Farm Manager of the Year Finalist
The 2023 Farmers Weekly Awards finalists have been chosen, and we are proud to announce that our Farm Manager, Ray Beck, has made it to the final shortlist in the Farm Manager of the Year category.
The Farmers Weekly Awards is the most prestigious awards in the agriculture industry, recognising farmers’ achievements across the country.
Ray Beck and his team manage 1835 hectares of farmland across the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire countryside, growing a wide range of arable crops for sale on the open market, along with low-mile produce for the estate - feed and bedding for livestock.
Ray has made the shortlist for his impact on improving Welbeck's soil health, profit and biodiversity while maximising yields on reduced inputs, which goes towards the estates farming policy to operate sustainably and environmentally responsibly, preserving and encouraging the habitats necessary for the local wildlife.
The estate's sustainable farming practices include:
- Improving soil structure and health – testing soil nutrient and pH levels began in 2008 and is now undertaken across the whole farm.
- Crop rotation – to improve soil health and nutrients while combating pests.
- Cover and companion cropping – soaking up any excess nutrients in the soil, helping trap carbon and acting as a guard to reduce water and wind erosion.
- Actively increasing soil organic matter – for better fertility, structure and health. Soil with more organic matter also absorbs and retains more water.
- Reducing the use of inorganic fertilisers for environmental reasons and lowering emissions from nitrogen fertiliser applications.
- Sowing conservation borders with nectar and bird flower mix.
- Monitoring and surveying wildlife to ensure the natural environment flourishes alongside our farming enterprise.
Judging for the Farmers Weekly Awards is now underway, and the winning farm manager will be someone who, as principal decision-maker, can show how they significantly impact the business – for example, through efficiency improvements, restructuring, collaboration or adding value. The judges will be looking for evidence of strong business acumen, excellent staff management and outstanding leadership.
We wish Ray the best of luck for when the winners are announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday, 5 October 2023.