Following a trip to this year’s Cereals Event, a farmer come rugby coach won rugby tickets to see England V’s Australia, at Twickenham, as part of the Autumn International series.
Ben Wilson, farm manager for Glympton Farms Ltd in Oxfordshire, was drawn as the winner after being entered into Certis’ competition at the arable event in June.
“When I was contacted to say I been drawn as the winner, it was a real surprise,” says Mr Wilson.
He remembers going on to the Certis stand and completing a questionnaire to receive NRoSO points, as part of the CPD slug trail run in conjunction with Certis, Water UK and De Sangosse.
“I took my son, and we both really enjoyed the day. I coach the Under 11 Chipping Norton rugby team, and occasionally play for the seconds, and my son plays every week, so this was a real treat for us.
“We made a day of it, seeing the team arrive and getting ‘selfies’, but needed to be back ready for rugby on the Sunday,” he adds.
As well as his keen interest in rugby, Mr Wilson manages 3,000 acres as a tenant of the Glympton Estate. “We’re currently farming 2,000 acres of arable split equally between milling wheat, malting barley and oilseed rape, as well as also having 500 acres of woodland and 500 acres of grassland.
“We market crops over an 18-month period ourselves, aiming to sell each month, the thought behind this driven by managing our exposure to risk.
“If the market rises significantly we can sell a bit more than usual. Conversely, if the market is lower than we would like, we only sell the smallest amount meaning we may not hit the highs, but we’ll also, fingers crossed, not hit the lows.
“It’s all about knowing your cost of production and selling above a budget price, at a price you’re happy with,” he adds.
“This year we’ve had real trouble with establishing crops due to high slug pressure, and an influx of cabbage stem flea beetle which seems to have spread to us from the east of the country.
“To try and keep on top of the problem we’ve been spraying through the night, where we need to, every 7 to 10 days, but we’ll have to wait and see what the real damage will be,” he explains.
“The trip to the rugby has been a real highlight for my son and I, and allowed us to escape from the farm for a day and experience something different, that you don’t often have the opportunity to do,” he says.