Exploring soil health: Northampton Monitor Farm

Past Event

Tue, 24 November 2020

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM


Exploring soil health at Northampton Monitor Farm

A virtual farm tour with monitor farmer Rick Davies in conversation with Elizabeth Stockdale

Join AHDB in partnership with Anglian Water for a webinar focusing on soil health at Northampton Monitor Farm


  • Elizabeth Stockdale (NIAB)
  • Rick Davies (Northampton Monitor Farmer)
  • Georgina Wallis (Anglian Water)

In this session we will look at how to easily assess your soil health, using tests and assessments you can do on farm. We will also discuss how to interpret the findings and how to link these with making improvements in your soils.
The session will be based around a recent soil health review at Northampton Monitor Farm, where a number of methods have been used to improve soils and the findings will be used to show how to use these to help inform future management practices.


  • 9:00 Welcome and introductions (Judith Stafford, AHDB)
  • 9:05 Soil health and water quality (Georgina Wallis, Anglian Water)
    • The role of Anglian Water
    • Catchment management – protecting water sources sustainably
    • How does soil health affect water quality?
    • Local water quality update
  •  9:10 Soil health at Northampton Monitor Farm (Rick Davies, Northampton Monitor Farmer)
    • Overview of where we were, what has changed and why
    • Including summary of methods used to improve soil health
  • 9:15 Northampton Monitor Farm – soil health review (Elizabeth Stockdale, Rick Davies)
    • Based on a virtual walk through a series of fields with contrasting locations, soil types, cultivation methods and applications of organic matter
    • A description of previous practice for each field, findings of the review and possibilities for future practice, to include:
      • What is a soil health review?
      • How to assess the health of your soils – which fields, location of soil samples, how to take soil samples, what to assess in the field
      • The Soil Health Scorecard
      • Interpretation of results – (including the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the soils)
      • Linking findings with previous interventions
      • What to do next for each field
  • 9.50 Questions and discussion
  • 10:00 Close (Judith Stafford, AHDB)

Recordings of pervious webinars are available at:

For more information: email judith.stafford@ahdb.org.uk 

About Northampton Monitor Farm

Rick Davies farms 404ha in partnership with his parents, trading as MTH Davies, between Northampton, Bedford and Milton Keynes. He grows Group 1 milling wheat, malting spring barley and HOLL oilseed rape, adding value where ever possible all for premium markets. The soil is a mixture of sandy loam, corn brash, silt and heavy clay loam. Crops are currently established with a Claydon-based direct drill and Rick is open to looking at other establishment methods. The Davies family have a number of diversification activities from Office and industrial lets to boxed beef and self-storage these other incomes allow the business to be more risk adverse. During the three years of the Monitor Farm programme Rick hopes to increase his business resilience, reduce fixed and variable costs while maintaining yields and improve soil health for a sustainable future.

Find out more by visiting the Northampton Monitor Farm page.

About Monitor Farms

AHDB Monitor Farms bring together groups of like-minded farmers who wish to improve their businesses by sharing performance information and best practice around a nationwide network of host farms. AHDB organises and facilitates Monitor Farm meetings for farmers, who own and operate the scheme – by farmers, for farmers. Monitor Farms are part of the AHDB Farm Excellence Programme. Each Monitor Farm project runs for three years.



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