Meet the Crops Board

Matt Culley – Chairman and South East

Matt farms in partnership with his brother in Hampshire, currently managing 650 hectares of owned and contract farmed, chalk loam, clay cap and gravel soils, supporting wheat, barley and oilseed rape over the four coarse rotation. Wheat is grown for the feed market, with a small area grown for seed. Winter barley is feed and spring barley is for malting. The farming partnership also runs a grain storage business with drying facilities and a soft fruit enterprise.

Matt Culley

James Cox – Vice Chairman and South West

James farms 260 hectares of Cotswold Brash soils near Tetbury, Gloucestershire. The farm produces malting barley for Molson Coors, milling wheat for Warburtons, feed wheat and oilseed rape. The farm is currently managed under a HLS agreement having previously been in the Cotswold Hills ESA. James is also a member of the Molson Coors Growers Group steering committee and the local NIABTAG technical committee. James represents the NFU Crops Board on the Red Tractor Crops & Sugar Beet Board.

James Cox

Brett Askew – North East

Brett and his family farm 500 hectares of land at Gateshead, near the Angel of the North, in a combination of owned, tenanted and contract agreements. Brett grows feed wheat, milling oats, malting barley, beans and HEAR oilseed rape which are all supplied into added value local markets. Brett is a member of Tyne Grain Farmers Cooperative, which owns GrainCo and believes strongly in the co-operative model. Brett is chairman of the North East Regional Crops Board and with strong connections to the two bioethanol plants located in his region Brett leads on biofuels for the NFU. Brett also represents the NFU Crops Board on the Red Tractor Crops & Sugar Beet Board.

Brett Askew - North East crops board member_53878

Jamie Burrows - East Anglia

Located just 20 miles from London’s Marble Arch and farming on the fringe of St Albans, Jamie is one half of Sandcross Farming LLP who farm c1000ha of cereals, mostly in the south of Hertfordshire.

The joint venture has a mix of owned, tenanted and contract farming agreements, growing milling and feed wheat, milling oats, feed and malting barley, peas, beans and, for the time being, oilseed rape. 

Due to the complex nature of the soils in South Herts, ranging from heavy clays to gravel, Jamie and his colleagues cover a wide range of cultivation and drilling methods, however, a happy medium of min-till normally takes place on 50% of the land farmed.  All grain is sold through Openfield going to homes relatively locally, usually within 50 miles.

At home, the family farm has diversified, with an 80 horse livery and riding school, with all hay and straw produced in house.

Having been involved in the NFU locally since returning home from Harper Adams in 2005 Jamie has gradually become more and more involved at a regional level and now, as well as being Hertfordshire NFU County Chairman, he is also East Anglia Combinable Crops Board Chairman.  He is also an ex-Cereals Development Programme participant, and keen to get others involved in these types of initiatives.  

Jamie is passionate about achieving the best for cereal and oilseed producers, and proud to represent the cereals interests of East Anglia members.

Jamie Burrows

Andrew Davies - NFU Cymru

Andrew farms over 300 acres at Redlands Farm outside Haverfordwest, on the Pembrokeshire Coast. He grows winter and spring barley, winter wheat and winter oilseed rape. He also runs his own well respected Agronomy and seed business, spanning the three local counties. In addition to his duties as chairman of the Welsh Crops Board, Andrew is also a member of the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society Council and Estates Committee.

Andrew Davies

Olly Harrison – North West

Olly farms 950 acres on the urban fringe near to Liverpool, he farms a mixture of owned, tenanted and share farmed ground along with some contracting. Cropping includes wheat feed, malting barley, oilseed rape and beans; all of which is direct drilled. Olly also rents out office accommodation in converted barns that used to house cattle. Alongside the arable enterprise Olly recycles tree waste into biomass and some composting. Olly also represents the NFU Crops Board on the Red Tractor Crops & Sugar Beet Board.

Olly Harrison_53936

Andrew Williamson – West Midlands

Biography and picture to follow.

arable landscape Warwicksire

Peter Gadd - East Midlands

Peter is a third generation farmer of arable crops in the area of South Nottinghamshire in East Midlands region. Having achieved an OND in Agriculture, Peter has subsequently farmed a mix of owned and rented land of varying soil types growing predominantly winter cereals and oilseeds, and spring beans. Peter has represented the cereals policy interests of Nottinghamshire growers through many facets of the industry, including the NFU since 1981 and a 6-year spell on NFU Council.

Focus has been on achieving high yields with attention to detail. Operating as a sole trader with the assistance of contractors for specific tasks as required. Peter has had a grower representation role on AHDB’s Cereal and Oilseeds Research & KE Board for 6 years while overseeing significant levy investment for growers. Special areas of interest focus on IPM & PPP’s.

Additionally, Peter has seats on the PGRO RL Pulse Committee and also on the AHDB RL Wheat Committee. Now Chair of East Midlands Regional Combinable Crops Board, Peter currently has a role in the Red Tractor Technical Advisory Panel overseeing the standards review.

Peter Gadd

Jake Freestone - Appointee

Jake currently manages the in-hand farming operations for Penelope Bossom trading as Overbury Enterprises on the Gloucestershire/Worcestershire border.  The farm totals 1590 hectares and comprises arable crops, land let for vegetable production (peas and salad onions) and permanent grassland. Jake also employs a no-till approach on his farm and the grass carries a flock of 1,200 ewes. The farm hosts a very diverse Higher Level Stewardship scheme, started in January 2011. Overbury Farms joined LEAF in 2003 and Jake has been a keen supporter of Open Farm Sunday since the first event in 2006. The farm regularly hosts open days throughout the year and is twinned with Wychall Primary School in Birmingham. Currently, Jake is a steering group member on the Molson Coors Growers Group and in October 2012 he was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship - his topic was ‘Breaking the Wheat Yield Plateau in the UK'.

Jake Freestone - Crops Board appointee_53881

James Standen - Appointee

James is the farms director for Newcastle University Farms, managing around 1,200 acres of arable, two dairy herds, and a 140 sow breeder finisher unit. The farms are commercial operations but have a strong research and teaching focus. James also farms in partnership with his wife on 300 acres in North Yorkshire, growing combinable crops and running a small flock of New Zealand Romneys. With a large ELS/HLS scheme, the farm is LEAF Marque accredited. James is a governor of Askham Bryan College and a director of its farming company as well as a council member of the Institute of Agricultural Management. Prior to moving to Yorkshire, James managed the Montreal Estate in Kent and has previously been a director of Southern Farmers and RAMSAK.  

James Standen_53934

David Stovin – Invitee

David farms around 850 acres in the east of Lincolnshire, growing wheat, oilseed rape, spring barley (to try and combat blackgrass) and herbage seeds, with which he has been involved for many years. David also keeps a flock of 200 breeding sheep which fit quite well with herbage seed. He increasingly resorts to hand rogueing of blackgrass to meet necessary purity standards for herbage seed.

david stovin_34659

John Pawsey - Invitee

John Pawsey is a fourth generation farmer from Suffolk. The farm is mixed with 650 hectares of arable land and 1,000 sheep. John also farms an additional 980 hectares for neighbouring farmers under farm management contracts. All the farms are managed organically. He chairs the NFU’s Organic Forum, is a member of IFOAM UK Group, and is a former director of Organic Arable. Diversification on the farm include a HLS scheme, commercial and domestic rentals and various renewable energy projects including a photovoltaic array and three wood chip boilers.

john pawsey _34666



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  • Posted by: Valerie StantonPosted on: 08/02/2019 20:21:49

    Comment: I have questions rather than a comment. When merchants sample grain on farm a hand spear is used, but I understand that grain at mill intake is always sampled using a suction method. Does this disadvantage the grower by getting more light material into the sample, so potentially increasing screenings/reducing bushel weight? When the same grain is sampled using both methods what is the variation in results between them?

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