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
  • The farm has a collaborative approach that unites research and practice to increase economic and environmental resilience
  • It aims to use intelligence and data from industry to ground-truth novel management decisions
  • Key areas of focus include regenerative agricultural practices, plant and soil health, and reduced inputs
  • The vision of the farm is to be inclusive, independent, and open in testing research outputs in a diverse business setting
  • Ultimately, the farm aims to give other farmers confidence to make changes in their own businesses
AHDB Strategic Cereal Farms put cutting-edge research and innovation into practice on commercial farms around the UK. Each farm hosts field-scale and farm-scale demonstrations, with experiences shared via on-farm and online events to the wider farming community.

Video insight

This video provides an overview of Balbirnie Home Farms at the start of its Strategic Cereal Farm journey in 2020.

Watch David Aglen give an overview of the Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland trials in 2023.

See AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Sector Council Member Dave Bell outline some of the benefits of the Strategic Cereal Farm programme (2023).

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

Current trials

Cover crops ahead of direct drilled spring barley

Work packages 1 and 2

This work aims to quantify the benefits of establishing a cover crop prior to direct drilling spring barley, and to see whether benefits translate into opportunities to reduce inputs in the cash crop.

Optimising crop nutrition

Work packages 3 and 4

This work aims to determine whether amending crop nutrition in response to live crop monitoring, including growth and development and tissue testing, will have an economic benefit on crop health, yield and grain quality. The work will also indicate how changes in nitrogen management impact on resource use efficiency of the crop.

Learn about the on-farm trials at Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland

Strategic Cereal Farm results month

Every November, we run weekly webinars to showcase the latest results from across our Strategic Farm Network.

Find out about Strategic Cereal Farm results month

Putting a scientific spin on regenerative farming (article)

Follow Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland on X (Twitter) by searching for #strategicfarm and @DavidAglen

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Farm Video