Russell McKenzie, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

Under any conditions, we have better chances of success with no-till

Russell McKenzie

His farm

  • Russell manages a farming enterprise. He works for landowners who are keen to guarantee the profitability of their farms. He is a strong believer in the benefits of direct drilling for the sustainability of farm operations
  • He manages 995 ha of heavy clay arable land
  • He grows cereal crops: winter wheat, oilseed rape, winter beans, spring barley and spring oats
  • Over the past five years he has gradually transitioned from simplified crop production techniques to a direct drilling system

His innovations

  • Use of catch crops before winter cereals to delay seeding, reduce blackgrass and benefit from good sowing conditions thanks to the natural drainage made possible by the roots
  • Introduction of cover crops into the rotation before spring crops to improve retention of nutritive inputs (chiefly nitrogen) which would otherwise be lost

His results

  • For milling wheat which would require 260 to 300 kg of nitrogen: only 190 kg per ha applied, with a result this year of 13.52 T/ha at 13% of protein content
  • Reduction of basal dressing
  • Lower weed killer bill
  • Better soil resistance to weather variations
  • Increased organic content
  • Stabilisation of yields
  • Fewer weeds
  • Smaller machine fleet required

Find out more

His Nuffield report (2014)

Contact him

This profile was written by the organisation NUFFIELD France, a member of the NUFFIELD International network. The NUFFIELD Scholarship supports agriculture professionals on an international research and development journey. It is a window onto the world and access to a worldwide farming network.