First strategic cereal farm for Scotland announced

Monday, 23 March 2020

Scottish Arable Farm of the Year finalist, Balbirnie Home Farms at Freuchie in Fife, has been selected to be the first AHDB Strategic Cereal Farm for arable growers in Scotland

Chris Leslie, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager (Arable) in Scotland, said: “We are delighted that David Aglen, Farm Manager at Balbirnie Home Farms, has been appointed as the first host farmer for our Strategic Cereals Farm project in Scotland. We are looking forward to working with him over the next six years to improve the arable productivity of his farm through the formal testing and demonstration of innovative practices on a field or farm scale.  Key areas of focus include regenerative agricultural practices, plant and soil health and carbon offsetting on the 1,300 hectare mixed farming operation.”

A number of different organisations, drawn from across the Scottish Agricultural industry, have come together to form a steering group that will work with Balbirnie Home farms and AHDB to oversee the demonstrations on farm and drive the strategic farm towards achieving the objectives agreed at the start of the project. These include: Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Land and Estates, NFU Scotland, Scottish Agronomy, LEAF, the James Hutton Institute and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Five local farmers are also members of the steering group.

Balbirnie Home Farms is a mixed farming and sporting estate owned by Johnnie Balfour. He said: “We have identified a list of key themes that we want to explore which will be revealed at the launch event in the summer.  Trials will then be planned on the back of the discussions and ideas generated at the launch by the attendees. We are delighted to be working with AHDB and everyone involved with the Strategic Cereal Farm project. Our goal is to improve both our economic and environmental resilience. Drawing on the expertise offered by the steering group will prove invaluable in realising our ambitions.”

AHDB’s Strategic Farms promote the uptake of knowledge and provide a platform for farmers to explore new ideas that can have an impact on their business. They are part of AHDB’s wider Farm Excellence Platform, which inspires the farming industry to improve performance and succeed through knowledge exchange. AHDB currently works with a Strategic Dairy Farm, Hill of Covington in Lanarkshire and a Strategic Potato Farm, Milton of Mathers in Angus.

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