Strategic Cereal Farm East

David Jones
Farm sectors:
Cereals & Oilseeds
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About Strategic Cereal Farm East

  • David Jones is hosting the Strategic Cereal Farm East from 2023–2029
  • Morley Farms Ltd is a 750ha farming enterprise, 700ha of which is cropped
  • Generally Grade 2 or Grade 3 soils, ranging from light sandy loam to medium sandy clay loams
  • Current rotation: wheat, malting barley, oilseed rape, sugar beet and dried peas
  • Trials have been hosted at Morley Farms for various organisations since 1965
  • The farm was accepted into the SFI pilot and has previously had land in CSS/ELMS

Morley Farms Ltd is a commercial farming enterprise which farms the land owned by The Morley Agricultural Foundation (TMAF). The charity invests generously in agricultural research, student studies, professional development of farmers and educational initiatives for school-age children, as well as hosting plot and field-scale trials for multiple research organisations. As a result, farm manager David Jones has become familiar with on-farm innovation.

David sees the Strategic Cereal Farm programme as an opportunity to further his experience with trials and bridge the gap between research and commercial farming. Areas of interest for the six-year programme include reducing reliance on plant protection products, with a broader goal of continuing to farm conventionally in a way that delivers on yields but is also more sympathetic towards the environment.

Research plans unveiled

In September 2023, activity at the new Strategic Cereal Farm started. One of the first tasks was to identify the farm’s aims and the work needed (especially in the first year).

Rye-grass is particularly problematic in some fields, so he wants to prevent and reduce its spread (and not make other weed problems worse).

Some fields are associated with high BYDV risks and several approaches, including varietal resistance and decision support tools, will be investigated to lower crop risks.

Finally, TMAF funds a network monitoring sites (each 150 m2) across the farm that captures an array of soil and agronomic data. The data will be used to improve nutrient use efficiency in winter wheat. Tests of controlled release nitrogen fertiliser are also in the pipeline.

Learn more about the plans for the 2023/24 trials