Pioneering and adaptable Norfolk potato grower LF Papworth has scooped Potato Grower of the Year, at the Grower Awards 2016.
The award was presented by Scott Garnett of precision nutrition company ICL and Andrew Gough of Lallemand Plant Care – joint sponsors in recognition of their new exclusive distribution partnership in the UK & Ireland.
Having trialed 10ha of salad potatoes in 2006, the business now devotes over 75ha to four varieties, supplying three customers packing for the major retailers. A sophisticated in-house management and recording system means each box is thoroughly checked before loading and labeled with harvest date, variety, field and customer in barcode or QR code format.
“Growing on loamy soils in North Norfolk, we have built a reputation for the long term quality storage of our salad potatoes,” says Tim Papworth. “Developed in-house, our unique potato box loading methods helps us provide year round supply.
“To improve irrigation efficiency, an accurate boom system with smart computerized reels has replaced overhead rainguns. The mobile phone start-up in the pump house saves us valuable time and fuel, while the smart phone canopy check app enables accurate assessment of yield potential of individual crops.”
Smart technology is also enabling the business to improve input efficiency. LF Papworth is a pioneer in the development of an RTK network of farmer owned masts delivering GPS precision farming options, enabling operators to accurately plant, fertilize and protect crops.
IPM is central to the farm’s ethos and Tim and his team remain acutely aware of their environmental responsibility. “We operate in an environmentally sensitive area and an area of outstanding natural beauty,” he says. “Each crop is tailored with its own unique set of inputs depending on the soil type and seasonal changes. Every effort is made to minimise the inputs needed to grow a profitable crop without compromising quality or the final product.”