Would you like to be at the cutting edge of arable innovation?

AHDB is looking for two forward-thinking commercial arable farmers in England to host Strategic Arable Farms.

One will be in East Anglia or the East Midlands focussing on potatoes, and the second in the South East or South West focussing on cereals and oilseeds.

Tim Isaac, AHDB Head of Arable Knowledge Exchange, said: “Following the success of the seven current Strategic Arable Farms, we now need two new hosts to help us build on the momentum and further develop the programme across the country.

Strategic Farms put research into practice – they focus on improving productivity through the testing and demonstrating of innovative practices in a commercial setting. In doing so, they provide a highly effective vehicle for driving the industry forward.

What you need to be a Strategic Farm host

•             A positive outlook to improving your business

•             A willingness to invite industry experts on to your farm and host demonstrations

•             An openness to exchange ideas and share your experiences with other growers at on-farm meetings and events

Strategic Farm hosts will be part of AHDB’s national Farm Excellence platform.

The aims of this initiative are to get farmers working together and discussing how to make positive and practical changes to improve productivity. Adding local knowledge and experience to the latest research increases the speed at which new innovations are adopted in a given area.

Tim added: “The host will be a key part of this exciting process, so we are looking for open minded, forward-thinking growers who enjoy working with others.”

Another key element of the programme is benchmarking. In order to identify cost effective improvements, it’s essential to measure both agronomic and economic performance, using AHDB’s Farmbench tool.

Strategic Potato Farm host Andrew Francis, Elveden Farms, said: “Our decision to host a Strategic Farm was born out of a quest for knowledge. We have several challenges in our business that are the same for others in the area who also have light soils. Having a Strategic Farm here allows us to look at best practice and innovation.”

Strategic Arable Farms provide growers with a platform to explore the potential for new research and technology alongside experts and researchers, giving them the confidence to implement new ideas on their own farms.

Brian Barker hosts a Strategic Farm near Stowmarket. He said: “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for my farming career – it’s extra work, but the knowledge I’ll gain about my farm will reap rewards in the long term.”

The Strategic Farm network provides a vehicle for the on-farm application of the science from AHDB’s extensive research and development programme in a commercial environment.

To apply to be the next host, contact graham.bannister@ahdb.org.uk by 11 January 2019.

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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.