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East Anglia Future 50

Norfolk's new knowledge-sharing Monitor Farm is revealed

PUBLISHED: 11:34 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:51 12 April 2019

Richard Ling at Rookery Farm in Diss - one of seven new additions to the AHDB Monitor Farms network. Picture: Liz Bishop Photography.

Richard Ling at Rookery Farm in Diss - one of seven new additions to the AHDB Monitor Farms network. Picture: Liz Bishop Photography.

Liz Bishop Photography 2018

A farm near Diss has been revealed as Norfolk’s new representative on the knowledge-sharing Monitor Farms network.

Rookery Farm, at Wortham, is one of seven farms across the country to join the project run by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) – filling the gap left by the end of the three-year Dereham Monitor Farm project at Swanton Morley Farms earlier this year.

Farm manager Richard Ling works on 400ha of varied soil types, with an arable rotation including wheat, oilseed rape, winter barley for feed or spring malting barley. He mainly operates a min-till system but assesses each field based on soil health.

The farm also has a beef finishing unit aiming to finish 150 British Blues per year for Morrisons, business and residential lets, and a self-storage business.

By becoming a monitor farmer, Mr Ling said he is keen to learn with others and better understand the industry and the challenges facing it.

READ MORE: Three key lessons from three years of the Dereham Monitor Farm project

The other new Monitor Farms are in Shropshire, Cornwall, Cheshire, Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Kent.

Over the next three years they will all host meetings for local farmers and others in the industry discussing hot topics such as precision farming and managing varying soil types, hearing from experts and sharing ideas to improve their businesses.

The first Diss Monitor Farm Meeting is due to be held on June 25.

Richard Meredith, AHDB knowledge exchange manager, said: “It’s really important to look at the farm as a whole – especially at how the enterprises interact and benefit each other. In our technical discussions we’ll be focusing both on the arable side of the businesses, but where possible we’ll look into challenges that apply to farmers from a number of sectors.”

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