AHDB Beef & Lamb has announced a countrywide network of Strategic Farms, which have been selected to drive improvements and increase productivity across a variety of farming systems.
Working closely with AHDB and industry experts, the 13 Strategic Farms will track improvements in areas including health, nutrition and genetics, with the overall objective of increasing the number of stock meeting target specification.
For a minimum of two years, the farms will take part in activities and trials to produce clear advances in on-farm productivity, using new techniques and monitoring performance.
Clive Brown, AHDB Beef & Lamb head of Knowledge Exchange, said: “After receiving a high number of applications, we’ve managed to narrow it down to 13 farms across England, from Cumbria to Cornwall. We’ve made sure there are a mix of farm types and systems, including sucklers, sheep, store producers, upland farms and three beef finishers. Together the participants are a typical representation of beef and sheep farms across the country.”
“Consultants have now visited all of the farms and are in the process of working with AHDB’s benchmarking tool, Farmbench, to set relevant targets for each of the producers to work to. We’ll then be looking to implement new practices and for each of the Strategic Farms to share their learnings at on-farm events to help us reach as many farmers as possible.”
The Strategic Farms will also look to accelerate innovation, trialling new technologies to aid performance monitoring, gathering data and using digital tools to aid decision-making and discuss production costs.
Commenting on the launch, Joe Howard, Strategic Farmer from Nottinghamshire said: “Being a mixed farm, we’ve only recently put grass back into the rotation for the benefit of the soil, which has led to us being able to introduce a beef enterprise. I’m now looking to develop that and make sure it’s a major contributor to the farm margins.
“Being part of this initiative will allow me to be critiqued both by professionals and peers, to really push what we’re doing and produce a product that is not only sellable but what the market place really wants.”
The farms are part of AHDB’s wider Farm Excellence Platform, which inspires industry to improve performance and succeed through knowledge exchange.
Regular Strategic Farm events will offer producers a platform to share their progress and learnings through farmer-to-farmer knowledge exchange. Over the coming months, updates will be regularly posted on AHDB Beef & Lamb’s website, as well as social media channels.
To find out more information about the Strategic Farms visit http://bit.ly/2xAEGJt