Scotland’s strategic cereal farm

The first Strategic Cereal Farm in Scotland aims to bring research and practical farming together in a drive to demonstrate methods of making farming more economically and environmentally resilient.

The programme, developed by the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board – and which runs for six years - will be hosted by David Aglen who manages the commercial unit at Balbirnie Home Farms, Freuchie in Fife – and a webinar on 21st January will introduce the farm and its first year of activity.

“Our priority for the first year of the Strategic Farm programme is collecting baseline soil and crop performance data,” said Aglen.

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He said this would involve the use of a soil health scorecard to help understand the biological, chemical, and physical status of the soil.

Demonstrations at the 1,200 hectare, mixed farm - which comprises 800 hectares of arable crops and 200 suckler cows where a diverse rotation includes oats, spring barley, winter wheat, spring beans as well as potatoes, and brassica vegetables - will also focus on plant health, pests, pollinators, and natural enemies, and run a nutrition trial.

Chris Leslie, knowledge exchange manager AHDB, said:

“We are working with David to look at how to make improvements on his farm that can be shared with the wider farming industry not just in Scotland but across our Farm Excellence network. We want to push the boundaries and see how far we can take plant health and improve harvest efficiency at Balbirnie.”

The webinar from 9.30 – 11 am is free to attend, but those hoping to attend are asked to register on the AHDB’s website.