AHDB welcomes eight new Monitor Farms

Thursday, 6 June 2024

Following this year’s annual recruitment drive, we have eight new farms joining our Cereals & Oilseeds (C&O) Monitor Farm programme. Each will launch with an inaugural farm walk this summer.

About the Monitor Farm Programme

Our C&O Monitor Farms are a nationwide network of farmer-led, farmer-driven communities centred around real working farms.

The host farmers are committed to sharing information, ideas and best practices to improve both their own, and their peers’ businesses.

With the support of their regional AHDB knowledge exchange (KE) managers, monitor farmers host a series of open meetings to discuss current and locally relevant topics, often using their own businesses as case studies and inviting industry expertise along to support discussions.

Attendees can also claim BASIS and NRoSO points for attending Monitor Farm events.

Our C&O Head of Engagement Ana Reynolds said:

“We had a great response to the recruitment campaign. I am absolutely delighted to welcome the eight new Monitor Farms and wish them every success during their tenure.

"It takes a special mix of qualities to be a monitor farmer, including a willingness to scrutinise every aspect of your business and talk about it, and an appetite for trying innovative approaches.

"The new farmers all share these attributes, and we’re looking forward to working with them.”

The new Monitor Farms

The latest additions to the Monitor Farm network feature a diverse range of farmer and farming systems.

Pilton, Hereford and Camborne are mixed farms:

  • Hereford has a large beef operation
  • Pilton has cattle and 480,000 chickens
  • Camborne’s 14,000 laying hens are complemented by the arable side of the business

For the first time, we have an organic Monitor Farm – Kingsclere – where farmer Tim May has converted gradually from conventional farming.

Kent has its first Monitor Farm since 2018. At Altcar Moss, situated on peatland north of Liverpool, farmers Simon, Lisa and Cameron Edwards intend to look at alternative cropping that will suit their land, particularly given the recent wet weather.

Chris Greenaway, Farm Manager at Hereford Monitor Farm, is looking forward to the experience. He said:

“It’s a way of interrogating our approach and finding things we can improve which can only be a good thing.

"I took on a business that was financially sound but needed to make changes to make the most of where the future of farming is going.

"We now need to monitor and scrutinise the decisions we have made to ensure we are going in the right direction.”

Newbury, Wisbech, Chathill, Salisbury, Penrith, Ripon, Wainfleet and the earlier Hereford Monitor Farm are all due to finish this year.