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Helix Yorkshire

"It’s not farming by numbers, but garnering the right information for the best decision making possible.”

Hutchinsons Helix North project is based at Hundayfield Farm, just outside York, by kind permission of Nick and Liz Wilson.

Farm Facts

  • 260ha
  • mainly arable cropping, with land let out for potatoes and winter sheep grazing on stubble turnips.
  • Crops grown: winter wheat, winter barley, spring barley, oats, peas, fodder beet, grass and cover crops.
  • There are bed & breakfast cattle which utilise the farm buildings and some of the permanent grass in the rotation.


Farm focus

  •  Soil health; improving OM levels and understanding limiting factors for yield
  • Nitrogen efficiency and alternatives
  • Increasing tailored cover crops in the rotation

“Technology is all about data – and we are keen to build resolution into our data and how it is processed to improve our decision making. It’s important to recognise that the data isn’t making the decision, but providing information for decision making- there’s a subtle difference between the two,” Nick said.

“We will work closely with our agronomist Sam Hugill of Hutchinsons to do this, as it is not about reacting to every stream of data, but building up a whole picture. It’s not farming by numbers, but garnering the right information for the best decision making possible.”


Technologies at Helix Yorkshire

For Nick and Liz and their agronomist Sam Hugill, carbon is just a part of the whole farm system, but both believe that it is useful to obtain a baseline measurement now, so that they have a baseline figure to work from going forward.

“The results of the Terramap Carbon scanning showed up large differences in the carbon balance between the arable fields and permanent pasture, as you would expect. The average across the arable fields was about 30t/ha of organic carbon and it was almost double that for the permanent pasture,” he explains.

“The carbon management tool allows us to look at these scenario’s using real and accurate measurements and then quantify the impact on our carbon.”

“It’s all about adapting what we do rather than radical change- and being able to measure what we have is the first step.”


Integrated Crop Management

ICM does not require a drastic change from the norm, in fact many ICM principles have already been taken up over the years due to the positive effect they can have on disease management, was the message from Hutchinsons Head of Integrated Crop Management Dave Howard at the open day.

“ICM is simply a more strategic approach to planning which crops and varieties to grow, assessing where risks lie and then adapting management and inputs in response to changing weather patterns and disease levels – or visualizing risk.”


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