Cheviot mule, ewe with lamb, with Domestic Cattle, Luing cows and calves, standing in pasture© FLPA / John Eveson/REX/Shutterstock

AHDB Beef & Lamb have announced their national Strategic Farms initiative, which will work with 13 different farming systems to make improvements to increase on-farm productivity.

The farms will take part in the project for two years, monitoring and recording performance and tracking improvements in areas such as health, nutrition and genetics.

Working alongside a consultant, the farmers will take part in activities and trials to accelerate productivity and innovation. New technologies will be trialled to help gather data and aid decision-making.

The project is part of AHDB’s Farm Excellence Platform with the aim to improve whole industry performance through knowledge exchange.

Selection of participants

“We’ve made sure there are a mix of farm types and systems, including sucklers, sheep, store producers, upland farms and three beef finishers. Together the participants are a typical representation of beef and sheep farms across the country,” said Clive Brown, AHDB Beef & Lamb head of knowledge exchange.

“Consultants have now visited all the farms and are in the process of working with AHDB’s benchmarking tool, Farmbench, to set relevant targets for each of the producers to work to.

“We’ll then be looking to implement new practices and for each of the farms to share their learnings at on-farm events to help us reach as many farmers as possible.”

The farmer view

Joe Howard is one of the farmers participating in the scheme. He stocks 330 Angus suckler cattle and finishes all his own progeny from forage as well as finishing 200 Angus-cross dairy stores a year in Nottinghamshire.

“Being a mixed farm, we’ve only recently put grass back into the rotation for the benefit of the soil, which has led to us being able to introduce a beef enterprise. I’m now looking to develop that and make sure it’s a major contributor to the farm margin,” he says.

“Being part of this initiative will allow me to be critiqued both by professionals and peers, to really push what we’re doing and produce a product that is not only sellable, but what the marketplace really wants.”

You can find out more about individual farms selected on the AHDB Beef & Lamb site.