Strategic Farm’s ambitious goals

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AHDB’s new Strategic Farm host, farmer Rob Fox, has ambitious goals for the next six years.

He discussed his challenges and ideas at the launch of the new Strategic Farm project in Leamington Spa last month.

By the end of the six-year scheme he wants to get feed wheat cost of production regularly down below £100/t; reduce black-grass down to rogue-able levels; and make sure that Squab Hall Farm is profitable before any support payments.

Rob said: “As farmers we will have to adapt and change.”

Emily Smith, AHDB Knowledge Transfer Manager, added: “As a Strategic Farm, Rob is in an excellent position to learn from researchers and industry about how to make these changes effectively.”

Black-grass control and cost of production are intrinsically linked for Rob – he estimates he spends around £80/ha on controlling the weed in wheat.

Although Rob has these ambitious goals for his own farm business, the Strategic Farm programme works on three levels – issues affecting Rob’s farm, those affecting farms in and around Warwickshire and those affecting farms in the UK.

Emily said: “The network of 35 Strategic and Monitor Farm networks exists to help develop a more resilient industry. We’re trying to bridge the gap between research and practice.”

At the core of the programme, said Emily, are fully-costed demonstrations which can deliver practical messages and information of use to the whole industry.

During the next few months, Rob and his steering group will be setting out trials and themes for the coming six years and establishing baseline measurements across the farm.

For more information, visit cereals.ahdb.org.uk/strategicfarms

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