Ripon Monitor Farm
About Ripon Monitor Farm
- Monitor Farm since 2021
- Farm covers 760 hectares, of which 400 hectares are combinable crops
- Cropping currently includes winter barley, spring beans, feed wheat, winter naked oats, oilseed rape and cover crops
- Estate also includes miscanthus, willow, woodland, grassland for grazing, quarry sites and a theme park
Managed by Jonathon Fryatt, Lightwater Farms is situated just outside of York and covers 760 hectares, 400 hectares of which are combinable crops. The rest of the estate is made up of miscanthus, willow, woodland, grassland for grazing, quarry sites and a theme park, with cropping as of 2021 including winter barley, spring beans, feed wheat, winter naked oats, oilseed rape and cover crops.
During the three-year Monitor Farm Programme, Jonathan is keen to learn more about agricultural conservation in light of the loss of subsidies and the introduction of ELMS. Improving both drainage and soil health across the estate are key to this, with the use of soil cover, better organic matter, direct drilling to minimise soil disturbance and more focused woodland management all avenues to be explored going forward.
Ripon Monitor Farm will run from 2021–2024.
For information about past meetings and events, click '+ See more'.
Past meetings and updates
Unpicking carbon – 23 February 2023
In the final winter meeting of the 2022/23 season, Megan Tresise (ADAS) joined Jonathan to look further into his carbon position. The group discussed emissions pathways, mitigation practices and carbon benchmarking. Also in attendance was Prof. Pippa Chapman who returned to talk further about the work at Leeds University on the sequestration abilities of hedgerows.
Alternative cropping – 12 January 2023
Willow and miscanthus have been in Jonathan’s rotation for 10 years. In the meeting the group explored whether these biomass crops are leading the way as a regenerative solution to cutting emissions and storing carbon.
Rob Meadley (Brown & Co) talked about how miscanthus works in marginal areas of his farm to boost biodiversity and deliver a good bottom line.
Liam McPartland (Harrison Spinks’ Farm Manager) explained why hemp is a sustainable and profitable crop of the future.
Reduced tillage and inputs – 1 December 2022
A packed agenda for the first winter meeting of the 2022/23 season:
- Jonathan reviewed his 2022 harvest and gave update regarding his reduced nitrogen and drill trials
- Martin Lines (Nature Friendly Farming Network) detailed his 5-year plan for moving away from high-input systems
- Peter Cartwright (Revesby Estate) talked about his experience transitioning to direct drilling
- Professor Pippa Chapman (Leeds University) gave insight into work taking place regarding regenerative farming practices at Leeds University
Grain marketing, cash flows and risk management – 9 October 2022
At the first meeting of the 22/23 winter season, Andrew Robinson (Armstrong Watson Ltd.) talked financial planning for challenges facing farmers in the near future. This was followed by Gary Phillips (ODA) who gave an overview of the many factors that influence grain markets.
Summer update – 22 July 2022
Jonathan updated us on what had been going on since the last meeting at the farm, covering topics such as grain marketing, grass weed control, on-farm trials, and his progress with the SFI pilot scheme. The group then visited three fields with independent soil and cultivation. Soil specialist Philip Wright (Wright Solutions) advised on the current soil health and structure at Ripon and highlighted what management decisions could be taken to make improvements.
- After two consecutive seasons Brome pressure remains high, in response to this 22 ha of Winter Barley has been taken out of the rotation and replaced with Spring Barley
- Pre-emergence spray on the Winter Barley wasn’t very effective, possibly due to it being too dry at the time of application
- Two small areas of blackgrass have been identified but Jonathan has taken to hand roughing the area to remain on top of it
- The rotation needs to be more flexible to possibly include more diverse cover crops and break crops to tackle soil health issues and to try to reduce grass weed pressure
- The agreement has gone live with the SFI arable soil pilot
On-farm trial updates
- Jonathan conducted a reduced nitrogen tramline trial
- Calculations highlighted a £90/ha savings at the reduced rate but the final impact on the margin will depend on final yield
- Jonathan also conducted a trial drilling KWS Parkin using three different drills, a Sumo DTS, a Horsch CO6, and a Horsch Avatar
- There was very little difference between the treatments, apart from ear emergence seemed to have occurred a week earlier with the CO6 and the DTS
Managing a farm business – 17 February 2022
A meeting comprised of varied topics relating to running a farm business saw Pete Berry (ADAS) talk about the impact of fertiliser prices on crop production and how to manage crops with large canopies. This was followed by Andy Langham (Safety Management Services EU) giving a presentation covering the key health and safety issues in the agricultural sector.
Labour and machinery review – 20 January 2022
During the winter season, a Labour & Machinery review was conducted at Lightwater.
The results were then discussed with Harry Henderson (AHDB Techinal Knowledge Exchange Manager), who compared the findings to other Monitor Farms in the programme.
Working with soil health to support compliance and regulations – 2 December 2021
Anne Bhogal (ADAS) 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 Jonathon's farm during the autumn.
Land drainage – 4 November 2021
Rob Burtonshaw visited lightwater farm to give an overview of the history and theory behind land drainage. Using one of Jonathan's fields as a case study, Rob and the group tried to find a suitable drainage solution.
You can download a copy of AHDB's field drainage guide, here.+