Finding answers to a successful farming future

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Collecting and sharing data, making farm businesses stack up financially and environmentally – and making the most of novel markets will be important skills for current and future farmers.

Facing rapidly changing times can be difficult but the Cereals New Era Theatre seminars, sponsored by Farmers Weekly, cover new industry-wide initiatives to support farmers in transitioning their businesses to a sustainable future.

Profitable arable farming in uncertain times is the subject of a session chaired by Johann Tasker of Farmers Weekly. “It will look at how growers can ensure their business is on a sure footing at a time of rapidly rising costs and volatile commodity prices,” he says.

“It is about replacing lost farm income from BPS. We will look at increasing business resilience and securing a more sustainable future for farms, financially and environmentally. We will have speakers from across the combinable crops sector including farm business consultants and agronomists.”

Biodiversity payments

Unprecedented levels of political, economic and legislative change for farmers have led to the development of Environment Bank’s Habitat Banks.

In a session on biodiversity net gain, Environment Bank chairman, Professor David Hill, CBE, will explain the concept of Habitat Banking and how landowners can secure long-term income through the delivery and management of diverse habitats on their land.

“There are a lot of misconceptions concerning biodiversity net gain. We are not looking for prime arable land which we need to feed the country. We are looking at more unproductive land – Grade 3 or 4 where there is a greater chance of biodiversity generating a better income for the landowner,” he says.

With different schemes around, Prof Hill will discuss the benefits of Habitat Banks in terms of providing a secure income for 30 years, ability to generate income immediately and removing risk for landowners.

“We will explain how we differ from a traditional brokerage model and outline the process for landowners,” he says. “This includes site assessments and land management agreements, guaranteed payments, expert support through our ecologists, and ownership retention.”

Driving efficiencies

Will Oliver, National Arable and Grassland Awards’ Cereal Grower of the Year 2022, will explain how he is driving efficiencies on-farm in a session chaired by Yagro’s co-founder Dan Jolly.

Rather than gut feel, he measures metrics like nitrogen use efficiency and how this varies between fields. He also applies nitrogen at variable rates and looks at differences between digestate, chicken manure and artificial N and their impact on input costs.

“What is measured can be managed,” says Mr Oliver, who is questioning each decision made on-farm in 2022 and 2023, exploring field, variety and crop performance and understanding how attitude to risk and rates applied can have an impact.

For more information on the New Era Theatre seminars visit: https://www.cerealsevent.co.uk/the-show/knowledge-exchange-rgha/new-era-markets-diversification-and-innovation-theatre

  • The Cereals Event will be held near Duxford, Cambridgeshire on 8-9 June 2022. For more information or to purchase tickets visit www.cerealsevent.co.uk.