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Newest Strategic Potato Farm aiming for ‘better quality for customers’

19 March 2018

Quality is paramount for RJ and AE Godfrey, a mixed arable farm in North Lincolnshire, which has joined AHDB’s Farm Excellence Network.

The farm grows around 440 ha of main-crop potatoes for the packing market each year, in a rotation including peas, sugar beet, wheat, oilseed rape and linseed. It will become Strategic Potato (SPot) Farm North and act as a hub for farmer-to-farmer learning in the region.

Director Alex Godfrey said: “We’re always interested in what we can do better when it comes to growing potatoes and we thought this was a fantastic opportunity to see some of the newest developments applied on our farm.

“We hope this will benefit others in the region as well. We’re looking forward to sharing what we do and hearing what ideas other growers have. We know there is some fantastic knowledge out there.”

The business supplies the majority of its crop to the ‘free-buy’ market. Farm Manager Will Gagg says this makes crop quality of paramount importance.

He said: “If we can achieve better quality in store and to our customers I’ll be very happy. If we can fine-tune and gain small amounts, one per cent here, another per cent there, it will be a very positive thing. Of course we will be looking to share those gains with others in the local industry.”

The farm spans the Lincolnshire/Yorkshire border and includes two soil types, a sandy loam on the Lincolnshire Wolds and silts on the Isle of Axholme. Will is encouraging growers from both counties and soil types to attend a series of four events to be held on farm over the summer. Trials will include varieties grown for both the packing and processing sectors.

He added: “The wold and the silt soils provide completely different challenges. On the wold land, we get fantastic yield, but it is harder to hold skin-finish in store long-term. On silts we get a fantastic skin-finish that holds well in store but moisture in the soil can make lifting conditions very tricky.”

Growers and agronomists interested in the work at SPot North can contact AHDB Potatoes Knowledge Exchange Manager for the region, Graham Bannister.

Graham said: “Alex and Will want to lead honest and open discussions on how to make positive change on farm. I am sure Northern potato growers will be as excited as I am to have them on board.”

“Inspiration for farmers to adopt new technologies and make beneficial changes on farm must come from voices they are familiar with and trust. This is why AHDB is investing £1 million in our Farm Excellence Platform, across more than 50 farms in 2018, to build on and create new groups to allow more farmers to see action on farm and channel innovation to those that can use it the most.”

Event details will be published at potatoes.ahdb.org.uk

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Notes to editors

AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Our purpose is to inspire our farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We equip the industry with easy to use, practical know-how which they can apply straight away to make better decisions and improve their performance. Established in 2008 and classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body, it supports the following industries: meat and livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) in England; horticulture, milk and potatoes in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. AHDB’s remit covers 72 per cent of total UK agricultural output. Further information on AHDB can be found at www.ahdb.org.uk

Contact

For further information contact Jimmy Phillips Senior Marcomms Manager (AHDB Potatoes) on 024 7647 8933 or Jimmy.Phillips@ahdb.org.uk

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