Basingstoke Monitor Farm Walk

Past Event - booking closed

4 June 2019

10:00 AM - 1:30 PM

Longmeadow Sports & Social Club, Winchester Rd, Whitchurch, Hampshire

RG28 7RB

Hugh Crosbie Dawson, with his father, has worked on the 1,161 ha mixed Freefolk Farms near Basingstoke since 2011. The 800 ha arable cropping is split across owned, rented and contract farmed land. The farm’s rotation includes milling wheat, spring barley, oilseed rape and peas, all grown on predominantly chalky soil. In addition to the arable enterprise the farm has 150 dairy cows and 500 breeding ewes.

There are three full-time arable staff as well as a herdsman, Hugh and his father. A min-till approach is adopted where possible, although the farm has used the plough this year for the first time in 15 years, in order to combat grass weed pressure. Other enterprises on the farm include commercial lettings, self-storage and a solar farm.

Hugh’s ambition for the business is to reduce fixed and variable costs, increase efficiency and make further use of precision farming methods. During the Monitor Farm programme Hugh is also interested in benchmarking with other farmers and exploring break crops.


  • Welcome and introduction (Paul Hill, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Knowledge Exchange Manager) 10.30
  • Farm walk, to consist of:
    • Stop 1: Oilseed rape - Is oilseed rape worth the risk? How do we lower the risk of Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle and other pests (slugs) and diseases (discuss cultural controls and trials)? What are the other viable options if we don’t grow oilseed rape? Establishment techniques
    • Stop 2: Cover Crops - Knowing your objectives, keeping costs realistic, establishment techniques & timings, slug control, nutrient regimes, livestock integration, water regulations, Nitrate Vulnerable Zones. What mixes should we investigate in next try-out?
    • Stop 3: Peas - Robust Rotations using Nitrogen fixing crops, what’s the options. Costs versus profit
    • Stop 4: Crop establishment comparison (Spring Barley) - Grazing plus no-till versus inversion tillage
    • Stop 5: Wheat (Crusoe) - Where can we cut input costs? YEN regimes for 2019 crops. Integrated Pest Management. Organic Matter try-out
  • Event summary 13:15 (Paul Hill)
  • Finish 13:30



If you have any questions about this event, please contact us using the details below.


T 07964 243699