The winner of the 2012 Nabim/HGCA Milling Wheat Challenge has been announced reports Farmers Guardian. Bedfordshire farm manager Andrew Robinson has taken this year’s award with his 2,232acre plot which has been growing for over thirty-years.
Despite small marginal gains the Farms manager at Heathcote Farms, near Toddington, was praised by judges for his engagement with the milling trade, his solid business foundations and his ability to aggregate them for a positive net business benefit.
There were two other finalists, Andrew Martin of Broadstream Farming, Kent and Mark Boyd of John Boyd Farms, also from Kent.
The duty of judging this year’s winner fell to Martin Savage of NABIM, Pat Thornton of HGCA and Lincolnshire farmer Mark Ireland. They said that each finalist demonstrated attention to detail and a strong commitment to the milling trade’s needs and processes.
Mr Thornton said, “Andrew’s methodical approach shows a deep understanding of good agronomy, and demonstrates an excellent understanding of what his market wants from him.”
All three finalists demonstrated they were forward-thinking and could consistently grow quality crops of bread-making wheats – even in a year as challenging as 2012,” he added.
“All three finalists were on top of their disease control and when we made the farm assessments in June, all crops were full of potential. Unfortunately, the first 14 days of grain fill, which are so important, were blighted by bad weather . The result is that milling wheat supply is more than one million tonnes down on the national forecast,” said Mr Thornton.
Now I know the subject of grain production in 2012 has generally been approached with sighs and groans but we here at IMD HQ have received a release from the WorldWatch Organisation that has made for very interesting reading.
Despite climactic problems in pretty much every farming region across the world this year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has suggested that the Global grain production is expected to reach a record high of 2.4 billion tons in 2012.
This comes as stark contrast to the early indications which had seen fears of a low quality grain harvest grow. In fact according to the report this is an increase of 1% from 2011 levels and that’s not all. The production of grain for animal feed is growing the fastest- a 2.1% increase from 2011.
According to the International Grains Council 571 million tons were used last year for human consumption, with India consuming a grand 89 million tons.
However it is no secret that fierce drought in the Great Plains of USA have severely altered estimates on Maize production this year where it is most productive (in 2011 it was expected to reach a record 345million tonnes). This has led to a huge deficit expected for 2012/13 – 13% to be precise – and FAO have warned that with increased production also comes increased consumption.
“The relationship between food security, grain production, and climate change is especially important in 2012,” said Danielle Nierenberg, a Worldwatch senior researcher and Nourishing the Planet project director. “The recent drought affecting the United States and the rest of the world show the need to reduce price volatility, move away from fossil fuel-based agriculture, and recognize the importance of women farmers to increase resilience to climate change.”
If you would like to learn more about the Nourishing the Planet Project please click on the link above, you can also visit the blog at blogs.worldwatch.org/nourishingtheplanet.