Joe, who managed Boddington Estates near Cheltenham at the time of his entry, has won the 2014 nabim/HGCA Milling Wheat Challenge. Joe was praised by the award’s judges for his enthusiasm, his technical understanding of milling wheat production and his solid business foundations.
The judges for the 2014 award said that selecting the winner was very difficult because all of the finalists demonstrated exceptional attention to detail and a strong commitment to the milling trade’s needs and processes.
They stressed that this year was the most challenging for the judges in the history of the competition. The standard was very high and each finalist had very different strengths. “We thought that it was difficult last year but this year the standard was even higher. What was very noticeable about our winner, Joe Edwards, was that he was technically sound and knowledgeable about all aspects of the crop. His focus was on development and improvement”
“Joe has a desire to improve his personal decision-making and he couples this with a passion and enthusiasm to better understand crop performance. He operates to a budget with a good understanding of costs and a focus on balancing value for money with operational benefits. ”
Joe, who has since moved on to the role of Farm Manager for Langmead Group this year grew varieties that all attracted a premium – Gallant, Solstice and Crusoe. He sells his wheat to Openfield, Frontier, Glencore and Warburtons with most being milled by ADM Liverpool and Hovis Ltd at Southampton and Manchester.
Speaking at the presentation dinner in London on Thursday 30 October he said: “I feel really proud of winning this award. Growing milling wheat is a passion of mine and I always aim to grow quality crops to very high standards. To have this recognised by nabim and HGCA through this competition is particularly special.“
“For my crops to have achieved this required many components to come together, including providing them with the right inputs, as well as the efforts of the team of people on the farm and those providing me with agronomic advice.”
It was remarked that all three finalists demonstrated forward thinking and could consistently grow quality crops of bread-making wheats.
“All three finalists were on top of their disease control and when we made the farm assessments in June and early July all the crops were full of potential. To open up your business to any fellow farmers can be a daunting experience but it was a pleasure to judge crops of such an exemplary standard.
All three growers can be rightly proud of their achievements in reaching the final.”
The Milling Wheat Challenge has become established as a formal recognition by Britain’s flour millers of how the country’s best growers combine attention to detail with end-customer awareness and business acumen to create a win: win for the whole wheat chain