Yorkshire growers discuss sustainability challenges

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A recent ‘Sustainable Potato Production’ meeting held in Malton prior to the Covid-19 lockdown gave Yorkshire Potato farmers an opportunity to come together to talk about the topics they feel are challenging their businesses. 

 

Learning from the AHDB’s experience of the Monitor farm network, farmer to farmer learning is a great way to get growers involved and help decide and shape the direction in learning that they want to take.

 

The meeting was held in conjunction with Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF). The AHDB in Yorkshire are working closely with CSF’s Humber River Basin team as the two organisations have realised how well they can complement each other’s work and provide guidance and information across all sectors, helping to build resilient and sustainable businesses while managing the land they farm to keep water and air clean.

 

MD of R S Cockerill(York) Rufus Pilgrim set the scene for the meeting with a presentation on what is happening in other countries and what the challenges are that he sees not only for his packing business but for the whole potato sector.

 

Andrew Wilson, a local farmer from Slingsby then told the audience about the different approaches he has been trying over the years, why he started and the benefits he is seeing from reduced cultivations and cover cropping. Delegates then heard from Jonathan Payne of Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF), a partnership between Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England which works with farmers and a range of other partners to improve water and air quality in high priority areas about what they can offer.

 

An overview of the potato markets from the AHDB MI Team followed and the event ended with an introduction to ‘Business Improvement groups’ and how benchmarking can help growers make decisions for their future, delivered by the AHDB farmbench team.

 

Senior Knowledge Exchange Manager (Potatoes) with AHDB, Graham Bannister said: “During a breakout session, attendees came up with a list of the challenges that they felt were threatening their businesses. At the end of the meeting all the growers present agreed that it would be worthwhile organising a second meeting on the theme of ‘Environment’ which had come out top after the breakout session.”

A date is likely to be announced after the Covid-19 lockdown ends.

 

  • Having taken part in a sustainable potato farming roundtable event recently, Potato Review will be sharing the information and insights given in its July issue. We will also preview this in our features section. If you don't already subscribe to the magazine, visit https://www.potatoreview.com/circulations/subscribe to read about this and other in-depth features. Follow us on social media and join the conversationn if you have insights or opinions to share with us on this or any other relevant topic: @ReviewPotato, Potato Review