Canterbury Monitor Farm

Will Smith
Woodnesborough, Sandwich, Kent
Farm sectors:
Cereals & Oilseeds
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About Canterbury Monitor Farm

  • Hammill Court farm has been a monitor farm since May 2019
  • Total farm area: 765ha
  • Will grows milling wheat, oilseed rape, beans, quinoa and maize.
  • Alongside crops, the farm has a sheep and beef enterprise along with straw, hay and property development businesses.
  • Soil types range from sandy loam to heavy clay loam.

Will Smith farms with his father, brother and one other employee at Beaute Farm near Canterbury. Covering some 765 ha, of which 190 ha are owned, 100 ha are rented, and the rest managed under varying contract farming agreements; the land features a variety of soil types including chalk loam, brick earth and marsh clay.

Crops include milling wheat, oilseed rape, beans quinoa and maize for a local anaerobic digestion plant. Alongside their crops the farm has a sheep and beef enterprise, straw and hay and property development businesses.

Improving net margins through reducing input costs, reducing his impact on the environment and supporting local biodiversity are top of the agenda for Beaute Farm going forward. Over the next three years William is keen to use the Monitor Farm programme to improve his farming methods and strategies, helping him to identify opportunities from the challenges ahead.

Canterbury Monitor Farm meeting & reports

Yield Enhancement Network – 19 December 2019

Roger Sylvester-Bradley (ADAS) and Alex Wilcox (YEN Winner) give an introduction to the Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) and holistic advice to help improve your yields.

Full meeting details can be found here: Canterbury Monitor Farm YEN Meeting Report | AHDB


BYDV | Understanding the disease – 7 November 2019

Dr Gia Arrodotir (Rothamsted Research) discusses key aspects of BYDV transmission and outlines preventative measures that can be taken.

For full meeting details and links to more information regarding BYDV control, visit: Canterbury Monitor Farm BYDV Meeting Report | AHDB


Canterbury Monitor Farm launch meeting – 3 July 2019

Will is very knowledgeable and prior to securing monitor farm status there were already a lot of forward-thinking practices in place at Beaute Farm across a number of key areas:


Beaute Farm hosts a variety of soil, all of good quality. Will farm has been reducing soil-disturbance for several years now and has the equipment for direct drilling into a range of crop aftermaths and mulches. Cover crops are already in use and can also be drilled into directly. Will also keeps sheep and cattle on the farm and is looking for a way to incorporate them into the arable rotation.


Being close to no-till, Will has seen the benefit of low-soil disturbance in regard to grass-weed control. However, ploughing is used where necessary for Fusarium and grass-weed control and chemical crop protection is very much in use. Will hopes by incorporating integrated pest management technique he can reduce the farms reliance on the chemical toolbox.


Beaute Farm has the potential to diversify, going forward it is important to manage these diversification opportunities well as to negate the risk that comes with non-conventional crops and business endeavours.

The farm has a relatively low cost of production and Will has a good understanding of it. Will has a good network of local contacts to which he can offer agronomic and management assistance as well as individual and whole-farm contracting jobs.

There is opportunity to exploit the farms surroundings and apply for Environmental Stewardship schemes and make use of its relative proximity to shipping ports.

These attributes were identified via SWOT analysis as a good foundation to build upon over the coming three years. See the full breakdown along with a compete farm specification in the launch meeting report. Link: Canterbury Monitor Farm Launch Meeting Report | AHDB

If you would like to be included in the email invite list for future meetings, contact Alex Wade (South East C&O Knowledge Exchange Manager), via or on 07776 660 796.

Farm Video