East Anglian farmers will provide real-world results for national BASF crop trial

Farmer Tim Papworth at his farm in Felmingham. Picture by Adam Fradgley

Farmer Tim Papworth at his farm in Felmingham. Picture by Adam Fradgley - Credit: Adam Fradgley / Exposure Photogr

East Anglian farmers have been selected to join a 50-strong national network giving real-world information on crop trials to a major agro-chemical manufacturer.

The 'Real Results Circle' is the biggest farmer trial ever conducted by the crop protection manufacturer, BASF.

The farmers, including three from Norfolk and five from Suffolk, will undertake wheat agronomy trials which will culminate with the gathering of yield data at harvest time.

Trials will be conducted on growers' own farms, under local conditions using their own machinery with the assessments being carried out by independent consultants ADAS and precision mapping experts AgSpace.

The Norfolk farmers, selected due to their progressive approach to growing arable crops, are:

• Adrian Howell of Great Barn Farm, Gayton Thorpe, near King's Lynn.

• Mike Wilton of Breck Farm, Stody, Melton Constable.

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• Tim Papworth of Lodge Farm, Felmingham, near North Walsham.

Mr Papworth said he was looking forward to the trial, adding: 'I simply try to achieve the highest yields and the best prices for each of my crops. I'm delighted to have been accepted [into the Real Results Circle] because I just like trying new things, whether it's new crop varieties or agrochemicals and seeing what works best under our conditions.'

The Suffolk farmers are:

• Brian Barker of Lodge Farm, Westhorpe.

• Laura Buckingham agronomist working for Bocking Hall, Helmingham, Stowmarket.

• James Forrest of Mowness Hall, Stonham Aspal.

• Graham Thompson of Crabbs Farm, Parham.

• Edward Vipond of Park Farm, Stanton, Bury St Edmunds.

ADAS and AgSpace will assess each farm, monitor crops, determine disease pressure and assess fungicide performance throughout the season, while ADAS will produce an end-of-season report on the crop, outlining the results and lessons learned.

Susie Roques, ADAS crop physiologist, said the crop assessments will be made using the Agron?mics system – a new digital technique for farm-based research developed by ADAS and AgSpace with the support of the British Geological Survey.

'On-farm tramline trials and split field trials, like those in the BASF Real Results Circle, are being increasingly used by individuals and companies,' she said.

'The Agron?mics approach brings a new and unique scientific credibility to the design, management and statistical analysis of tramline trials which will ensure that the 50 participating growers can have more confidence in the results than they would ever have had before.'

To follow the trial's progress, or for details of summer open days at the farms, see the BASF web site.