An arable farmer from North Yorkshire has been named as the overall champion of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s Tye Trophy Awards.
Richard Bramley of Manor Farm, Kelfield near York was announced as winner in the ceremony at the Great Yorkshire Show this week.
The competition rewards excellence in farming and commitment to integrating conservation with commercial agriculture. Farms from across the North of England compete for the championship.
Richard runs a 550-acre arable farm, with milling wheat, malting barley, potatoes, sugar beet and oil seed rape. His approach is to achieve the best from the land and crops with minimum input and with conservation as an integral factor of his farming.
Sharing lessons learned with others is a key part of his farming approach and his conservation activity includes habitats for birds such as skylarks and yellow wagtails.
Charles Mills, one of the judges and trustee of the Society said: “Richard’s was a very well run farm and his attention to detail, combining conservation and a commercial arable business, was well done.
“Wild flower meadows have been planted, bird species encouraged and hedgerow management features. His dedication to promoting the farming industry to different groups and particularly to students was impressive.
“It is vital that conservation in agriculture is not regarded as something only to be considered by environmental enthusiasts, but incorporated into practical, commercial farming. Over the years we have seen some excellent examples of how this can be done, all of which helps encourage others and is vital to the future of British farming.”
The regional winners of the competition were:
Northumberland – Tom Comber of Elwick Farm, Belford. A traditional 550-acre mixed farm and 300 acres of foreshore land. Livestock are 450 breeding commercial sheep and finishing 250 beef cattle. Encouraging birdlife has resulted in 115 different species being recorded. The farm has 70 acres given over to encourage the light bellied brent geese, with a further 40 acres as habitat for breeding waders.
Tyne Tees – Chris, Liz and Harry Hodgson of Piercebridge Farm, Piercebridge near Darlington. A tenanted organic grassland farm belonging to Raby Estates which has been run by the Hodgson family since 1964. Their lamb, beef and outdoor unit pork supplies their farm shop which now employs 14 people. Much of the land has been reclaimed from former gravel quarries and the Country Stewardship Scheme has helped with a programme of hedge planting.
East Yorkshire – Tim Sellers of Carr House Farm, Foston on the Wolds, Driffield. A fifth-generation 480-acre farm set at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds. Organic since 1999, the farm supplies an on-farm enterprise, Side Oven Bakery. Spelt wheat is grown and processed for bread making, plus organic apples, elderflowers and soft fruit are grown. Environmental stewardship has encouraged a wide range of animals and birds to thrive alongside agricultural activity.
West and South Yorkshire – John Key of Garfield House Farm, Midhopestones, Stocksbridge. John has a 240-acre grassland farm of which a good proportion is classified less favoured and severely disadvantaged. He has pedigree Suffolk sheep which he shows, and also suckler cows. Conservation work includes specific grazing areas used to encourage nesting lapwings and waders and small ponds to encourage insect life. A small wind turbine and solar panels help provide power to the farmhouse and office.