ARABLE FARM of the Year finalist, Balbirnie Home Farms at Freuchie in Fife, has been selected to be the first AHDB Strategic Cereal Farm for arable growers in Scotland

AHDB knowledge exchange manager Chris Leslie, said: “We are delighted that David Aglen, farm manager at Balbirnie Home Farms, has been appointed as the first host farmer for our Strategic Cereals Farm project in Scotland.

"We are looking forward to working with him over the next six years to improve the arable productivity of his farm through the formal testing and demonstration of innovative practices on a field or farm scale.

"Key areas of focus include regenerative agricultural practices, plant and soil health and carbon offsetting on the 1300 hectares mixed farming operation.”

A number of organisations from across the Scottish industry have come together to form a steering group that will work with Balbirnie Home farms and AHDB to oversee the demonstrations on-farm and drive the strategic farm towards achieving its objectives. These include Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Land and Estates, NFU Scotland, Scottish Agronomy, LEAF, the James Hutton Institute and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. Five local farmers are also members of the steering group.

Balbirnie is a mixed farming and sporting estate owned and managed by Johnnie Balfour, who said: “We have identified a list of key themes that we want to explore which will be revealed at the launch event in the summer. Trials will then be planned on the back of the discussions and ideas generated at the launch by the attendees. We are delighted to be working with AHDB and everyone involved with the Strategic Cereal Farm project. Our goal is to improve both our economic and environmental resilience. Drawing on the expertise offered by the steering group will prove invaluable in realising our ambitions.”

Strategic Farms promote the uptake of knowledge and provide a platform for farmers to explore new ideas that can have an impact on their business. AHDB currently works with a Strategic Dairy Farm at Hill of Covington in Lanarkshire, and a Strategic Potato Farm at Milton of Mathers in Angus.

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