us dollars per ha. Haulage and storage is based on 15% of published soya bean price. The government taxes the farmer 35% on world soya bean price. They own the processing plants to produce oil so it's a clever tax. Doesn't help the marginal land that produces low yield. It's big business here but the grass isn't greener. The round up ready crops are seeing a broadleaved weed becoming tolerant to roundup, different salts are proving effect in the roundup. Interesting broadleaved weed is seen in no till operations but not plough based. It's was an enjoyable day which we also spent with Phil a local farmer from Ireland who farms near Kevin and flew over that morning. I saw this sign in BA, but didn't want to hang around in this area incase I had a broke back mountain experience.

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Buenos aires

Kevin and I went on a tour around Buenos Aires. One of the highlights was to see the crematorium where the rich and famous of BA are buried. It was interesting to learn that families sell the tombs, the old coffins get moved to another location. I found it creepy. The opera house which we passed is supposed to be perfect in sound. The famous pavorioti said the problem with the opera house is its so good that people can hear if your half a note out.
The university next to the port which is a brick building was bought from England brick by brick by ships. The roads are made of granite from Spain which was used as ballast in the ship. When BA was settled it was pampas grass, no stone or trees so materials had to be bought from europe. The original wealth from BA was in the leather industry until the French invented refrigeration on ships to get beef back to england.

We ended the day at the oldest cafe in BA the Gran Tortini, the cafe is so popular we had to queue to get in for 45 mins.

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Thursday, 23 June 2011


My last Nuffield trip is to Argentina, 13.5 hour night flight. I've arrived with Kevin Nolan JNR(its true he is junior)from Nuffield Ireland. As you can see it cold and wet, 12c. Kevin has found another small Nuffield car to hire and is nervous of my driving, im sure anyone who has driven with me cant believe it.
You can see that he is wearing shorts. My one travel bag sadly has limited winter clothes. Note to all future travellers, google the weather of your destination do not listern to your irish companion on clothes needed.
We are currently sat in a cafe' sticking to the slim fast diet or thats what my wife thinks, waiting for the tour bus to take us around Buenos Aires. Hopefully going for dinner with Bayer tonight. We are 4 hours behind in time. Going to eat an apple pie and buy a jumper.

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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Solar panels at Scotland Farm

A 49 kw solar panel system on trackers is being built at scotland farm. Frames and trackers are up. We hope to have switched on, on the 4th July 2011. There are 5 posts being built at the back of the grainstore to deliver power to run the grain drier and elevators. This is a step towards zero carbon grain. The panels will be delivered and installed tomorrow. The trackers follow the sun as its moves to maximise on efficiency of the panels. Im looking forward to this working and generating electricity back to the grid when we aren't using the electricity. Grainstores and solar panels work well as the power requirement is in the summer when the must electric is generated.
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1st Wellgrain Newsletter

PX Farms Ltd are featured in the 1st edition of WellNews Spring/Summer showing the unrivalled commitment made by both parties. This relationship strengthens and enhances for my contract farmers, delivering back higher profitablity.
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Youngest ever CLA Chairman

Ive become the youngest ever CLA chairman.

20 years to young. Article was taken from the national Cla magazine. The industry is changing, im looking forward to this role and hope i can do it justice. Cambridgeshire and bedfordshire AGM at Shuttleworth college was an enjoyable day with our Regional President Andrew Pym giving the tour. Posted by Picasa

Friday, 17 June 2011


June 4th 2011. The last man standing gets married. Enjoyable day, wonderful weather. Thankyou all who attended.

Must people said they never believed they would see the day. Nuffield changes your life. Im grateful for all the help everyone put in. Michael Dungworth blowing the hunting horn 'gone away' as we left the church. Julian drove us in Great Grandfathers Rolls Royce and Chris Young behind in grandfathers old Daimler car with the bridesmaids. Auntie Joan for the wonderful flowers in the church. The string quartet for the beautiful music in the garden. Dominic the best man with the help of Michael Harwood in Australia who where both restrained in there speeches. Catering company and the band. Father, mother, heather, sigi and louise put lots of effect in and thank you. Ailis was a star, keeping the wheels turning. Fiona went to a recording studio to sing the last dance. 3.53 seconds we had to dance on our own not one person joined in. 200 people watching my john travolta dance moves. When 12 oclock struck the remaining party goers formed an arch and fiona and i started our married life and off to Maderia to Reids Palace for our honey moon. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Morning of the 4th

Two ushers and a best man relaxing before the wedding on my birthday. We went to watch the race horses on the gallops and then swam and relaxed. We met in the dry drayton pub at 12.30 and strolled over at 2.30 for the wedding.

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Thursday, 2 June 2011

It rained

After 14.5 weeks it rained. 9 mm. We are competing with the Australia's.

We had foundations dug to 4 ft for the new PV system and the ground in the wheat crop was bone dry with cracks down to 3 ft and wheat roots to 4 ft into the gault clay. Where we dug outside of the wheat field it was still moist, it's amazing how the crops have dry the land out so deep. It's a good sign of soil structure. Picture shows Paul Reid from NZ inspecting the profile pit.