Could you be the next HGCA arable monitor farmer?

Cereal and oilseed rape growers are being offered the chance to boost their businesses by becoming one of the HGCA’s new monitor farmers.

Working together with the HGCA, eight growers will be chosen this autumn and given the opportunity to gain expert advice and guidance as well as sharing knowledge by hosting open days and specialist talks.

Commercial farms will be chosen which are representative of enterprises and conditions in their local area and where the owner is prepared to allow other farmers access to the farm – and to the decision-making process.

The HGCA says its arable monitor farm project offers an opportunity for the arable farming community to get involved by contributing to decision-making, comparing costs and best practice, and implementing ideas explored as part of the programme.

After proving successful in Scotland, plans are now in place to unveil the concept across each region in England and Wales, recruiting 24 farmers by the end of 2015.

Richard Laverick, HGCA lead manager for the monitor farms, says the opportunity to make their business more profitable and share best practice with local growers and those further afield makes it a enticing prospect.

“The monitor farms have proved very popular with producers because they offer real time support, pragmatic decision-making and the chance to examine the impacts of those decisions down the line,”

For Yorkshire grower Robert Atkinson, one of the reasons he became one of two pilot HGCA monitor farmers was that the project is directed by farmers such as himself.

“I like the idea of peer-to-peer learning. When farmers get together you learn so much more than with classroom-style teaching,” he said.

“What we need as farmers is local knowledge about local conditions and local crops, and to benchmark so we can have a handle on how to improve our yields and make more money,” Mr Atkinson added.

Expressions of interest must be made by 29 November.

You can find out more on what becoming a monitor farmer involves by visiting the HGCA website www.hgca.com

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