Monday, 12 June 2023
AHDB is holding an open day to find out what’s been happening at Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland over the last year. Join us on Tuesday 20 June at 1pm for a tour of the trial sites at Balbirnie Home Farms, Pitillock Farm, Cupar, Fife, KY15 7JQ, host of Strategic Cereal Farm Scotland.
Now in the third year of its six-year research programme host farmer David Aglen is keen to welcome people back to the farm following last year’s successful open day.
The afternoon kicks off with an introduction to AHDB’s Strategic Farm network from Adrian James, AHDB’s Knowledge Exchange Manager for Cereals in Scotland. He said:
“Our Strategic Cereal Farms put cutting-edge research and innovation into practice on commercial farms around the UK.
"The open day at Balbirnie Farms gives us the opportunity to provide an overview of the trials being carried out in Scotland alongside AHDB’s strategic cereal farms, in the east, west and south of England and I hope many of our cereals and oilseeds levy payers in Scotland will be able to attend.”
Host farmer, David Aglen, will provide an overview of Balbirnie Home Farms’ cropping, soil type, constraints and goals and explain its role in conducting a series of trials carried out under Scottish growing conditions which will help develop a strategy towards environmental and economic resilience. It is hoped that sharing the farm's findings will give other farmers the confidence to make decisions by using similar approaches, and data to determine viable options and inform their decisions.
Fiona Burnett, Arable Knowledge Lead at SRUC, has been working closely with David and AHDB on the trials programme and will discuss the trials that are taking place this year. She explains:
“As ever the effect of weather and season are strong and there are some really visible differences in the trials. The open day is a great chance to see how cover crops, drilling dates and agronomic inputs have affected the crops at Balbirnie.”
Dr Ali Karley from The James Hutton Institute will give a presentation on agroecology titled ‘Mixed species cropping’, extolling the virtues of climate friendly farming. Attendees will then be invited to take part in a farm walk with breakout sessions looking at soil health with Ken Loades, from SEFARI, biodiversity with Lorna Cole from SAC and crop nutrition and rooting with Fiona Burnett and Steve Hoad from SRUC. Jenna Watts from AHDB will be on hand to give an update on the review of AHDB’s Recommended Lists and the progress being made.
The open day concludes with a session with the presenters from each breakout session with a discussion on the future of farming, the environment and how to produce food more sustainably. This will be followed by a barbecue and the opportunity catch up with everyone attending.