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March 31, 2016 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Estate farms are now one of the AHDB Monitor Farms

2016-03-30, Bill putting more calves out to grass (1)

Calves in the livestock trailer being put out to grass in Apley Park

2016-03-30, AHDB logoOn our way back from to Apley Farm Shop yesterday, we bumped into Bill turning out more calves to grass – here they are in the trailer heading down into Apley Park. Then once back at the shop, just as we were finishing off the filming for BBC Midlands Today, I met Richard Meredith & Adrian Joynt to hear the details of how Apley Estate farms have become one of the AHDB Cereals & Oilseeds Monitor Farms. The AHDB is the levy board which represents the cattle, sheep, pigs, milk, potatoes, cereals, oilseeds & horticultural industries. It looks at ways to provide English & Welsh farmers with the tools & knowledge to have sustainable & efficient farming businesses.

There is now a total of 24 in England & Wales. Each monitor farm joins the programme for a 3 year period. Through the programme Adrian Joynt, our Farm Manager, will identify the farming challenges & issues which he faces on the Apley Estate farms. The issues may include land drainage, break crops (eg oil seed rape or lupins) which are planted in the in-between years, between cereal crops, to return nutrients to the soil & stops the build-up of pests & diseases such as infestations of aphids. This is integrated farm management, using bio ethical, traditional farming methods, reducing the need for chemicals whenever possible – in exactly the same way that Phil Allen does in Apley Walled Garden.

Five times a year, there is an open invitation to all farmers – most of whom will be local, but could come from any distance – to come to meetings on different parts of the Apley Estate.

It is hoped that these meetings will provide practical solutions & support for the farmers attending to take home & develop their own businesses. They are a great way of spreading best practice among growers, because the subject areas are decided by the farmers themselves & the solutions will be tried & tested here at Apley, in real conditions & real circumstances. Our challenges here are typical of those faced by farmers local to Apley. AHDB Regional Manager, Richard Meredith will ensure that up to date & relevant industry expertise is available to the group at the meetings.

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