At the AGM of TMAF on 18.01.2018 the only change to the board was the election of Dr Stephen Rawsthorne. Dr Rawsthorne previously a member of the advisory committee will bring expertise of examining bids for research, gained from his years of work at the John Innes Centre, to the board.
Dr Simon Bowen of the BBRO, gave a talk about Inspire. This is a partnership between TMAF and BBRO, investigating why some parts of fields consistently yield better than other parts. Use will be made of eight years of yield mapping records, application records of farm inputs. Precision farming techniques will also be used to attempt to improve whole field yields. Dr Bowens work will complement the work BBRO are already doing at the Morley Farm as one of their six demonstration farms.
Dr Elizabeth Stockdale then gave a talk about soils. She has recently joined NIAB from Newcastle University. She spoke about the variations in soils and the difficulties faced by researchers as a result. Dr Stockdale also gave a resume of the 12 years of the New Farming Systems trial which NIAB have been implementing on the Morley Farm. TMAF is looking to run a programme of long term soil monitoring to demonstrate which of our farming practices has beneficial or damaging effects on the ability of our soils to produce high yielding crops without polluting the wider environment. Dr Stockdale has been asked to produce a scoping report which will assist the board in setting up the long-term soil monitoring project.