MJ & SC Collins currently farms 1,200ha (3,000 acres) across 3 main sites on the Essex/Herts border. The vast majority of the land is owned, having been built up over a period of time throughout the history of the business. Following the purchase of Lysander Park Farm, Sawbridgeworth in 2006, the latest additions to the farm have been at Dane Bridge, Much Hadham and Greensted, Ongar. The remainder of the farming area is made up of rented and contract farmed land.
The farm is purely focused on arable cropping with a rotation based around milling and feed wheat, winter barley, field beans, borage and sugar beet. Grass land is let for local equine and livestock use.
To make the most of economies of scale and to make the farming as efficient as possible, each farm is split into 160ha blocks to compliment the fleet of high output machinery as so to ensure work is carried out as quickly as possible at the right time.
This translates into a desire to lift current production levels to new consistently higher levels through the adoption of the best of traditional farming, high quality management and utilisation of the most advanced production techniques available. MJ & SC Collins view improving soil health as the cornerstone of our future agricultural development.
Each farm has its own grain storage facilities with enough capacity to hold all of the farm’s produce which enables the business to be in more control of harvesting as well as marketing. All storage consists of on floor drying with the use of stirrers in the more modern stores.
The business is embracing all aspects of modern technology from machines and tyres to guidance and input application as well as the creation and installation of land drainage systems.
Agronomy is provided by Prime Agriculture and overseen by the Farm Manager (John Haynes) to ensure that the most up to date agronomic science & technology is applied in exactly the right place right across the farm. This ensures that attention to detail is applied on a large scale.
Key areas of our thinking are:
- Incorporation of treated bio-solids to improve nutrient status, soil organic matter and therefore workability.
- Improving soil drainage by installing new land drainage schemes and renovating older ones by adding additional lateral field drains, by cleaning ditches of silt and by a co-ordinated approach to both mole drainage and removal of compaction by targeted subsoiling.
- By using GPS RTK technology to align machine widths in the field.
- Adoption of a Reduced Traffic Farming approach (RTF). We believe in gradually moving from uncontrolled field traffic wheelings to one of heavily reduced wheelings over a period when our field machinery becomes due for replacement.
Attention to detail, judgment and timing are all critical to success. MJ & SC Collins value the hard work, loyalty and dedication of our staff. The business aims to involve our staff and train them to help them achieve success. Please see Agricultural Services for more information on contracting services and staff.