Andrew Howard

Andrew Howard

When I came back to the family farm in Kent in 2003, after having studied at Durham University and at the Royal Agriculture University, wheat was £60/t. This financial pressure led to looking closer at soils and soil health. My research made me realise there was another way of farming that did not involve high energy and chemical inputs.

One of the goals I set for myself on the home farm is to reduce our artificial inputs by 50% in five years, I have achieved this goal and now I am working on reducing the remaining 50%. I believe it is possible and we that will still be able to maintain yields. Through doing the Nuffield Scholarship and meeting inspirational farmers from around the world I have seen first-hand that my goal is possible (read more). My travels abroad and the experiences on my home farm have given me a lot of insights in how to apply a systems approach to improve soil health and I hope to help others achieve their goals.

In the last few years, I have been involved in a wide array of on farm trials with PGRO, Innovative Farmers and The Diversify Project. These have looked at the potential for intercropping on UK farms and have produced extremely useful results. The knowledge I have gained can be applied to farms all over the UK.

 

On farm we have just started a robotics trial with various partners to build a platform that can assess nitrogen content of crops with real precision                                       (https://n2visionai.wordpress.com/ ). The aim is to inform growers of the exact nutritional needs of their crops so they can tailor their inputs to a greater precision than is now possible.

For the past 18 months I have been working with Abacus consulting providing UK farmers with practical farmer driven advice to help them on their Regenerative Ag journey. This can be a one-off visit, virtual consultations or longer term regular advise. I believe I can give an alternative type of advice to a typical agronomist as I have the experience of setting up machinery, planting and managing my own crops (a Farmer’s point of view). Groundswell Agronomy fits perfectly with this work and I am excited to get the Regen Ag message out to a larger audience.

Farmer Perspectives: Reducing N

Conference Barn

Artificial nitrogen has transformed agricultural production arguably like no other input, yet excess quantities of this highly reactive nutrient also cause a host of negative environmental impacts. With typical NUEs of ~50% the norm, there is scope to improve efficiencies and reduce dependency on bagged N. This session will share a selection of on-farm strategies […]

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