On-farm trials at Strategic Cereal Farm West (2018–2021)


Host Farmer: Rob Fox

Location: Squab Hall Farm, Warwickshire

Duration: 2018–2021

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.

Strategic Cereal Farm West ran for three years (2018–2021), following on from three years (2014–2017) as a Monitor Farm. The arable farm tested approaches to reduce the environmental impact of farming, while maintaining productivity. The rotation includes winter wheat, winter barley, winter oilseed rape, spring beans and spring barley.

The farm hosted four main trials:

  1. How stubble management affects black-grass

This trial tested the effectiveness of stubble management cultivation strategies on black-grass control in winter wheat. It compared the farm standard approach with two other cultivation approaches – which, unlike the farm standard, did not include the use of glyphosate.

  1. How cultivation depth affects crop rooting

Low rainfall can constrain cereal yields, especially at critical growth stages. Climate change is likely to make this more problematic. This trial examined how cultivation system depth affects soil health, crop rooting, yields and cost of production.

  1. How flowering strips and grass margins affect pest populations

This trial examined whether field margins and flower strips encourage populations of beneficial organisms that contribute to pest control. The approach tested flower strips in the field and at the edges of fields. It also assessed the impact of grass margins.

  1. How to reduce fungicide inputs

The loss of chemistry, fungicide resistance and input costs mean it is important to identify better ways to manage cereal diseases. This trial tested the cost-benefit of fungicide input programmes, building upon AHDB fungicide performance data and disease resistance data in the Recommended Lists (RL).

For further information about Strategic Cereal Farms, visit ahdb.org.uk/strategic-cereal-farms

Cereals & Oilseeds
Project code:
01 September 2018 - 31 August 2021


PR647 final project report