AHDB has revealed plans to roll out a series of Strategic Farms for arable farmers as part of its Farm Excellence Platform.
Former Stowmarket monitor farmer Brian Barker has been selected as the first strategic arable farmer, with two further commercial farms being added in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Each Strategic Farm will run for six years to allow independent research to be conducted across a full rotation. Approaches showcased at the farms will be subject to full cost-benefit analyses to help farmers assess the potential for adoption on their own farms.
Strategic Farms, therefore, harness the proven benefits of ‘farmer-to-farmer’ learning to accelerate the uptake of knowledge and innovation to make the industry more competitive in the global marketplace.
Tim Isaac, AHDB Head of Knowledge Exchange (Cereals & Oilseeds), said: “We’re setting up these farms to make the connection between research and farming stronger.
“Monitor Farms play an important part but tend to look at issues on that specific farm. Strategic Farms, however, focus on the broader strategic needs of the industry and use trials-based approaches and sound economic data to fulfil those needs.”
Selected research findings and technical developments from AHDB and non-AHDB activity will be identified, tested and demonstrated at the Strategic Farms. Short- and long-term field and farm-scale trials will be exploited to generate evidence-based results.
Tim said: “To make strategic farms a success, we need to recruit the best. This means identifying highly respected individuals with excellent communication and presentation skills, who have experience of, and are willing to host, independent trials and demonstrations.
“Recruiting ex-monitor farmers helps us tap into well-established profiles and realise the full legacy value of the Monitor Farms.
“Eight out of 15 monitor farmers expressed an interest in becoming our first strategic farmer, showing how much they value being part of a network that creates and shares practical business data.”
Further information on the initiative will be published at cereals.ahdb.org.uk/strategicfarms