Chathill Monitor Farm

Pip Robson
Farm sectors:
Cereals & Oilseeds
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About Chathill Monitor Farm

  • Chathill Farm has been a Monitor Farm since June 2020
  • Pip Robson runs a mixed farm, totalling over 800ha of owned, tenanted and contracted land
  • Pip’s enterprises include 480ha of arable cropping, beef, sheep, a straw pelleting plant and contracting
  • The soil varies from reclaimed moorland to heavy clay, his cultivation policies are a mix of ploughing and min-till

Based on a coastal plain in the far north of England, Pip runs a mixed farm of just over 800ha, including 480ha of arable cropping. As well as arable cropping, the farm features a suckler herd, half of which are pedigree Aberdeen Angus. Pip includes the herd in his crop rotation. The farms other enterprises include contract work and an on-farm straw pelleting plant.

Pip’s business goal is to combine business flexibility with efficiency to prepare for the changes ahead. See Pip introduce his farm in the North East Monitor Farm Summer Meeting 2020 Webinar.

Chathill Monitor Farm will run from 2020-24.

For information about past meetings and events, click '+ See more'.

Past meetings & updates

Should we be sitting on our natural capital - 14 February 2023

For the final meeting of the 22/23 winter season, Pip was joined by Jennie Stafford (GWCT) who helped to demystify natural capital. Describing how to both measure and market it.

Also in attendance were Lydia Nixon (Natural England) and Stuart Moss (Catchment Sensitive Farming), who talked about work in the Northeast regarding Local Nature Recovery and Nutrient Neutrality.

Making the most of precision techonology - 7 December 2022

This meeting featured two speakers, the first was Tom Hoggan (McGregor Farms). Tom talked about the various pecision technologies being implemented at McGregor farms and highlighted which he felt were earning their keep.

Following this Andrew Gregory (Thomas Sherriff & Co Ltd.) spoke about the MyJohnDeere platform used by Pip, advising how to get the most out of it at Chathill Farm.

Is the organic way the right way? - 1 November 2022

The first winter meeting of the 22/23 season saw two guests speakers use their experiences of organic farming, direct drilling and implementing living mulch to answer questions surrounding the practicalities of these practices.

Dominic Amos (Organic Arable) and James Alexander (PrimeWest) were both involved in a No-till with living mulches trial, as lead researcher and triallist respectively. The project results from 2020-22 can be found, here.

Summer update – 26 July 2022

Pip gave update on what had been going on since his last meeting and shared his progress with his on-farm trials. Sheep and beef consultant Liz Genever then spoke about her top tips for integrating livestock into the arable rotation.

The group then visited one of Pip’s GS4 (legume and herb-rich swards) fields where Liz highlighted both the opportunities and factors to consider when using GS4 in an arable situation. Finally, Douglas Stephen from Crop Services Ltd presented a case for YARA variable rate application and the benefits some growers have seen from using precision farming methods.

Diggin deep into soil health - 24 February 2022

Liz Stockdale (NIAB) gave a demonstration of how to use the newly developed AHDB Soil Health Scorecard and talked through the findings of the soil assessments which took place at Pips's farm during the autumn prior.

How to quantify IPM - 27 January 2022

In this meeting, Henry Creissen (SRUC) tried to answer the questions "is it possible to quantify IPM?". This was followed by a group discussion in which attendees discussed IPM strategies they've adopted and whether they've been a succes or not.

Getting to grips with carbon - 16 December 2021

Ryan Douglas (ADAS Climate & Sustainability) told the group what they need to know about carbon, covering footprinting and how to use the results from it. 

This was followed by Harley Stoddart (DEFRA) delving into the legislation surrounding carbon and the goals set by the government.

Labour & machinery review - 11 November 2021 

Over the winter season a Labour & Machinery Review was conducted at Chathill Farm.

In this meeting, AHDB's Technical KE Manager Harry Henderson and Rob Meadley (Brown & Co.) analysed the results and Pip talked about what he learnt from the review.

North East Monitor Farm regional update - Autumn 2020

Pip struggled in 2020 with heavy, wet land that didn’t establish well following 2019’s harvest.

He lost a portion of his arable land due to selling of contracts and decided to up his herd in response. Aiming for 250 sucklers by 2022, half of which will be pedigree Angus.

To accommodate this change, a large multi-purpose shed was erected at Chathill Farm. In addition to housing and finishing cattle this shed can be used to store grain and straw.

In addition to upping stock numbers, Pip planned to make the following changes in 2021:

  • Trial new methods of establishment – moving from min-till to direct drilling where feasible.
  • Planting winter beans via direct drilling as he saw success with them last year despite unfavourable conditions.

Watch Pip and other monitor farmers in the region give their update in the North East Monitor Farms Regional Update Webinar

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