Easy short-term fixes are running out says OFC scholar

Robert Yardley

Three young British agriculturalists - Nicola Blowey, Jenni Thompson and Robert Yardley (pictured above) - attended the prestigious Young DLG (the German Agricultural Society) Conference and Agritechnica this week as scholars selected as part of the Oxford Farming Conference/DLG Scholar Exchange Programme, with support from Massey Ferguson.

Robert Yardley spoke at the Young DLG Conference, which runs alongside Agritechnica. He said that: “The easy short fix answers are running out such as ploughing and certain chemicals.”

“Agritechnica is the collection place for the world’s best agricultural innovators and creators, so it is a great place to visit and speak about the future of farming,” explains Robert.

“On our farms the aim is to increase the utilisation of new, viable technology while also taking into account the old, paired with a greater understanding of the soils natural processes and tools to combat volatile commodity prices.

“We’re realising that we are able to do more with less. The next five years within our business will see the development of cultural methods, cover crops and strip tillage. Coupled with the use of ‘Big Data’ monitoring to assess its performance and its practicality, longevity and areas for improvement. 

He added that the world of scientific research has a vast bank of data that is constantly increasing and that communication and knowledge transfer between scientists and farmers must be strengthened to ensure farmers have access to leading technology that can be implemented on a practical level. 

The two other OFC/DLG scholars are as passionate and visionary as Robert Yardley. Nicola Blowey, from Tavistock, is studying for a BSc Agriculture student at Harper Adams University having undertaken a 12 month work placement on a 260-cow dairy farm near Stafford.

Jenni Thompson is a farmer’s daughter from Oxfordshire who graduated from Harper Adams University. She has since qualified as a secondary science teacher and works for a UK farming charity.

OFC Director, Martin Davies, said: “The aim of the OFC/DLG Scholar Exchange Programme, is to give young agriculturalists a really valuable learning opportunity at the leading agricultural events in Germany and the UK and to meet like-minded people, working in the same sector, from other countries.

“The OFC board established this award as part of its charitable work, specifically to support the professional development of the scholars, giving them an invaluable insight into European agriculture and other young people working in the sector. We are certain it will bring great career gains for these great young agriculturalists.”

As part of the Exchange Programme, two young farmers from the Young DLG board – Mirko Graff and Stefan Teepker - will attend the 2016 Oxford Farming Conference from 5-7 January. Also attending will be three Young Farmers from Ireland, Italy and Belgium, sponsored by Massey Ferguson through CEJA, the European Council of Young Farmers. They are Alan Jagoe from Ireland, President of CEJA and Vice Presidents Alice Cerruti from Italy and Jannes Maes from Belgium.

“Our thanks go to Massey Ferguson, who have kindly supported this programme and for sponsoring the three CEJA scholars attendance of the 2016 conference,” Mr Davies added.



OFC25 will take place from 8th to 10th January 2025, in Oxford and Online.

A programme teaser and tickets are now available by visiting our dedicated conference section.