Seven new Monitor Farms bring whole-farm approach

The seven new AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Monitor Farm hosts appointed in England this year bring a fresh, whole-farm approach to the scheme.

All seven of the farms have multiple enterprises including cereals and oilseeds, and all but one have livestock within the business.

Richard Meredith, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager, said: “It’s really important to look at the farm as a whole – especially at how the enterprises interact and benefit each other. In our technical discussions we’ll be focusing both on the arable side of the businesses, but where possible we’ll look into challenges that apply to farmers from a number of sectors.”

The seven new Monitor Farm hosts are:

  • Rory Lay, Park Farm, Loppington, Shropshire
  • Ashley Jones, Smeaton Farm, Saltash, Cornwall
  • Bill Web, Manor Farm, Hale Village, Cheshire
  • Richard Ling, Rookery Farm, Diss, Norfolk
  • Gary Shipley, Huggate Wold Farms, Huggate, Yorkshire
  • James and Michael Parker, Sherwood Farms, Vale of Belvoir, Leicestershire
  • William Smith, Beaute Farm, Canterbury, Kent

Over the next three years the new Monitor Farms will host meetings for local farmers and others in the industry discussing hot topics of the day, hearing from experts, sharing and comparing ideas to improve their businesses.

The seven family farms range in size from 190 to 765 ha, representing a range of soil types and cultivation methods.

Ashley Jones, who will be hosting the Saltash Monitor Farm, said: “I wanted to become a Monitor Farm host because I’ve found the experience at other Monitor Farms very enjoyable. I’ve learnt something new every meeting and I like to be able to get into discussions with other people in the trade and fellow farmers.

“I also feel that every day is a school day and there is always something to learn, so what’s better than getting involved and having a group of farmers on my farm suggesting ideas and sharing their experiences?”

Although unified by their shared interest in learning and improving, the seven new host businesses bring a wide range of experiences and interests, from biodiversity to localism, work-life balance and resilience.

For more information and meeting dates, visit cereals.ahdb.org.uk/monitorfarms

 

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.