Yattendon Estate recognised for its sustainable farming excellence

The Yattendon Estate in Berkshire has become the latest farm to join the LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) UK network of Demonstration Farms set up to advance sustainable farming knowledge generation and exchange.

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Yattendon is also the second farm in the Resilient & Ready programme, run by LEAF and Corteva Agriscience, to become a LEAF Demonstration Farm following three years of immersive training, trials and mentoring.

As a diverse farming enterprise covering 2,150 hectares and growing wheat, barley, beans, linseed, oats, and maize, ‘responsible English farming’ is the ethos underpinning the entire business, with over 300 hectares dedicated to supporting biodiversity and protecting the characteristics of the local landscape. The estate has been involved in environmental stewardship schemes since 1998 and since 2021 has embarked on a new five-year scheme including wildflower plots, pollen and nectar mixes, wild bird food mixes and bumblebee mixes.

Farm Manager, Nick Down, who manages the estate’s farming business on behalf of Velcourt, is passionate about promoting UK agriculture and is a regular host of LEAF Open Farm Sunday.

Speaking at the launch, he said:

“Our focus is on developing the estate’s sustainable agricultural practices and enhancing the local environment through Integrated Farm Management. This is such a vital time for sustainable farming, and the LEAF Demonstration Farm platform will be a fantastic way to showcase all the good things we are doing as an industry, to work with policy makers to help shape the future of farming and the environment as well as connect with the wider public.

“Being part of the Resilient & Ready programme was all about harnessing knowledge and technology in-house. Insights and mentoring from LEAF and Corteva were invaluable, engaging with experts, learning about ourselves and the estate, as well as meeting like-minded farmers has been invaluable. We are really looking forward to putting all we’ve learnt into action. “

LEAF Chairman, Philip Wynn added:

“The increasing political and climatic complexities faced by the agricultural sector require forward-thinking, innovative farmers willing to embrace change. We need to build resilience to deliver productive and robust economic growth and meet the expectations of the public for safe and affordable food, produced with environmental care. The role of LEAF’s network of Demonstration Farms and Innovation Centres could not be more critical to accelerate the knowledge and uptake of more sustainable, regenerative farming approaches, evidenced by rigorous scientific research.

“We are delighted to welcome Nick and the team at Yattendon and greatly look forward to working with them as a Demonstration Farm as they support the wider industry towards achieving its net-zero targets.”

Giles Field-Rayner, UK Business Development Manager for Corteva Agriscience, added:

“The key driver of the Resilient & Ready programme is supporting visionary, determined and innovative farmers to become industry leaders in more sustainable farming. Nick already had a keen interest in carbon foot printing and how natural capital plays out in a profitable and regenerative arable system. It has been a huge privilege to work with Nick over the past three years, to capture his enthusiasm and see him advance the Estate to the next level of sustainable farming excellence.”

Yattendon Farm joins 39 other Demonstration Farms which, together with 14 Innovation Centres, make up the LEAF Network of leading farmers and world class research centres, developing and promoting more sustainable farming through Integrated Farm Management. The launch event was held on Tuesday 21st June and attended by Philip Wynn, Alex Nichols, Head of Marketing at Corteva Agriscience and Giles Field-Rayner.

More information about Yattendon Estate can be found here.

The Resilient & Ready team is looking for the next cohort of farmers. Farmers wishing to know when applications open are asked to visit my.corteva.com/ResilientAndReady2022 or email [email protected]. More about the programme can be found at www.corteva.co.uk/resilient-and-ready.