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Pioneering UK wheat trials

n June, it was a great time to visit and report on two wheat farms in six days: BASF East Midlands Agronomy and Sustainability Farm at The Grange, Mears Ashby and BASF Yorkshire Agronomy and Sustainability Farm at Tophouse Farm, Rawcliffe Bridge. In the UK, wheat is a vital commodity that traditionally faired well in these arable regions for centuries. Innovative work and research is now undertaken to farm wheat in new ways. It shows how effective land, resources and nature can be created in harmony with each other to provide sustainable environment and wheat for food. Top House farm joined in partnership with BASF in 1996. This farm was a trailblazer, ahead of its time for agronomy trials. Biodiversity monitoring was introduced in 2002-2003 as part of the Voluntary Initiative (The Voluntary Initiative is a UK-based programme sponsored by the crop and farming industry which works with the UK government to promote responsible pesticide use). With co-operation and support from the Hinchliffe family, owners and farmers of Top House farm, a remarkable story has been developing. There have been successes such as increasing farmland bird numbers through simple measures alongside informative agronomy work this has delivered excellent informative data for farmers. The Grange joined with BASF in 2008 with biodiversity monitoring, in the words of Andrew Pitts, “to provide for my children’s future.” With fantastic guides at both sites such as Graham Hartwell, environmental stewardship manager, BASF plc and Paul Goddard, stewardship value manager, BASF plc, on

48 | Milling and Grain

both days, there was a lot of exciting and important subject matter to see, touch and understand. At Top House Farm, Graham and Paul were joined by John Peck, head of technical management and stewardship, North Europe, BASF plc; Louis Wells, agronomy manager, BASF plc; and Rose Riby, variety specialist (north) from KWS. The farm owners were also there to assist with information and share their own perspective. Regarding the farms, a minority of the land

Aug 2015 - Milling and Grain magazine  

The August 2015 edition of Milling and Grain magazine

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