Nitram competition winner Andrew Craig (centre) with CF Fertilisers’ customer service manager Ben Blayds (right) and Wynnstay fertiliser manager David Mitchell (left).
Shropshire arable producer Andrew Craig of Westwood Farm, Bourton Westwood, has just taken delivery of 27 tonnes of British-made Nitram Fertiliser after winning a competition organised by CF Fertilisers and Farmer’s Weekly magazine.
A long-term Nitram user, Andrew was presented with his lorry-load of the iconic blue bags, worth approximately £5000, by CF Fertilisers’ customer service manager Ben Blayds and Wynnstay fertiliser manager David Mitchell.
“We’ve been using Nitram for as long as I can remember and buy around 230 tonnes a year so when the opportunity arose to enter the competition at The Arable Event, organised by Wynnstay and GrainLink in June this year, I decided to give it a go,” Andrew explains.
“The only win the family has had previously was when my sister won half a tonne of seed some years ago, so I didn’t hold out much hope. But it’s great news – farming is tough at the moment with the reduced returns we’re getting for our crops so everything helps.”
Trading as T. R. Craig and Sons, the farm has been looked after by the family since 1896 and currently has 680ha of land in arable production alongside a 300 ewe sheep enterprise and 50 head of Limousin cross beef animals.
“The blue bags are something every farmer instantly recognises and that’s been the case for many years, but it’s taken a lot of development work and constant manufacturing innovation to keep Nitram in the number one spot.
“Over recent years, for example, we’ve reduced the carbon footprint involved in its manufacture by 47%, played a leading role in promoting environmentally responsible fertiliser use and carried out numerous trials to fine-tune how growers can get the most out of it.”
“These are challenging conditions for growing crops with often difficult weather for fertiliser spreading and a later harvest than many parts of the UK.
One such trial was an ADAS study funded by DEFRA comparing Nitram Ammonium Nitrate (AN) performance to that of urea.
“Replicated experiments funded by DEFRA have shown that at 200kg of Nitrogen per hectare of Ammonium Nitrate (AN) yielded more than urea in 77% of cases,” explains ADAS head of crop physiology Dr. Pete Berry
For Andrew Craig, there’s never been any other straight Nitrogen product considered.
“We’ve been tempted at times, especially when commodity prices are low and you’re looking to cut your costs, but we’ve always stuck with Nitram.
“You know what you’re getting, you can rely on the product and the service and you know you’ll get the best economic return possible. We’re delighted to have won the competition.”