Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland

David Aglen
Farm sectors:
Cereals & Oilseeds
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About Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland

  • David Aglen, Farm Manager at Balbirnie Home Farms, has hosted Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland since September 2020
  • 1,200 hectare mixed farm with 800 hectares of arable crops and 200 suckler cows
  • Diverse rotation includes oats, spring barley, winter wheat, spring beans, potatoes and brassica vegetables
  • Key areas of focus include regenerative agricultural practices, plant and soil health and reduced inputs

Follow Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland with David Aglen, if you are interested in:

  • Reducing inputs on-farm – regenerative agriculture guides David’s management decisions and will continue to inform the direction of the Strategic Cereal Farm
  • Using soil and plant health metrics to direct the need for inputs
  • Monitoring and improving the recovery of land with each move through the diverse rotation, including field vegetables, potatoes and cattle.

Follow the Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland on Twitter by searching for #strategicfarm and @DavidAglen

Mission and vision

Our Strategic Cereal Farm in Scotland provides the opportunity to bring research and practical farming together, to work towards farming with both economic and environmental resilience.

Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland's collaborative approach draws on intelligence from industry to ground-truth novel management decisions. By using data to support decisions, the focus will be to determine viable options for a profitable business and help give farmers confidence in making changes.

The vision of the Strategic Cereal Farm is to be inclusive, independent, and open in testing research outputs in a diverse business setting and help give other farmers confidence in making changes in their own businesses. 

An introduction to Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland

Watch more videos from Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland (YouTube playlist)

On-going trials

Find out about Strategic Cereal Farm results month

Full results can be found in the following reports or alternatively, you can view each project separately using the links under each project heading:

Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland: Harvest 2022 report

Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland: Harvest 2021 report

Putting a scientific spin on regenerative farming

Assessing the impact of cover crops ahead of spring barley

This trial will employ a wide range of assessments to investigate the impact of cover cropping on soils, biodiversity and the following spring barley crop. Read more about the trial:

Optimising direct drilled spring barley establishment

Through monitoring soil conditions at time of drilling, this trial aims to determine the best conditions for direct-drilled spring germination to improve establishment reliability. Find out more about the trial:

Optimising nitrogen application

By incorporating foliar applications into fertiliser programmes, Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland investigates the most efficient application of nitrogen to maximise uptake and minimise loss to the environment. Read more about the trial:

Adjusting nutrition programme in response to live crop monitoring

By carrying out plant assessments multiple times throughout the season, this trial seeks to validate a more tailored approach to crop nutrition. Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland will be adjusting inputs in response to crop’s nutritional requirements. Read more about the trial:

Harvest 2021: Baselining 

Assessing plant health: wheat, oats and barley

Reducing reliance on artificial inputs, like fungicides, is one of the aims for Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland. To measure the success of future trials,  the baseline plant health of the spring barley, winter wheat and spring oats were monitored. Find out more about the cereal crop health assessments

Assessing populations of pests, pollinators and beneficials in cereals 

Baseline assessments were carried out to measure and monitor the number of speciies of pollinators, pests and their natural enemies on farm.  Read more about the assessment of pests, pollinators and beneficials on farm.

Assessing soil health in arable fields

In order to measure improvements in soil health during the 6-year Strategic Cereal Farm project, baseline measurements were taken using the soil health scorecard. Read more about the findings from the soil biology, physics and chemistry assessments

Contact us 

Please get in touch if you would like more information about the Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland. 

For information on the research, trials, demonstrations, and findings: 

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