Developing arable businesses in the West

Richard Laverick

It was a long haul, but after processing 136 expressions of interest we have at last the first eight Monitor Farms for England and Wales.  I am delighted that Robert Fox, Farm Manager for T. I. Evans & Son, Squab Hall, near Leamington Spa and Mark Wood, Farm Manager for JPF Clay Farms, Fawley, near Hereford, have been selected for this region.  It was a very competitive process and both Mark and Robert delivered with enthusiasm and plenty of energy a clear vision of how they would like to see their business develop.  Their willingness to share information and to be open about success and failure impressed the selection panel, and will ensure a progressive programme of activity is adopted on both farms.  We are finalising the detail for their respective programmes, and once confirmed will announce the dates for the first open-farm meeting at each site.

Rob Fox Drilling Spring Beans Near Leamington

Rob Fox drilling spring beans near Leamington Spa.

Mark And His Dog Bovril (small)

Mark Wood with his dog Bovril.

The Monitor Farm programme in Scotland continues to be a huge success. Key to the impact they achieve is the engagement of fellow growers and neighbouring businesses, sharing opinions and challenging on-farm decision making.

I know that many of you in our region share this willingness to compare business performance and your different approaches to crop management and soil management issues. I look forward to your involvement with the programme, and the constructive challenge you will bring to the Monitor Farms.

The AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds business development activities are beginning to gather pace and it will be a pleasure to meet you at workshops, as members of Arable Business Groups and at the Monitor Farm events.

The next event in the West is Protecting your Profit on 8 April in Tewkesbury.  Send me an email or book online if you would like to attend.

I close by congratulating both Mark and Robert on becoming the arable first monitor farmers in the region, and I look forward to working with them over the next three years.



Richard Meredith grew up on a family farm in Herefordshire, and is based in Ledbury. He joined AHDB first as a Regional Benchmarking Officer, providing benchmarking support to AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds, Eblex and DairyCo levy payers. Prior to that, Richard worked for five years with a machinery ring co-ordinating contracting and hire services in the agricultural and related sectors. As AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Regional Manager, Richard is passionate about helping to strengthen UK farm businesses, making them more resilient in the long term.