Soil & Water Management Centre

Developing & improving your soils

The Committee

Andrew Richards, Co-Chairman of SWMC, Senior Agronomist at Agrii

Mr. Richards has over 30 years experience in agronomy at Agrii and currently sits on the Agrii Research and Development Strategy BoardHis principal position is that of a practicing commercial agronomist, for many years he advised on 10k ha on all aspects of agronomy. He spends roughly 40% of his time on business development and technical innovation within Agrii, including biotechnology, trials and demonstration farms and the Agrii technology strategy. 60% of Mr. Richards’ time is spent on a portfolio of 9 farmers with over 6k ha of combinable crops and forage crops both for livestock and AD in Oxfordshire and surrounding counties.

In recent years he has created a partnership of companies working on the Best of British Wheat project looking to close the yield gap with the genetic potential (The 2015 harvest Agrii working with Rod Smith achieved a new world record of  16.52T/ha) . He has also set up a black grass SOIL management interaction project with a range of industry partners. Mr Richards is the Agrii lead in the Horizon 20:20 Project Agrocycle which began in summer 2016 – looking at soil health and the impact of organic waste to soil.

Tim Chamen, Co-Chairman of SWMC, sole trader under the name of CTF Europe.  

Consultant for Controlled Traffic Farming systems. Tim trained as an agricultural engineer and spent 25 years in research centered on machinery systems, the last 15 years of which were on soil/machine interactions, when he became aware of the huge negative impact of machinery compaction on soil conditions and crop growth. From the latter days of this research and from 1996 onwards as an independent, he has pursued the goal of introducing farmers to the benefits of field traffic segregation and its implementation in the form of controlled traffic farming (CTF). Once CTF is firmly established he believes farmers will want and should be provided with a better and more efficient engineering solution in the form of wide span or gantry tractors. (Regular speaker at our events.)

Professor Richard (Dick) Godwin, Visiting Professor at Harper Adams University 

Dick is a former Director of Research, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Engineering, Food Production and Rural Land Use and Pro Vice Chancellor of Cranfield University at Silsoe. He is an internationally recognized and award-winning researcher and educator in the field of agricultural soil mechanics, soil and waste management and precision agriculture. His contributions have resulted in improved fundamental understanding of soil dynamics and force prediction methods; the development of improved soil engaging tools and methods; and the transfer of principles to machine designers, extension advisors and practicing farmers. Working with colleagues, he coordinated the early projects in Precision Farming at Silsoe, the results of which are beginning to have significant effects on agricultural production and nitrogen management internationally. (Regular speaker at our events.)

Professor Peter Mills, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Harper Adams University 

Peter has a PhD in Plant Sciences from Imperial College and prior to joining Harper held positions at The Queen’s University of Belfast; Horticulture Research International and the University of Warwick.  Peter is a past President of the British Society for Plant Pathology.  Peter has been part of the team that successfully bid for funding for Agri-Tech Innovation Centres as part the UK Government’s Agri-Tech Strategy. The focus of this work has been to establish the Agri EPI Centre (for agricultural engineering/precision agriculture) involving 70 industry partners and higher education institutions. He is currently supervising the project ‘Soil borne pathogens of Oilseed rape: assessing their distribution and potential contribution to yield decline.’ 

Dr Lucy Crockford, Lecturer in Soil and Water Management, Harper Adams University

Lucy obtained her PhD in agricultural water management from Trinity College Dublin in 2015. Lucy’s research interests include catchment science and environmental science. She is skilled in habitat management, nutrient analysis, analytical science and microbiology.

Dr. Simon Jeffery, Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Technology, Harper Adams University

Simon obtained his PhD in soil microbiology from Cranfield University in 2007. His main interests are in ecosystem functioning and in particular how soil organisms drive processes and functions across a range of scales from local to global. His work has been focused on understanding such processes with the aim to harness them to increase the productivity and sustainability of our soil use.

Lee Williams, Business Development Officer, Harper Adams University

Lee obtained a BA (Hons) in Economics and International Relations from Reading University before going on the be sales director for Signal Radio and business manager for Staffordshire University. At Harper, Lee has a prominent role in funding application writing and management, research project management, project recruitment and finance, purchasing and contracting. Lee is also business development officer for The National Centre for Precision Farming.

Dr. Ivan Grove, Principal Lecturer in Precision Agronomy, Harper Adams University

Dr Ivan Grove is an Applied Crop Scientist whose research focuses on precision agronomy, the management of plant parasitic nematodes and plant/soil water conservation. The overall objective of his work is to maintain or improve the world’s crop production. He is an advocate for precision farming tools such as remote sensing and aerial imagery in his work.

Dr William Hartley, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science, Harper Adams University

Will's research focus and interests are in soil quality/health. Past research has been on soil pollution, mainly the remediation of metal(loid) contaminated brownfield land, metal mobility and bioavailability, soil-carbon interactions and ecological restoration and the management of contaminated land. Through his research he has demonstrated the benefits of use in remediation of brownfield land, and has directly influenced UK government (Defra-WRAP) waste management strategy. He currently is researching the aggregate stability of brownfield and agricultural soils and the effect of cover crops on soil health.


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