AHDB announces first strategic cereal farm for Scotland

Farm manager David Aglen, of Balbirnie Home Farms in Fife, has been appointed the first host farmer for the project in Scotland
Farm manager David Aglen, of Balbirnie Home Farms in Fife, has been appointed the first host farmer for the project in Scotland

Scottish Arable Farm of the Year finalist has been selected to be the first AHDB Strategic Cereal Farm for arable growers in Scotland.

Farm manager David Aglen, of Balbirnie Home Farms in Fife, has been appointed the first host farmer for the project in Scotland.

The farm will improve its arable productivity 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 1,300 hectares mixed farming operation.



Each Strategic Farm runs for six years to allow independent research to be tested across a full rotation.

A number of different organisations have come together to form a steering group that will work with Balbirnie Home farms to oversee the demonstrations and drive the strategic farm towards achieving the objectives agreed at the start of the project.



These include Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Land and Estates, NFU Scotland, Scottish Agronomy, LEAF, the James Hutton Institute and Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Five local farmers are also members of the steering group.

Balbirnie Home Farms, a mixed farming and sporting estate, aims to improve its economic and environmental resilience, according to owner Johnnie Balfour.

“We have identified a list of key themes that we want to explore which will be revealed at the launch event in the summer," he said.

"Trials will then be planned on the back of the discussions and ideas generated at the launch by the attendees.

"Drawing on the expertise offered by the steering group will prove invaluable in realising our ambitions.”

AHDB’s 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.

They are part of the levy board's wider Farm Excellence Platform, which aims to inspire the industry to improve performance and succeed through knowledge exchange.



AHDB currently works with a Strategic Dairy Farm, Hill of Covington in Lanarkshire and a Strategic Potato Farm, Milton of Mathers in Angus.