Could you host the next AHDB Strategic Arable Farms?

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Would you like to be at the cutting edge of arable innovation?

If so, we are looking for two forward-thinking commercial arable farmers in England:

  • One from East Anglia or the East Midlands who wants to focus on potatoes
  • One from the South-East or South-West who wants to focus on cereals and oilseeds

Following the success of the seven current Strategic Arable Farms, we now need two new hosts to help us build on the momentum and further develop the programme across the country.

Strategic Farms put research into practice - they focus on improving productivity through the testing and demonstrating of innovative practices in a commercial setting. In doing so, they provide a highly effective vehicle for driving the industry forward.

What you need to be a Strategic Farm host

  • A positive outlook to improving your business
  • A willingness to invite industry experts on to your farm and host demonstrations
  • An openness to exchange ideas and share your experiences with other growers at on-farm meetings and events

Host's viewpoint - Andrew Francis

“Our decision to host a Strategic Farm was born out of a quest for knowledge. We have several challenges in our business that are the same for others in the area who also have light soils.

Having a Strategic Farm here allows us to look at best practice and innovation.”

Andrew Francis, Farm Director at Elveden Farms Ltd.

Driving change in your region

As a Strategic Farm host you will be part of AHDB's national Farm Excellence platform.

The aims of this initiative are to get farmers working together and discussing how to make positive and practical changes to improve productivity. Adding local knowledge and experience to the latest research increases the speed at which new innovations are adopted in a given area.

The host will be a key part of this exciting process, so we are looking for open minded, forward-thinking growers who enjoy working with others.

Another key element of the programme is benchmarking. In order to identify cost effective improvements, it’s essential to measure both agronomic and economic performance. We do this by using AHDB's Farmbench tool to help growers compare the results of different approaches, so the hosts also need to be willing to include their data in this process. 

What is a Strategic Arable Farm?

Strategic Arable Farms provide growers with a platform to explore the potential for new research and technology alongside experts and researchers, giving them the confidence to implement new ideas on their own farms.

The Strategic Farm network provides a vehicle for the on-farm application of the science from our extensive R&D programme in a commercial environment. 

How does the Strategic Farm programme work?

AHDB provide the funding and help to identify relevant research and demonstrations. We also facilitate the on-farm activities and events, as well as handling all communications and promotion.

What we ask from our hosts is:

  • Areas in your fields to run demonstrations, which could be plots, tramlines or field scale
  • An open-minded attitude from you and your team
  • The willingness to act as a figurehead for press communications and events based on your farm
  • An enthusiasm to discuss what is happening at your business with other local growers and agronomists

Hosts are supported throughout their six-year project by a steering group which includes AHDB and others that the hosts feel can make a valuable contribution.

To apply to be the next host, contact by 11 January.

Host’s viewpoint – Brian Barker

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for my farming career – it’s extra work, but the knowledge I’ll gain about my farm will reap rewards in the long term.”

Brian Barker, Partner in EJ Barker & Sons.