From chemical fertiliser to a holistic approach to farming

“I felt we were advancing in agriculture, we were there to grow more food for the country if you like, yes 1948-49, still growing food for the country.”

Wilson Robinson was born in 1916, and witnessed many changes in his long farming career. As the grandfather of Alison and Richard Park, who currently run Low Sizergh Barn and Low Sizergh Farm, his story provides a fascinating insight into different farming approaches.

He started farming when he was a boy, helping out around the family farm and going on to buy his own farm in the hills of Westmoreland just before VE Day in 1945. Not long after the war, he was approached by ICI, a British chemical company, to take part in a costings scheme. As part of the scheme, he followed their recommendation of introducing chemical fertiliser and silage making. Wilson’s farm later became an ICI demonstration farm, showing these intensive farming techniques to other farmers in the area.

Wilson’s story reflects the great changes that took places in the farming sector in the decades after the war and the influence that these changes have had on the landscape and wildlife today.

The contrast to Richard’s holistic approach two generations later now is clear, although some things don’t change – and knowledge sharing with other farmers continues to be part of Park family farming to this day.

Want to know more? You can listen to Wilson’s full story as he delves into his farming career and working with ICI to intensify his farming practice after the war.

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