Farmer-led innovation groups collaborating for sustainable food production

The Innovation Programme brings farmers together to identify and trial new farming practices and products aiming to improve the sustainability of farm businesses, allowing them to get more from less. These innovations seek to improve soil quality and structure, which in turn protects our watercourses from agricultural run-off. Our groups work together to explore ways of delivering increasing crop yields whilst supporting and enhancing nature and biodiversity.

Farmer-led innovation groups collaborating for sustainable food production

The Innovation Programme brings farmers together to identify and trial new farming practices and products aiming to improve the sustainability of farm businesses, allowing them to get more from less. These innovations seek to improve soil quality and structure, which in turn protects our watercourses from agricultural run-off. Our groups work together to explore ways of delivering increasing crop yields whilst supporting and enhancing nature and biodiversity.

Yorkshire Water Working With Farmers

Future Food Solutions and Yorkshire Water are working with more than 50 Yorkshire farmers to trial new ways to improve soil’s physical structure and biological health as a part of the innovation programme. By reducing the volume of soil erosion and the levels of nutrients and pesticides within the watercourses, The Sustainable Landscapes Programme is improving water quality managed by Yorkshire Water which is subsequently distributed to homes and businesses across the region. Yorkshire Water, with the support of Future Food Solutions, are successfully collaboratively with the farmers to tackling some of the key issues they face around water quality and agricultural run-off.

Yorkshire Water Working With Farmers

Future Food Solutions and Yorkshire Water are working with more than 50 Yorkshire farmers to trial new ways to improve soil’s physical structure and biological health as a part of the innovation programme. By reducing the volume of soil erosion and the levels of nutrients and pesticides within the watercourses, The Sustainable Landscapes Programme is improving water quality managed by Yorkshire Water which is subsequently distributed to homes and businesses across the region. Yorkshire Water, with the support of Future Food Solutions, are successfully collaboratively with the farmers to tackling some of the key issues they face around water quality and agricultural run-off.

“Keeping soils healthy and where they belong is good for the environment; the resilience and profitability of farming and improves the water we treat for our customers. Sustainable Landscapes is a platform to share, develop and implement best practice within and by the farming community. We believe it has the potential to make a real difference where everybody wins, not least the environment”.

Andrew Walker
Catchment Strategy Manager, Yorkshire Water

“Keeping soils healthy and where they belong is good for the environment; the resilience and profitability of farming and improves the water we treat for our customers. Sustainable Landscapes is a platform to share, develop and implement best practice within and by the farming community. We believe it has the potential to make a real difference where everybody wins, not least the environment”.

Andrew Walker
Catchment Strategy Manager, Yorkshire Water

“Keeping soils healthy and where they belong is good for the environment; the resilience and profitability of farming and improves the water we treat for our customers. Sustainable Landscapes is a platform to share, develop and implement best practice within and by the farming community. We believe it has the potential to make a real difference where everybody wins, not least the environment”.

Andrew Walker
Catchment Strategy Manager
Yorkshire Water

Pilot Areas

Sustainable Landscapes Pilots Map

1. Topcliffe

Located 5 miles to the south west of Thirsk and adjacent to the River Swale, the Topcliffe Pilot Area is part of the catchment which eventually flows into the River Ouse, entering the North Sea via the Humber estuary. The Pilot Lead Farmer, Graham Potter, farms in partnership with his father Terry at Baldersby Park where the river forms one of the farm boundaries. The Pilot Area has 15 farmer members, most of whom undertake arable farming activities close geographically to the Pilot lead farm.

2. Shipton by Beningbrough

Located to the North West of York, the Shipton by Beningbrough Pilot is led by David Blacker who is based at Church Farm in the village. The land tends to be slightly heavier than farmers experience at the Topcliffe pilot further north, however similar crop rotations are undertaken. Geographically, the Pilot Area is located close to the River Ouse and David’s farm is bordered at one side by Hurns Gutter; another small tributary leading into the Ouse. The Pilot Area has a wide-ranging membership of farming individuals with some members undertaking beef & pig operations, sharing knowledge alongside arable specialists.

3. Elvington

Situated to the south east of York, the Elvington Pilot Area is centred at Grimston Grange in Heslington which is the family farm of the Hopwood family. The Pilot Farm sits equidistant between the River Ouse to the west and the River Derwent to the East. The Pilot Area is within a zone of particular importance in terms of surface water management; Yorkshire Water have treatment facilities four miles away at Elvington where they extract water from the River Derwent prior to treatment and onward distribution elsewhere in Yorkshire. The Pilot Area has 12 members, all of whom farm in the surrounding area with potatoes, carrots and other root crops included within the rotation in addition to the commodities grown in the other Pilot Areas.

Pilot Areas

Sustainable Landscapes Pilots Map

1. Topcliffe

Located 5 miles to the south west of Thirsk and adjacent to the River Swale, the Topcliffe Pilot Area is part of the catchment which eventually flows into the River Ouse, entering the North Sea via the Humber estuary. The Pilot Lead Farmer, Graham Potter, farms in partnership with his father Terry at Baldersby Park where the river forms one of the farm boundaries. The Pilot Area has 15 farmer members, most of whom undertake arable farming activities close geographically to the Pilot lead farm.

2. Shipton by Beningbrough

Located to the North West of York, the Shipton by Beningbrough Pilot is led by David Blacker who is based at Church Farm in the village. The land tends to be slightly heavier than farmers experience at the Topcliffe pilot further north, however similar crop rotations are undertaken. Geographically, the Pilot Area is located close to the River Ouse and David’s farm is bordered at one side by Hurns Gutter; another small tributary leading into the Ouse. The Pilot Area has a wide-ranging membership of farming individuals with some members undertaking beef & pig operations, sharing knowledge alongside arable specialists.

3. Elvington

Situated to the south east of York, the Elvington Pilot Area is centred at Grimston Grange in Heslington which is the family farm of the Hopwood family. The Pilot Farm sits equidistant between the River Ouse to the west and the River Derwent to the East. The Pilot Area is within a zone of particular importance in terms of surface water management; Yorkshire Water have treatment facilities four miles away at Elvington where they extract water from the River Derwent prior to treatment and onward distribution elsewhere in Yorkshire. The Pilot Area has 12 members, all of whom farm in the surrounding area with potatoes, carrots and other root crops included within the rotation in addition to the commodities grown in the other Pilot Areas.

Pilot Lead Farmers

Pilot Lead Farmers

Graham Potter
Topcliffe

Mike Powley
Green Hammerton

Richard Bramley
Elvington

Graham Potter
Topcliffe

Mike Powley
Green Hammerton

Richard Bramley
Elvington

Graham Potter
Topcliffe

Graham Potter farms 500 acres at Topcliffe near Thirsk. He grows wheat, barley and Oil Seed Rape (OSR) and a small amount of fodder beet. Graham is a huge enthusiast of precision farming techniques and has embraced much of the very latest technology enabling him to farm efficiently and profitably, whilst at the same time reducing his impact on the environment.

Mike Powley
Green Hammerton

Mike runs a family farm based in Green Hammerton and the surrounding villages approx 10 miles West of York. On the 52 ha home farm and 80 ha of rented land, the family run 100 spring calving suckler cows with all progeny taken through to fat. The arable side of the business takes up the other half of the farm growing 3 years red clover, 2 wheats, a cover crop into spring beans and 2 wheats in an 8 years rotation.

Mike had been employing traditional cultivation techniques with an emphasis on low ground pressure, returning all the fym to the arable soils and stopping growing root crops to improve what he believed to be soil structure. Having been to America and visiting Gabe Brown’s operation, Joel Salatin’s Polyfaced farms and Jay Fuhrer in Bismark; Mike’s ideas were seriously challenged and changed.

Richard Bramley
Elvington

Richard farms 230 hectares of winter and spring barley, milling wheat, sugar beet, potatoes and peas at Kelfield near York and is also Chair of the NFU Environment Forum. A previous winner of the RSPB Nature of Farming Award (Northern). Attention to the Farmed Environment is also a keen focus; with good recorded results on bio-diversity alongside productive and profitable farming.

Graham Potter farms 500 acres at Topcliffe near Thirsk. He grows wheat, barley and Oil Seed Rape (OSR) and a small amount of fodder beet. Graham is a huge enthusiast of precision farming techniques and has embraced much of the very latest technology enabling him to farm efficiently and profitably, whilst at the same time reducing his impact on the environment.

Mike runs a family farm based in Green Hammerton and the surrounding villages approx 10 miles West of York. On the 52 ha home farm and 80 ha of rented land, the family run 100 spring calving suckler cows with all progeny taken through to fat. The arable side of the business takes up the other half of the farm growing 3 years red clover, 2 wheats, a cover crop into spring beans and 2 wheats in an 8 years rotation.

Richard farms 230 hectares of winter and spring barley, milling wheat, sugar beet, potatoes and peas at Kelfield near York and is also Chair of the NFU Environment Forum. A previous winner of the RSPB Nature of Farming Award (Northern). Attention to the Farmed Environment is also a keen focus; with good recorded results on bio-diversity alongside productive and profitable farming.

Graham Potter farms 500 acres at Topcliffe near Thirsk. He grows wheat, barley and Oil Seed Rape (OSR) and a small amount of fodder beet. Graham is a huge enthusiast of precision farming techniques and has embraced much of the very latest technology enabling him to farm efficiently and profitably, whilst at the same time reducing his impact on the environment.

Mike runs a family farm based in Green Hammerton and the surrounding villages approx 10 miles West of York. On the 52 ha home farm and 80 ha of rented land, the family run 100 spring calving suckler cows with all progeny taken through to fat. The arable side of the business takes up the other half of the farm growing 3 years red clover, 2 wheats, a cover crop into spring beans and 2 wheats in an 8 years rotation.

Richard farms 230 hectares of winter and spring barley, milling wheat, sugar beet, potatoes and peas at Kelfield near York and is also Chair of the NFU Environment Forum. A previous winner of the RSPB Nature of Farming Award (Northern). Attention to the Farmed Environment is also a keen focus; with good recorded results on bio-diversity alongside productive and profitable farming.

Farmer Partner Benefits

Farmers involved in the Sustainable Landscapes Innovation Programme get access to a range of resources and benefits to improve soil health and profitability on their farm.

  • Soil analysis & testing

  • Soil organic matter level testing and advice

  • Provision of cover crop advice

  • Provision of cover crop seed for trials to farmers within the pilot

  • Contracted provision of stubble raking in areas of the farm that have previously been badly affected by slug damage

  • Sustainability benchmarking

  • GPS driven soil quality management

  • Access to Mi Farm satellite imagery and field mapping

  • Discounted Gatekeeper – software & access to training packages from Farm Plan

  • Option to change from on farm Metaldehyde use to Ferric Phosphate where appropriate

Farmer Partner Benefits

Farmers involved in the Sustainable Landscapes Innovation Programme get access to a range of resources and benefits to improve soil health and profitability on their farm.

  • Soil analysis & testing

  • Soil organic matter level testing and advice

  • Provision of cover crop advice

  • Provision of cover crop seed for trials to farmers within the pilot

  • Contracted provision of stubble raking in areas of the farm that have previously been badly affected by slug damage

  • Sustainability benchmarking

  • GPS driven soil quality management

  • Access to Mi Farm satellite imagery and field mapping

  • Discounted Gatekeeper – software & access to training packages from Farm Plan

  • Option to change from on farm Metaldehyde use to Ferric Phosphate where appropriate

Farmer Partner Benefits

Farmers involved in the Sustainable Landscapes Innovation Programme get access to a range of resources and benefits to improve soil health and profitability on their farm.

  • Soil analysis & testing

  • GPS driven soil quality management
  • Provision of cover crop advice

  • Sustainability benchmarking

  • Soil organic matter level testing and advice

  • Provision of cover crop seed for trials to farmers within the pilot

  • Access to Mi Farm satellite imagery and field mapping

  • Discounted Gatekeeper – software & access to training packages from Farm Plan

  • Option to change from on farm Metaldehyde use to Ferric Phosphate where appropriate

  • Contracted provision of stubble raking in areas of the farm that have previously been badly affected by slug damage

Programme Sponsors & Delivery Partners

Programme Sponsors & Delivery Partners