North Tyneside farmer digs in to win top award

Shaun Watson picks up the Arable Farmer of the Year award at the annual Farmers Weekly Awards.
Shaun Watson picks up the Arable Farmer of the Year award at the annual Farmers Weekly Awards.

A North Tyneside farmer is celebrating after picking up a top national award at a glittering celebratory night.

A host of farms were shortlisted in 15 awards at the 13th annual Farmers Weekly Awards, which were held at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

Among the winners was Shaun Watson, who runs Westfield Farm in East Holywell. He beat two rivals from the south to win Arable Farmer of the Year award.

Shaun is pushing for high yields on his cropping and successfully grew an award winning crop of wheat, using technology to increase yields on his 730 hectares of cropping, by allowing him to target poorer performing areas of fields.

He has successfully integrated arable cropping with livestock enterprises to improve soil health.

Shaun, who has won two YEN gold awards previously for increasing his crop levels, said: “It was an amazing night.”

Judges said: “He is passionate about soil health and feeds them with liberal amounts of sewage sludge, horse manure from the livery business and compost.

“His success and reputation has helped him to substantially grow the area, which he has more than doubled since 2013.

“His latest project is to build a new farm near Morpeth.

“Ultimately, his philosophy of ‘yield is king’ combined with keeping costs down means his business is much better placed to thrive after Brexit.”