On Thursday 29th March 2018, three lucky IFSTAL students were offered the chance to visit Bayer’s Chishill Research Farm, just outside Cambridge. They were the winner and runners up in the Bayer Oxford Farming Conference Competition earlier in 2018. In anticipation of rain the visit started with a tour of the Research Farm. Julian Little, head of Communications and Government affairs – Crop Science, Bayer UK, lead the tour and explained how they strive to balance profitable farming with environmental stewardship.
Julian was keen to explain how the farm is used to test and develop new and existing products but how this was being achieved through the promotion of biodiversity, rather than at its expense. This has been achieved by implementing environmental measures designed to increase bird, butterfly, insect and plant diversity on the farm, such as wild flower field margins, two farm ponds, areas of woodland and an orchard, as well as maintaining ancient hedges on the 20ha farm. Along with this Bayer CropScience maintains a number of bee hives and a thriving owl population (although that day all we found were the remains of their dinner!).
After a delicious lunch, we all then sat down for a discussion led by Alice Turnbull from Communications and Government Affairs at Bayer UK. She explained aspects of the crop science division and how Bayer aims to be open and transparent in its business. After some discussion the day finally ended with the heavens opening and a long drive back home!
The managed orchard at Chishill Research Farm
An old orchard left to nature
Blog by Kelly Reed, Education Coordinator, University of Warwick