Cornish farmer Ashley Jones is one of the latest to join the Monitor Farm programme

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Ashley Jones said: “I wanted to become a Monitor Farm host because I’ve found the experience at other Monitor Farms very enjoyable. I’ve learnt something new every meeting and I like to be able to get into discussions with other people in the trade and fellow farmers.

“I also feel that every day is a school day and there is always something to learn, so what’s better than getting involved and having a group of farmers on my farm suggesting ideas and sharing their experiences.”

He said: “I’m always looking to experiment, to learn something new and to better our farm.”

Farm facts:

Farm: 190 ha, 97 ha arable – family farm

Soil: light soil on shillet and heavy clay

Arable rotation: winter wheat, winter oats, winter barley, spring barley, maize

Machinery and cultivations: All owned and operations done in house. 75% ploughed and 25% min tilled all followed with a power harrow disc drill combination

Marketing and Storage: All grains stored until sold.

Livestock: 200 head of beef (including 50 suckler cows), 200 ewes (North Country and Suffolk mules); all lamb and beef finished.

Diversification: Christmas trees, maize maze

A vital part of the Monitor Farm programme is the benchmarking, where a small group of farmers get together to compare, confidentially, their operating costs and learn where their own strengths and weaknesses are.

Ashley said: “We have been doing benchmarking for four years now and we get on well with it. I find it a handy tool to know and compare our costs.”

After the three years of the Monitor Farm, Ashley hopes to have learned from other farmers and people in the trade, as well as have carried out some farm-scale crop trials.

“Get involved with Monitor Farms! The meetings are always very well planned with excellent speakers and great discussions as a group at the end of meetings.”

The first meeting at Saltash Monitor Farm will be held on 10 June 2019. For more information contact philip.dolbear@ahdb.org.uk

 

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