Yorkshire potato, peas and arable farmer Gary Shipley has joined AHDB’s farm excellence network, as a new Monitor Farmer.
Shipley has been assistant farm manager at Huggate World Farms for the last four years, having married into the business. Originally a livestock farmer, Shipley works on 657 hectares, growing winter wheat, winter barley, oilseed rape, spring barley, vining peas and potatoes.
Soil Health and preparing for UK agricultural policy change are other areas he is keen to investigate further through the Monitor Farm programme.
“These are uncertain times for farming. As a manager, the efficiency of your business is something you very much have control over, unlike currency fluctuations and the weather. Streamlining on-farm operations was the main reason we decided to join the programme," Shipley said.
“It can be difficult for the older generations to embrace the changes which are going to be required over the coming months, so it’s down to younger farmers like myself to embrace new techniques and technology and show that these solutions can work,” he added.
At 700 feet, the high altitude of Huggate World Farms gives it a micro-climate, with wind, snow and fog, creating an interesting disparity with growers on lower ground. Planting on Shipley’s farm can take place up to two weeks after growers further down the hill in the York area.
Having employed various sustainable farming methods such as biofumigation and direct drilling, he is keen to explore new methods, while beginning to look at cover crops.
Reflecting on why farmers should engage with the Monitor Farm programme Gary said: “If something allows ways to improve your farm and make your life easier, then I think we should all be embracing it. I’m looking forward to meeting other growers and hearing what they’ve got to say”.