The Stakeholder Group provides a useful sounding board for the activities of Agri-Tech East. By inviting champions from different parts of the community we gain grass roots insights which are invaluable.
We are delighted to announce new members John Barrett, Director of Sentry Norfolk, and Robert Dennis of agriVue.
John Barrett has managed the Ditchingham Farms estate, near Bungay in Norfolk, on behalf of Sentry since 2001. He manages nine farms with a team of four full-time employees.
Soils are a keen interest for John. Soils on the estate range from heavy Beccles Series Clay to lighter, sandier soils to the southern end. Large quantities of organic matter are brought in from local livestock farms to maintain the soil in good health. Cropping is predominantly based around wheat, with break crops of oilseed rape, spring beans, maize and sugar beet.
An unusual feature of the estate is the Chartley herd of rare cattle which has been owned by the Shirley family for over 700 years and provides free-range beef.
Robert Dennis is also a farmer on the family farm in Suffolk. He has recently diversified and become the director of agriVue, specialising in the use of UAVs (‘drones’) to analyse crop health, weed pressure and poor drainage areas in fields. He takes a keen interest in farm diversification projects, believing multiple sources of income are vital for the long-term survival of family farms. He believes that drones have a key part to play in the drive for sustainable intensification as they enable farmers to closely monitor and target inputs.
As a farmer, Robert understands what the industry is looking for from new technologies and hopes to play a role in helping to deliver them.
Both men have different perspectives and will strengthen the breadth and depth of the Stakeholder Group.