Monitor Farm meeting: Basingstoke
Experiences and Strategies for Arable Cropping Robustness
It is important that we continually scrutinise and justify our farming strategies so to cope with the changes and pressures our businesses are going through in order to keep them robust and resilient for the coming years. At this meeting, we will focus on crop husbandry methodologies; asking what viably and ethically works and what doesn’t? To lead these discussions /case studies, we have two innovative and former AHDB Monitor Farmers who will highlight their crop/farm business management strategies along with, their experiences, farming ethos and ethics so to promote group thought, discussion and ideas that could be integrated on your farm.
- Julian Gold (Past AHDB Monitor Farmer) - Farm manager in East Hendred, Oxfordshire. He farms 800ha on a five-year rotation of oilseed rape, winter wheat, spring beans, winter wheat and second wheat, winter or spring barley on highly alkaline, silty clay loam soil over chalk, with 679mm average yearly rainfall. There are also sheep and shoot enterprises on farm. Julian is passionate about sustainable intensification using holistic farming strategies that integrate Cover Cropping, Minimal Tillage and Controlled Traffic Farming. By using this husbandry, he has been able to promote his soil health together with the environment he farms within. Julian’s farming practices were recently recognised by the Farm Cutting Carbon Toolkit (FCCT) & Innovation for Agriculture (IFA) who awarded him the 2019 Soil Farmer of the Year.
- Rob Addicott (Past AHDB Monitor Farmer) is a Duchy of Cornwall tenant farming 478ha in Somerset, divided between his home farm, shared land with a neighbour, and contracted land. The farm grows winter wheat, barley and oilseed rape for feed, as well as beans for human consumption, on a six-year rotation and shares all of his machinery and some other investment costs with a neighbour. Although the farm is predominantly arable, he also runs a beef and sheep enterprise. Rob is an enthusiastic member of LEAF and was one of the pioneering LEAF demonstration farms, promoting how IFM can be utilised to develop economical sustainability. Along with this, Rob also manages an on-farm office complex
- Welcome and introduction: Paul Hill – AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Knowledge Exchange Manager (South East)
- Basingstoke MF farming operational update: Hugh Crosbie - Dawson
- Case Study 1: Julian Gold
- Coffee/Group break-out session Strategies for success
- Case Study 2: Rob Addicote
- Event summary & finish
Basingstoke Monitor Farm
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.
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.