Practical ways to implement the Agriculture Bill’s pledge to support farmers doing their own research will come under scrutiny at an upcoming event held by the ADAS YEN network. Charlotte Cunningham reports.

Farmers interested in on-farm trials are encouraged to attend the meeting, due to be held in Kettering on 6 Feb, to explore ways to enhance farm productivity.

The YEN Messages Lab will focus on recent and future on-farm trials, and in particular the YEN yield-testing project.

Experts from Defra, AHDB, the Farmer-Led Innovation Network (FLIN) and other funding sources will also be attending the meeting to gather ideas on supporting the pioneers of farm progress. This is one of the key aspects highlighted in the Government’s draft Agriculture Bill currently passing through the Houses of Parliament.

Prof Roger Sylvester-Bradley, YEN founder, says: “These are exciting times because YEN is starting to show what really controls crop productivity.  This is a great opportunity for farmers to come together and shape what could be the agricultural industry’s fourth revolution.

“Farmers have a massive opportunity to share and learn with the digital tools they now have. With policy makers and funders present, farmers with experience of doing their own research have a real chance to influence the way farm-centric research will work in the future.”

High yields

Over the past seven years, the YEN has shown how high yields are possible almost anywhere, but yields differ hugely each year – especially farm to farm.

In the EIP-Agri funded project, ADAS helped five ‘Farmer Innovation Groups’ in 2018 and 2019 to test their own questions, which were often prompted by YEN results.

At the Messages Lab, lead farmers and ADAS supporters will report on their tests of amino acids, spring potash, deep rooting, cross-drilling and ‘crop momentum’ treatments. Plans and funding for further trials in 2020 and beyond will be discussed.

The meeting is open to anyone, including non-members. To register and learn more, go to