About Us

Steve Townsend

Steve began his career as a trainee at RHM in the South West. He then joined Monsanto, where he helped develop fertilisers and nutrients and this ignited his passion for improving soils.

In 1998 Steve started Soil First Farming as a consultancy to help growers make the shift to No-Till farming based on the principles of Conservation Agriculture. Steve continued his studies and discovered there was a huge lack of understanding of the minor nutritional issues that growers face, Maxi-Phi was born out of this, using his understanding and previous studies. He has since developed a large number of products that can work in current farming practises, helping farmers on both ends of the farming spectrum.

Steve now advises farmers all over the UK and Europe on how No-Till can improve their business in more ways that one. Steve is passionate about helping you reduce their fixed costs, increase their crop yields and weed control whilst repairing their soils.

In his spare time Steve enjoys raising his small flock of sheep, teaching his girls (all four of them) about the principles of Conservation Agriculture and teasing his football playing Dairy Farmer son-in-law that rugby is the better game. Although Steve hung up his boots a few (not going to mention how many) years ago, he follows Gloucester rugby team and can be often seen watching the Autumn internationals and Six Nation championships at Twickenham.

James Warne

From a farming family in South Devon, James studied Agriculture at Seale-Hayne.   There an abandoned Bettinson drill ignited his interest in no-till systems.   James’ career in agriculture began on large scale arable enterprises on Romney Marsh, before moving into junior farm management positions on fruit, vegetable and arable enterprises in North Kent.   In 2006 he moved into the advisory sector joining FWAG in Berks, Bucks & Oxon.   There he specialised in soil and water management, gaining FACTS & the BASIS Certificate in Crop Protection.

Leaving FWAG in 2009 James moved into waste recycling to land holding the position of company agronomist at N-Virocycle and more recently has closely managed 3 Anaerobic Digestion facilities for an investment management company.

Since completing FACTS James has gone on to study nutrient interactions in the soil in more depth, in particular, cation exchange and the role of pH and soil carbon in plant nutrient availability.   James believes that ‘nutritional agronomy’ will become ever more important as farmers look to produce crops with increasingly tighter margins & regulation.

James in a member of the BASIS Professional Register and the Institute of Agricultural Engineers.

James has a young family that occupies all his spare time, but still manages to find time for rock-climbing and enjoys wielding a spanner on his collection of cars (don’t tell the wife)!