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Blue Bags Grow Better Crops


Nitram (Ammonium Nitrate Fertiliser) 50 competition winner

COMPETITION WINNER: (L to R): CF Fertilisers’s Clive Deeley presents arable farmer Jim Strathern with his 50 bags of Nitram


Second generation arable farmer Jim Strathern had double cause for celebration after winning 50 bags of industry-leading CF Fertilisers Nitram® fertiliser.


Mr Strathern, who with his family farms approximately 2,000 acres from their base in Layer Marney, near Colchester, Essex, took delivery of the 30 tonne prize on the eve of his 70th birthday.

The competition was run by CF Fertilisers in conjunction with Farmers Weekly to mark the 50th anniversary of its British produced Nitram® brand.

Visitors to the CF Fertilisers stand at this year’s Cereals and Livestock events were invited to fill in their details and answer a qualifying question, with the winner’s name chosen at random. The competition could also be entered online.

Mr Strathern, who grows a mixture of winter wheat (including milling), oilseed rape, beans and spring wheat, correctly stated that only 13% of arable land in the UK is tested for Nitrogen.

“If I see a competition I generally tend to go in for it,” he said. “Everyone laughs and says, ‘why do you bother, you’ll never win’. But you’ve got to at least try – otherwise you definitely don’t stand a chance.

“It’s great to have won. I’ve been using Nitram® for nearly 45 years, so it’s a product that I know well. It’s a brilliant early birthday present!”

Mr Strathern, whose son Andrew also keeps 600 Christmas turkeys at Park House Farm, said using Nitram® had a number of benefits.

“The fertiliser is made in the UK and spreads better than other prilled products, with an even, more consistent pattern. It also keeps better, so it lasts longer.

“Another advantage is the bag itself – it’s a lot better quality than some of the others you get. It stacks better, it’s stronger and when you’re loading it into the spreader the inner liner doesn’t fall out, which is such a nuisance.”

He said that while he used Nitram® for all crops, it was particularly beneficial for helping to achieve a good protein, meeting his milling wheat requirements. He also uses the CF Fertilisers DoubleTop® Nitrogen Sulphur fertiliser.Mr Strathern’s father moved to Essex from Scotland in 1930 and started as a tenant farmer in nearby Birch, before buying Park House Farm in 1952.

CF Fertilisers is the UK’s only primary manufacturer of fertilisers and the Nitram® delivery was overseen by the company’s Regional Manager for the East, Clive Deeley.

He said: “Jim is a regular user of Nitram® and has been for many years. It’s great to be able to hand over such a prize – particularly just before his birthday. 

“Nitram® set the benchmark 50 years ago, delivering a predictable and efficient source of Nitrogen. Five decades on and farmers are still benefiting from the consistency and even spreading qualities which can make all the difference to both yield and profitability.

Nitram® is widely recognised as the gold standard and has been proven to outperform all other Nitrogen products. Regardless of weather conditions, Nitram’s consistent quality and reliable performance allow it to deliver a predictable, efficient and readily available source of Nitrogen, making it the first choice for all crops.”

The Nitram® was delivered by David Bailey, from DR & FA Ford Transport Ltd of Wem, Shropshire.

Proven by Defra to be the most efficient Nitrogen source, Nitram® is widely regarded as the ‘Best option for the environment and farming’.

Defra trials comparing alternative sources of Nitrogen found that, on average, only 3% of Ammonium Nitrate was lost to the atmosphere compared with an average of 24% for urea.