Stephen Craggs, of East Close Farm in Sedgefield, was crowned winner of nabim and the HGCA’s Milling Wheat Challenge at a special celebratory dinner at The Ritz, last night (24 October).
The competition serves to find the best grower of milling wheat in the UK, identifying those that consistently produce high quality crops, the skills they use and the decisions they make.
Craggs’ business farms 750 hectare acres (ha) of continuous wheat, producing 550ha of Solstice and 200ha of Tybalt this year. Between 90-100% of production is group 1 milling wheats, with 90% meeting full milling specification, according to the farm. Yield for the past six years has been between 8.92 and 11.65t/ha.
The other finalists were James Loder-Symonds of Denne Hill Farm, in Canterbury, and Nick and David Philp, from Church Farm, Waltham St Lawrence, Reading.
This year’s judges were Martin Savage, nabim; Pat Thornton, HGCA; and Mark Ireland, a Lincolnshire Farmer and "Farmers Weekly Arable Farmer of the Year 2009".
The fifth annual Milling Wheat Challenge will take place next year.