AHDB’s Farm Excellence programme is strengthening its links with North Yorkshire through the launch of its Ripon Monitor Farm.
The new Monitor Farm, which will be hosted by Jonathan Fryatt, Farm Manager at Lightwater Farms, is based just outside the North Yorkshire cathedral city and covers 760 hectares, 400 hectares of which are combinable crops. The rest of the estate is made up of miscanthus, willow, woodland, grassland for grazing, quarry sites and a theme park, with cropping currently including winter barley, spring beans, feed wheat, winter naked oats, oilseed rape and cover crops.
During the three-year programme, Jonathan is keen to learn more about agricultural conservation in light of the loss of BPS and the introduction of ELMS. Improving both drainage and soil health across the estate are key to this, with the use of soil cover, better organic matter, direct drilling to minimise soil disturbance and more focused woodland management all avenues to be explored going forward.
However, environmental challenges form just one part of Jonathan’s plan for his time as a Monitor Farm host. He is also looking to find out more about the personal development of the farm’s employees, how benchmarking can benefit the farm and the use of integrated pest management.
Speaking about the launch, Jonathan said: “I am really looking forward to joining the Farm Excellence programme as host of Ripon Monitor Farm. During this period, we will see trade and policy negotiations taking place and should get a better idea of what the future landscape will look like.
“It’s really important to make the farm more resilient in order to navigate the challenges that lie ahead for British agriculture. Being involved with the Monitor Farm programme is a great opportunity to do this by bringing local farmers together to share information and expertise to strengthen the business for the future.”
Rose Riby, AHDB Knowledge Exchange Manager for the North East, said: “The Ripon Monitor Farm will provide a unique opportunity for farmers to access independent expertise on both a business and agronomic level. They will also be able to discuss potential solutions to shared challenges with a like-minded network of people, to help them prepare for a sustainable, post-Brexit future.”
Part of AHDB’s Farm Excellence programme, Monitor Farms bring together groups of farmers interested in improving their businesses by sharing best practice around a nationwide network of host farms. Ripon Monitor Farm joins Huggate Monitor Farm and Chathill Monitor Farm as the latest addition to the Farm Excellence network in the North East.
For more information about Ripon Monitor Farm or the Farm Excellence network in the North East, please contact Rose Riby on 07741892283 or via [email protected].