Saturday, October 20, 2018

Growers benefit from AHDB plan to launch six new Monitor Farms

December 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Crops

AHDB Cereals is set to launch six new Monitor Farms this spring as it prepares to ramp up its farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange network.

Monitor Farms bring together groups of farmers who want to improve their businesses by sharing performance information and best practice around a nationwide network of more than 30 host farms. Host farms hold meetings for local growers in their area.

The initiative is part of AHDB’s wider Farm Excellence Platform, which works with the industry to improve performance through knowledge exchange and benchmarking. AHDB organises and facilitates to meetings for farmers, who own and operate the scheme.

Each Monitor Farm project runs for three years, with between four and six meetings held a year. One of the particular high points for those in the Monitor Farm network – hosts and their steering groups – is the annual Monitor Farm conference, held in November.

Former monitor farmer Tom Bradshaw, who farms at Fordham, near Colchester, Essex, said: “One of the real highlights of the Monitor Farm programme for me is sharing information. Neighbours get together – they are not competitors any more but working together to solve challenges.”

AHDB currently runs 14 arable-focused Monitor Farm in England, and three in Scotland under a joint scheme with Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). Six more farms will be joining the programme this spring – including one in Northern Ireland.

Crucial time

Tim Isaac, AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds head of knowledge exchange, said: “As we build on the success of the programme by extending its coverage at this crucial time, we are keen to reach out to growers across all parts of the UK, now including Northern Ireland.”

As well as hosting meetings, further opportunities for Monitor Farm hosts include study tours to other parts of the country, visiting farms abroad and hosting world-class experts speaking at meetings on the farm.

Judith Stafford, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager: “Open-minded farmers looking to further their business are particularly well-suited to being a monitor farmer. We find that the more the host and the rest of the group are willing to put into the project, the more everybody benefits.

“The Monitor Farm and visiting farmers will also be able to learn from independent, non-commercial experts discussing subjects that are of local relevance and which have been identified as priorities.”

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