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.
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.
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.
The Sustainable Landscapes initiative was designed by farmers and industry experts working together to deliver practical soil management options that bring benefits at field, farm and landscape level.
Demonstrating how different cultivation, cover crop and soil management options can be implemented, and monitoring the effects of these options on soils, crops, water and wildlife, sits at the heart of the project.
Having clear soil, water and agronomic targets ensures that every action is carefully implemented, monitored and assessed, so that every positive improvement can be clearly identified, refined and developed.
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