Mark Lea’s farm in Shropshire has been organic for 20 years with a system inspired by the belief that sustainability requires diversity. The rotation is mixed with clover leys grazed by sheep, and cropping which includes milling oats, peas grown for Hodmedods and 20 different milling grains for direct sale to millers and bakers. Companion cropping, cover crops, agroforestry and an on-farm stonemill all contribute to the resilience of the farm. In the past most crops other than clover leys have been established with a plough and combination drill system but trials with clover living mulch and direct drilling are showing potential to allow substantial reductions in cultivations.
No-till arable farming has revolutionised the arable farming mindset and is of interest to organic farmers because of its potential to reduce cultivations whilst providing weed control, fertility and soil health. But is it possible? For more information on Innovative Farmers please visit our website: www.innovativefarmers.org