Big response to join new HGCA monitor farms

More than 130 English and Welsh arable growers have applied to be HGCA monitor farms to gain expert advice and host open days with the first eight winners set to be announced in early 2014.

The cereals and oilseeds group is looking to expand its monitor farm network in England and Wales and add to the six already operating in Scotland and Yorkshire.

The programme is aimed at making these appointed farms more profitable, and also to share best practices with local growers and further afield.

Richard Laverick, who lead this HGCA monitor farm programme, says interest has been phenomenal as he looks to build up the eventual network to 28 farms.

“I am confident that we will be able to announce the eight new HGCA monitor farms early in 2014, and we will also be able to pencil in some of the next wave of monitor farms, to start later in 2014-2015,” he adds.

There are four monitor farms in Scotland and two in Yorkshire, and the eventual aim is to create a network of 24 in England and Wales, making 28 overall across Britain.

Mr Laverick explains that the key to these farms is to be farmer-led, and deal with on-farm issues to drive better performance, profitability and long-term sustainability.

The HGCA stresses that although the number of monitor farms is limited, there are opportunities for growers to benefit from other initiatives such as joining arable business groups where they can share information to improve their businesses.

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