Taunton Monitor Farm

Richard Payne
Farm sectors:
Cereals & Oilseeds
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About Taunton Monitor Farm

  • Manor Farm has been a monitor farm since July 2018.
  • 267hs farm area that includes wheat, winter OSR, spring barley, potatoes, winter and spring beans as well as game cover and woodland.
  • The farm also has a 1500t store, 900t store, workshop and light industrial units.
  • Soil is silty clay loam.

Richard Payne farms 280 ha at Manor Farm, Heathfield, near Taunton. The mostly arable farm has been in min-till for more than 15 years. Farming on silty clay loam, his rotation includes winter wheat, oilseed rape and beans. He grows primarily for the animal feed market, selling forward and into pools to spread risk.

Richard’s main challenges are consistent profitability, succession and knowing which investments to make for the future. By the end of the Monitor Farm programme Richard wants to have a better understanding of all his costs of production, particularly on the fixed cost side, and to benchmark himself against others.

You can find a comprehensive farm specification along with initial ‘SWOT’ analysis of Manor Farm in the Taunton Monitor Farm launch meeting report.

Taunton Monitor Farm meetings & reports

Soil, root & metal management – 12 March 2020

Philip Wright (Wright Solutions) told how various aspects of the farming process impact soil integrity, topics covered in this meeting include:

  • Principles of soil health
  • Tyre selection
  • Cultivation techniques


Less inputs, more Margin – 13 February 2020

Mike Harrington (Edaphos) described how integrated farming can alleviate the financial and environmental stresses of high herbicide input. Mike goes onto talk about how all kinds of farming are dependent on good soil and high biological diversity within it. Taunton Monitor Farm Integrated Farming Meeting Report | AHDB


Taunton monitor farm summer meeting – 9 July 2019

In this summer meeting, Richard considered the next steps for the farm following its benchmarking year. The information gathered during the previous year was used to make decisions on how best to diversify and improve the farm’s rotation going forward.

Benchmarking using Farmbench has been integral to the continuous development of Monitor Farms, find out more about the service here: Farmbench - a farm business comparison tool | AHDB


Crop marketing strategy – 12 December 2019

A whole host of speakers came together at this meeting to discuss current trends in the wheat market and what to anticipate in the near future.


Using data and tools to manage inputs – 7 November 2019

Bastiaan Brak (AHDB) highlights opportunities to reduce inputs by improving market and variety awareness. See the meeting report for more information.


Fungicide strategies for 2019 and beyond – 13 March 2019

Dr Johnathan Blake (ADAS) ran through non-chemical and spray control programmes, stressing the importance of variety selection when reducing fungicidal inputs. Taunton Monitor Farm Fungicide Strategies Meeting Report | AHDB


Joint ventures – 13 February 2019

In this meeting, Adrian Matthews (Savills) delivered a talk outlining the key considerations that need to be addressed when entering a collaborative venture.


Healthy soils, healthy profits – 12 December 2018

Clive Bailey (TWB Farms) odescribed a long-term zero-till farming system that can reduce machinery costs and minimise disturbance of soil biology. Key points from the meeting can be found in the report.


Labour, power & machinery review – 13 November 2018

An early review showed the Taunton fairs well against the national Monitor Farm network but there are always areas for improvement. Full results and future considerations can be found in the Taunton Monitor Farm L&M Review meeting report.

If you would like to be included in the email invite list for future meetings, contact Philip Dolbear (South West C&O Knowledge Exchange Manager), via Philip.Dolbear@ahdb.org.uk or on 07964 255 614.

Upcoming Meetings

20 June 2022, 10:45 AM - 20 June 2022, 1:45 PM

Manor Farm, Taunton, Somerset, TA4 1DL

You are invited to join us for a farm walk at the final Taunton Monitor Farm meeting.