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Helix Agroecology

A whole farm approach to Agroecological farming practices is the premise of the Helix Agroecology Farm, hosted by Harry Heath of Whitley Manor Farm, Newport, Shropshire.

Farm Facts

  • Whitley Manor Farm in Newport, Shropshire
  • 200ha owned
  • Arable set-up with outdoor pigs
  • Range of crops grown: wheat, barley, rye, oilseed rape, beans, oats and sunflowers
  • Regenerative farming contractor covering 350ha

Farm Focus

  •  Continue to demonstrate the benefits and realities of Agroecology
  • Added value; producing food rather than a commodity
  • Managing ryegrass issue
  • Getting a baseline environmental measurement to be able to track the future benefits

This is a Helix farm with a difference – it is the first Helix farm that will focus solely on the principles and practices of Agroecology.

Agroecology or Regenerative Farming is a method or practice of farming that has come increasingly into the limelight as growers look for ways of working with nature on their farms – driven by the need to follow a more holistic, environmentally focussed path.

“As an industry, we are looking for answers as to how many of the practices associated with Agroecology such as reducing cultivations, using cover crops and reintroducing livestock can really make a sustainable and profitable difference to our farms,” explains Ed Brown, Hutchinsons head of Agroecology.

“Our Helix farms were set up to test new technologies and practices in real farm scenario’s and this is exactly what we are aiming to do with the Agroecology Helix Farm.

“Our objective is not to look at the minutest details and trials but to look to answer some of the bigger picture questions surrounding Agroecology practices.”

“For example, we want some clarity on questions such as when moving over to an Agroecological approach, how are yields affected? Do they drop of and then pick up again? What are the direct benefits to soil health, biodiversity and soil nutrient availability? Are they measurable and definable?

To answer these questions, we will take baseline measurements and evaluate the impact of Agroecological technologies or agronomic practices on factors such as soil health, diversity and carbon.

As an industry we understand agroecological farming is more resilient, enhances natural resources and is future proof. It also has the support of government strategy which may create opportunities to access new markets and income streams.


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