Catchment management

Mycock Farming Ltd

Photo of the farmIn 2019, we started a trial with one of our Blithe SPRING farmers, Mycock Farming Ltd, to test undersowing of maize using the Pottinger Aerosem drill.

Mycock Farming Ltd are second generation farmers at Town End Farm, in Hamstall Ridware. They currently farm over 1,000 acres. the farm is predominately dairy, milking 550 cows across two farms with some beef cattle as well. The majority of staff are family who are working towards being the third generation.

"We have been working with Nina on the SPRING grant for a number of years and appreciate all the different options that we were able to implement working towards being more environmentally aware.

"Being on the scheme has allowed us to explore different methods and have proved to be successful so far, especially with the undersowing of the maize crop.

"We look forward to another year of trials and hopefully success."

Rebecca Mycock

Maize trials

Photo of a field of maize seedlings with grass undersownUndersowing maize with grass provides a valuable green cover crop after harvest to reduce soil erosion and diffuse agricultural losses of nutrients to the local watercourse. Trials using the Pottinger drill have confirmed that provided the right species are sown at the right time and in the right place, the technique does not negatively affect maize yields and can even enhance them.

Maize is a particular concern for water companies due to the gappy nature of the crop and by under sowing maize it provides a better cover for the soil prior to the maize being harvested and also a green cover over winter, hence reducing the risk of bare overwinter stubbles which as previously mentioned are associated with diffuse losses.

In 2020 we will be growing the maize trials by increasing the area undersown with the Mycock’s as well as some of our large maize-growing SPRING farmers; furthermore, we are working with a local farming contractor Rob Moore of Moores Agricultural Contractors and Vaderstad UK to create a prototype undersowing maize drill which allows the maize to be undersown with the grass like the previous year but also allows us to precision place the maize with fertiliser placement direct into the seedbed reducing risk of nitrate losses to local watercourses.