How resilient is your rotation?

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AHDB has issued a new publication to help farmers take stock of one of the farm’s most valuable assets – the rotation.

It was published in advance of an AHDB-hosted debate at Cereals 2018, which will see monitor farmers and others discuss whether UK rotations are fit for the future.

The activity forms part of AHDB’s strategic efforts to help farmers identify opportunities to make their rotations more resilient.

Vikki Campbell, AHDB Market Specialist Arable Manager, said: “With the future of domestic agricultural policy up for debate, increasing agronomic challenges and Brexit around the corner, we want to help farmers get the most out of their rotations.”

The ‘How resilient is your rotation?’ publication outlines a simple approach that can be used to identify the current strength of a rotation, as well as what limits its potential. It can also be used to list the factors that could put rotations at risk, as well as the opportunities available to improve them.

Vikki said: “Designing the perfect rotation for every situation is never going to be easy. Our publication, however, will help planning to be structured, and identify the various issues at play to inform the overall rotational strategy.

“There are so many positives about the UK rotation. For example, there is a strong diversity of cropping options to widen rotations and there is relatively good awareness of local markets.

“But in an era of low-crop profitability, it is important to do more. Ways to keep production costs down are particularly important. It’s also essential to take a longer-term view on rotational options, to avoid the penalties often associated with a short-term ‘market-chasing’ approach.”

The publication lists key national factors, such as those influenced by post-Brexit domestic agricultural policy, and regional factors, such as market opportunities and local pest disease and weed pressures.

This year, the Monitor Farm debate at Cereals 2018 will see monitor farmers and other members of the industry air their thoughts on how to increase the resilience of UK arable businesses through the design of rotations.

The debate will take place on both event days (13 and 14 June) at 11:30 on the AHDB stand (no. 467). A hog roast will be served after the debate.

Last month, AHDB also issued a guide to highlight the numerous opportunities for collaboration between arable and livestock enterprises.

The ‘Livestock and the arable rotation’ guide and ‘How resilient is your rotation?’ publication can be downloaded from the dedicated web page: cereals.ahdb.org.uk/rotations

Picture caption:

Monitor Farm debate panellists

Wednesday 13 June: Mark Bowsher-Gibbs, Christy Willett and Liz Genever (top row, left to right)

Thursday 14 June: Adam Quinney, Hew Willett and Julian Gold (bottom row, left to right)

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