Young Farmers profiles: Martin Cockerill

Downham Market YFC chairman Martyn Cockerill. Picture: Ian Burt

Downham Market YFC chairman Martyn Cockerill. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

As part of our regular series of profiles on the region's Young Farmers' Club (YFC) members, tractor driver MARTYN COCKERILL talks about the range of machinery responsibilities on a west Norfolk farm.

I daren't say that I have a typical day at work, as my day can be very varied.

I'm normally up around half six, checking emails and thinking of what Young Farmer-related calls I need to fit in throughout the day. I also think of what jobs need to be done around the farm and what fields are going to take priority for cultivations.

I head up to the yard for 8am where I meet with my employer and we discuss and plan together what we need to achieve through the day and coming week. For a tractor driver, I have quite an input in the running of this 950-acre farm, something I feel very privileged to do. I am the only full time tractor driver for this company, so I do all the operations for our cereals, oilseed and pulse crops, from ploughing and drilling, through to spraying, fertiliser applications, then finally combining.

Over the last couple of weeks I've been spending most of my time on a hedge cutter, something we as a farm take a lot of pride in.

Lightly trimming our hedges every year is our aim, but sometimes this isn't possible due to cropping rotations. This is to create a nice, wide, tight-faced hedge. As an operator, I can say I see more birds' nests in a hedge that is lightly trimmed every year so that its face is kept thick, rather than the ones that get cut every three or four years, as these very overgrown spindly hedges leave nests wide open to predators.

Wildlife and the nature on the farm is something we take very seriously and work hard to improve, this involves voluntarily leaving long stubble in fields that are going to be used for spring crops. This helps our brown hare and grey partridge numbers, and there has been a noticeable increase of both on our farm in the last few years.

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Over the coming weeks I shall be ploughing and drilling spring cereals on some of these stubbles which have had since August to provide cover, food and protection for a wide variety of animals.

In five years I'd like to think I shall still be working for Oxborough farms, helping to drive the business forward and progress any diversification projects. It's never a dull day here and, as a wise man once said: 'Choose a career and job you love, and you'll never work another day in your life'. I can honestly say that even when I'm attending a burst irrigation pipe at 10pm, I wouldn't want to work for anybody else or in any other industry. My farming neighbours and the people I've met along the way, make my time in Young Farmers and my career what it is so far, and I hope it continues for many years to come.


Name: Martyn Cockerill

Age: 24

Occupation: tractor driver

Location: Oxborough Farms limited

YFC club: Downham Market (current chairman)

How long have you been a YFC member? Since 2009

Downham Market YFC meets at the Conservative Club in Downham Market on Wednesday evenings. For more information, contact the county office on 01603 731307.