George Young

George Young

Fobbing, Essex

Arable (conventional)

George farms in partnership with his parents growing approximately 1,200 acres of crops (wheat, beans, barley, oilseed rape, peas and linseed, and an ongoing trial of buckwheat and lentils).

The farm is zero till, which means the fields are never ploughed and the soil never disturbed. This is increasingly common on arable farms; the aim being to improve soil health and store carbon in the ground.

George does not use insecticides on his crops and has significantly reduced his use of fungicides and fertilisers. He continues to use glyphosate and slug pellets.

George buys store cattle to graze a further 150 acres. He recently planted a ‘herbal ley’ (a mixture of herbs, grasses and clovers for livestock to forage on). If the cattle fatten well on it, he would like to set up his own dedicated beef herd.

He is also trialling sheep this autumn for the first time in more than 50 years on the farm. Reintroducing livestock to arable areas, which have only grown crops for many years, is a massive cultural shift in agriculture and still very unusual. Gradually more farmers, particularly the younger generation, are taking the plunge; believing it promotes soil health, works as part of their crop rotation and improves crop yields.

Contact George

George did not want to be a farmer until he was 27. Before that he worked in London in oil trading. The stress and long hours in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis made him reconsider what he was doing in life, so he came home to farm. In his London days, George was a semi-professional musician playing clarinet and saxophone. He has also dabbled in filmmaking.