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Ian Wilkinson is one of the 15 people working at Cotswold Seeds – a company that supplies a variety of seeds in bulk, that you can use on any size up to broad scale farming applications. This chat is a chance to meet yet another bridge between permaculture and organic and conventional farming, and see just how many areas we could work together on, and how many people we can meet doing amazing, restorative work.
They cater to broad scale agriculture down to allotment growers.
We met at the 2017 Oxford Real Farming Conference, where Ian was part of a panel on how to avoid or minimise the use of glyphosate and ploughing.
Description of the use of shallow ploughing for turning in the cover crop prior to planting wheat or other annual crop.
Observation of the loss of profitability through the use of external inputs including herbicides.
Took on a 107 acre farm, and initially grew the same as was grown before – malting barley (on 60 acres). This premium crop, sold for a total of £11000, but the cost to grow it was £11064, using conventional, high input methods. 100 tons of grain. The highest cost was fertiliser.
Put in a natural flood management scheme on the farm. The consultant that has put in that work was Vaughan Lewis of Windrush AEC.
Some of the cost was covered by a £7000 grant from the National Lottery Fund for All.
Use the beauty of watered landscape as a selling point to land owners, and thus create flood management scheme by default.
Ian is now producing a small amount of oats that is not enough to be profitable when selling to large scale processors. He’s looking for a small, farm scale equipment for making rolled oats, which then can be sold at an added value price locally.
The complaint of the loss of connection between the small scale farmer and the local consumers.
For the above, Chris Walsh from the Kindling Trust offers a solution. Listen to our chat here (opens in new tab).
Would a round two be good to see the progress of the farm, and it’s solutions to reaching its local market?
Cotswold help their clients make bespoke mixes to suit their fields best. You don’t need to simply choose from the catalogue. If your need is more complex, give them a call.
Since we met at the Oxford REAL Farming Conference, the question was whether they go to the other one too.
Description of people who approach Cotswolds for help with changing their farming system (conventional to organic or vice-versa).
This is a fledgling project, that is taking a considerable amount of time, and a little bit of money. If you found this informative, entertaining, helpful, and think that it could help someone else, please share using the buttons below. Many thanks!