Tim Stubbings is an arable farmer from Wold Newton, East Yorkshire and a farm partner of Sustainable Futures. Tim farms 440 Hectares (1100 acres) of wold land near Bridlington, growing mostly malting barley, feed and biscuit wheat along with OSR. In addition, he herds 50 beef cattle.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Well, it’s really about looking after the land for the next generation. My son is showing an interest in farming and I want the farm and soil to be in the best possible condition for when he takes over.

 

How are you looking to improve your soil?

Our soils are quiet shallow here, in places only 6-8” deep so we try to get as much organic matter into the soil, whenever we can. We use a combination of chopped wheat straw, farm yard manure (from our own cattle and our neighbours cattle), and poultry manure. We are very careful however about not importing blackgrass seeds in our muck and work hard with neighbours to maintain bio-security on our baling and any muck that we are bringing back to the farm.

 

So, in many respects, you are utilising resources in the way that a mixed farm would by collaborating with your neighbours who are livestock farmers?

Yes, we have worked with our neighbours for a number of years and it is now definitely benefiting our soil and the farm as a whole.

 

Do you use any cover crops?

Yes, initially this was mustard to act as game cover as well as a green manure. However, there seems to be a lot to be gained from these cover crops and we will look at our rotation going forward and definitely fit them in where appropriate.

 

Is malting barley an important crop for you?

Yes we grow between 1000-1500 tons of malting barley a year, half of it winter barley and half of it spring. We can grow good malting barley on the wold soils and have supplied Muntons Malt for nearly 50 years. We work closely with Muntons to produce the quality and plant the specific varieties they need for their customers.

 

Given where you farm, it sounds like a really local supply chain?

Yes, very local you can actually see the Maltings from some of our fields where the barley is being grown.

 

Are you interested in working more closely with their customers such as Heineken?

Yes we are really interested in getting closer to the end user, and supplying them with the barley they need. We take a great deal of pride in the crops we produce. Working with the Sustainable Futures project has been excellent as we now have a direct link with other Yorkshire farmers straight through to Heineken.

 

You have been involved in the Sustainable Futures project for a few months, how have you found it and what have you learnt?

it’s been really interesting and great fun. I have met some really good farmers, locally and in the Netherlands, and it’s been good to share ideas and see what others are doing.

We currently plough half the farm, but are looking at moving to more minimal cultivations. This year, for the first time, we are looking to experiment with direct drilling our OSR. We think that this will be a cheaper and lower energy route to establishing the crop, and with not ploughing, it will be kinder on the soil and the worms within it.