Eight arable growers are becoming new HGCA monitor farms, including one highlighted in a BBC Harvest programme and another conducting her own in-house trials.
The farms range from Yorkshire to Devon, including one farmed by the same family since 1300 and another who wants to emulate New Zealand benchmarking.
The eight were picked from 136 entries, with the HGCA’s aim being to make them more profitable and also for them to share best practice with local growers.
“All are very excited about joining and are keen to tap into HGCA research and share their experience with other farmers,” says Richard Laverick, HGCA’s head of regional development.
Two farms were picked from each of the HGCA’s four regions – north, east, south and west – with a further eight set to be picked by March 2015 and then a final eight to make 24 in England and Wales by March 2016. The eight are:
- Phil Meadley, who farms 250ha near Driffield, Yorkshire, and is interested in soil health, reducing fuel usage and addressing mycotoxins.
- Mike Daniells is a farm manager of 2,000ha at Swaby near Louth, Lincolnshire, and is finding blackgrass more difficult to control as he moves to a no-till system.
- Jo Franklin is a partner in her 930ha family farm, just west of Royston, Hertfordshire. She provides agronomy advice for neighbours and carries out her own trials.
- Tom Bradshaw is a partner in his 1,485ha family farm to the east of Colchester, Essex. He appeared in the BBC Harvest programme in 2013.
- Julian Gold manages a 800ha farm at East Hendred, near Wantage, Oxfordshire. The farm has been in the Eyston family since 1300.
- James Lee is part of a family partnership farming 260ha near Crediton, Devon, and wants to emulate benchmarking and peer review seen in New Zealand.
- Robert Fox is a farm manager of 400ha just outside Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, and is interested in improving his soil quality and introducing controlled-traffic farming.
- Mark Wood is farm manager of 1,000ha between Hereford and Ross-on-Wye, and is look to achieve consistent yields under variable conditions.