What’s on in the west, summer 2018?

The dust has barely settled after a whirlwind winter season in the West and Wales and we are already progressing on to the summer meeting programme! June and July are traditionally the busiest months in the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds year, and June 2018 is no exception. For this reason I thought that I would briefly summarise our activity in the region over the coming weeks…

The season starts off with an afternoon focussing on crop establishment hosted by Jack Hopkins of Lower Hope Farms on 30 May. Independent soils specialists Philip Wright and Kate Speke-Adams will be leading this farm tour where discussions will be based around the practical principles of cultivation choice and soil management.

On 5 June the Bridgnorth Monitor Farm will hold their annual summer meeting. This is an opportunity to review the meetings and projects that have been demonstrated over the past year at the Bridgnorth Monitor Farm, including the triticale, YEN and cover crop demonstrations. We will also be joined by soils specialist Liz Stockdale (NIAB) who will lead an in-field session focusing on how farmers can review soil indicators and their potential for exploitation on-farm.

Moving over to Warwickshire, on the 6 June we’ll be launching the new Strategic Farm West with our latest host Rob Fox of Squab Hall Farm. Those of you who are local to Rob will know that he is the now retired Leamington Spa Monitor Farmer. We had a fantastic run with this Monitor Farm, I’m extremely pleased that Rob was chosen to take on this esteemed role. The Strategic Farm will test findings from research by putting them into practice on a field scale. Come along to this launch meeting to give your input into the direction of this 6 year project.

At the 2018 Cereals Event we welcome you all to the AHDB Stand for the Monitor Farm Debate. The panel of Monitor Farmers and others will explain their ideas on how arable farmers can improve their business resilience through the design of their rotation. This topic usually creates a very broad ranging discussion where many issues can trigger the need for change. The debate will be held both days at 11:30am on stand on 467 with a hog roast served afterwards.

I am particularly excited about the ADAS Rosemaund Open Day with AHDB Arable Connections on 19 June at Bromtrees Hall, Herefordshire. This event provides an opportunity to meet the experts and find out about the latest agricultural research through plot demonstrations and seminars, on a range of topics including:

  • Full AHDB Wheat Recommended List
  • Disease control in cereals
  • Disease control in oilseed rape
  • Improving soil health in the West
  • Benefits of Cover Crops
  • Controlling pests
  • Effect of variety and fungicide input on early sown crops
  • Effect of seed rate and sowing date on tillering potential
  • The Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) – Research to improve yields

In November 2017 a group of West & Wales region farmers ventured over the English Channel to visit a range of farming businesses in Northern France. A group from our host region are reciprocating this visit by spending 21 and 22 June in Herefordshire. They will be visiting a range of farming businesses in this diverse county. On the evening of 21 June we will be hosting an evening for both the local and French farmers. This should be an excellently thought provoking evening. Each nation will be discussing their first impressions of the other’s farming industry. This will hopefully be complimented by a comparison of each countries cost of production – international benchmarking in its rawest form!

The newest member of the West & Wales Monitor Farmer family is Tom Rees of the new Pembrokeshire Monitor Farm. We’ll be launching this new Monitor Farm on the evening of 27 June. I really enjoy the launch meetings, they are full of enthusiasm. As a Monitor Farmer Tom hopes to scrutinise the effectiveness of his rotation, his cultivation/soil management strategy and whether precision farming technology has the ability to pay for his business.

Last but not least will be the Hereford Monitor Farm meeting on 10 July. Taking a step away from the typical summer meeting format, we will be meeting local processor, Avara (Cargill) with the aim to encourage open dialogue and better understanding between local growers and largest grain processor in the area. Martin, Russell & their Steering Group have been working hard to make this meeting possible, we are all excited about what it will be able to offer local growers.

Well, that’s it in a nutshell! All are welcome to any of the above events. This blog is just the barebones of information for each, do not hesitate to contact me for a chat about anything mentioned. My contact details are 07717493015 and Richard.meredith@ahdb.org.uk

I look forward to seeing you all this June.



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.

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