About Me

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If you wish to know more about me please click on the following link www.eldredgeandassociates.com.au If reading this blog for the first time please make sure you go to the first blogs (scroll to the bottom of the page and click on older posts) as it will explain the journey

Saturday, 10 March 2012


Back again....I have spent the best part of a week travelling to York, Peterborough and then back to London doing research and having meetings on what is out there that will connect production and management at a closer level in real time applications....
Clive Blacker and the beautiful women in his life.......Charlotte, Sue and Lucy....................

I was so fortunate to be hosted by 2004 UK scholar Clive Blacker, who opened up his home and business for me to gather information.  Clive has a well known Precision Ag business, called Precision Decisions Ltd and has been a ground breaker in bringing PA to the everyday farmer in the UK, he did this as his scholarship research in 2004 and now has a business that employs 10 people and sells, installs and services PA machinery along with giving critical consultancy advice around soil testing and variable rate technology applications.
During my time with Clive I was taken through the York YARA soil testing analysis laboratory, where I experienced first hand the process of determining soil nutrients and the reports that are provided to the clients and consultants.  I also got to see Clive's office at the heights of consulting and machinery installations, they were so busy and it made me appreciate so much their kindness in hosting and educating me during this busy period. 
Clive has an interest in a farming property too and his brother David took me around to give me a first hand experience of the challenges, but also the potential/opportunities of farming in the UK.  We stood in this field of wheat that was sown last October, at around 100kg/ha, had approx 100kg of fert at seeding will receive over the next few months around 250kg of urea.....and will probably yield around 10t/ha....Field of dreams....how we would love these yields in Australia.....

After a fabulous couple of days in York we travelled to Peterborough for a PA expo, and after helping Clive set up his stand we then went out ot dinner with some of the staff and a Director of the largest software package provider in the UK...Farmade, the developers and distributors of "Gatekeeper" a comprehensive tool for the production/business recording savvy producer, and has become a tool of choice by consultants....it was so fascinating to hear about the journey and development of the tool and the application possibilities.  At the expo I also got to spend time with the developer of the program, it was his "brainchild" and gosh how it has grown and been adopted, I was so lucky to talk to this brilliant man.

I was also fortunate to meet at the expo some other leading businesses in data/record keeping, including "Muddy-Boots", I got to speak to one of the Directors and this again was a terrific insight into a different type of business model in the distribution of the tool....record keeping and accountability/traceability is huge in the UK and these tools allow traceability along the food chain....I am wondering if this level of traceability will come to Australia eventually....my guess would be probably...sooner rather than later.....

One of my "dreams" in applying for a Nuffield was the vision of standing in a paddock, phone or Ipad in hand and taking a photo of the crop and being given an indication of nutrition.....guess what....an app exactly as described was available and launched at the Expo, I spent a long time talking to the scientist who was involved in the development of the App, and I am going to download it when I get home and try it out and give her feedback as to the application in Australia....if their validation is correct (and that is what I am going to try and determine with them), then this App is available for 2 pounds....can you believe that!!!  It wont be perfect but may be a stepping stone for those who would like to explore at a small cost this type of "tool" and its applicability.

So, a week of train travel, driving, meetings, dinners, talking, listening and great hospitality, I have gathered so much information that I will pull together when I get home, and what I think is so wonderful is the global agri-village we live in with the thirst for knowledge that people are so keen to share and develop further......and it helps when you have the fabulous Blacker family hosting and connecting you to these amazing industry people/business leaders....
I stayed with Clive's gorgeous Mother and this was the view from my frosty window next morning......
 Another super week in the Nuffield adventure.....thanks again to my Amazing sponsors..GrainGrowers Ltd for their huge input into my learning/research....


  1. beautiful photos - it really is wonderful to have this visual picture of your adventure.

  2. Hello Linda,

    I wondered what the yields were for the cropping when I was travelling through to York last April/May, 10/t a hectare, wow! But I guess there are better soils and more reliability with rainfall so a much bigger yield should be expected. Do the English farmers use no tillage practices, or is that not necessary with the quality of their soils?

    It looks like you have had a very interesting trip and have brought back a good deal of information that you can apply here in Oz.

    Good Luck with it.

    Steve Krieger.

  3. Hi Steve

    Yes better rainfall, naturally fertile soil makes such a difference, basically moisture is the biggest key.... They are moving towards no till practices, controlled traffic is being actively explored, but they do tend to still use a disc machine then go in with an airseeder with 7 inch row spacing. When I asked them why do they disc still it is basically to get the straw from the 10t/ha crop to a manageable level for seeding.... Really interesting is that the seeding equip is only bout 6 metros wide but they use a 350 horse power tractor to pull it, and they need that horse power cause the soils have such heavy clay content and very heavy pulling, so they probably can't really go wider, good to hear from you nice to know you are reading the blogs....thanks