Hale Village Monitor Farm

Bill Webb
Hale Village
Farm sectors:
Cereals & Oilseeds
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About Hale Village Monitor Farm

  • Manor farm has been a monitor farm since June 2019.
  • Arable rotation includes wheat, oilseed rape and spring barley, winter barley and potatoes.
  • 417ha farm with a range of light the medium-heavy land.

Bill webs farms with his son at Manor farm in Hale Village on the Mersey estuary. They grow wheat, OSR and potatoes along with spring and winter barley in a 417ha arable area with soils ranging from light to medium-heavy.

Everything grown at Manor Farm, bar the barley, is sold to customers withing a 20-mile radius of the farm. Localism and a strong supply chain are at the forefront of Bill’s business, and he hopes to bring more region-specific knowledge back to the North-west over his time as a monitor farm.

Prior to becoming a monitor farm, Bill was already experimenting with some direct drilling, as well as the use of cover crops, wildflower margins and fodder radish as a biofumigant. These practices were identified as a foundation to build upon over the coming three years, see Hale Village Monitor Farm launch meeting report for more details.

Hale Village Monitor Farm meetings & reports

North West and Northern Ireland Monitor Farms summer meeting – 25 June 2020

Bill gave an overview of what proved to be a difficult year at Manor Farm, extreme weather windows and the farm’s first encounter with cabbage stem flea beetle saw OSR having a particularly hard time. Despite this, Bill did have some positives to report:

  • Successful diversification - sowing winter beans in response to changes in the market.
  • New wheat variety Firefly performed very well.
  • Wildflower borders were a great success and even saw commercial value.
  • Pressure from fungal disease was low – opening up opportunities to lower chemical inputs.
  • Learnt more about the importance of establishment timings when protecting OSR from CSFB.

To hear Bill’s update from the meeting, use the following link: NW and NI Monitor Farm Summer Meeting | AHDB


Benchmarking soils and business – 7 November 2020

A small-scale soil assessment and worm count were carried out in bare and cover-cropped soil. This evaluation was a pre-cursor to what would become the Soil Health Scorecard, a tool created as part of the Soil Biology and Soil Health Partnership.

The scorecard consists of several key soil health indicators that, once tested for, are ranked against national and regional soil scores. This makes it easy to identify areas where your soil can be improved.

More information on the Soil Health Scorecard along with case studies of its use can be found here: Testing the soil health scorecard | AHDB


Using Home-Saved Seed – 5 March 2020

Mark Taylor and Jim Carswell (Agrii) outlined the various terms and conditions surrounding saved-seed royalties and the various attributes the seed needs to be tested for before it can be sown.

Information given about various seed treatments was also distributed. You can find out more via: Hale Village Home Saved Seed Meeting Report


Labour & Machinery review – 6 February 2020

Labour and machinery costs at Manor Farm were calculated and judged to be lower than if Bill were to contract the labour and equipment out (based on 2018/29 published contractor charges), see the full breakdown here: Hale Village Machinery Review Meeting Report | AHDB


“How to make an extra 30K?” – 12 December 2019

Discussed the financial and non-financial rewards of adopting Countryside Stewardship Schemes (CSS) and highlighting schemes that could be realistically undertaken at Manor Farm.

Potential avenues of diversification were also touched on in the meeting, find out more from the meeting report: Hale Village CSS Meeting Report | AHDB


IPM & ryegrass control – 7 November 2019

This meeting focused on IPM strategies that can be applied to reduce the reliance on herbicides. As well as asking the question: what can be learned from organic farmers?

Find out more about IPM strategies, visit: Hale Village IPM Meeting Report | AHDB

If you would like to be included in the email invite list for future meetings, contact Michelle Nuttall via Michelle.Nuttall@ahdb.org.uk or on 07778143404.

Upcoming Meetings

30 June 2022, 10:30 AM - 30 June 2022, 2:30 PM

You are invited to join us for a farm walk at the Hale Village Monitor Farm.