The Colman family's Norfolk estate will become a testbed for farming trials and analysis after being selected to join a national knowledge-sharing network.
The Crown Point Estate, based at Kirby Bedon outside Norwich and owned by the family which launched the renowned Colman's mustard brand, has become the new Norwich Monitor Farm.
It is now one of 16 farms across the country in the initiative run by the cereals and oilseeds division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
The arable enterprise will share information on its cultivation choices and costs - including revealing its successes and failures - to help other growers learn from its food-growing experiences.
The Monitor Farm programme allows farmers and agronomists to discuss demonstrations of new cropping or techniques in "real farm" situations.
Planned trials at Crown Point include finding natural and more eco-friendly replacements for synthetic fertilisers and chemicals, improving water management, finding the best use for cover crops and integrating grazing sheep into the arable rotation.
Farm manager Michael Balls said: "It is exciting, but a little bit daunting too.
"I've done trials here and there in the past, but they've not always been the most scientific, so it is exciting to get a bit of science behind it with the help of the AHDB.
"It is also quite daunting to stand up in front of your peers and bare all, but you have got to be out of your comfort zone at some point and it is a great honour to be selected to do this.
"As farmers we are all quite innovative, always coming up with ideas, but sometimes we are not the best at sharing those ideas.
"For example, we have sheep grazing cover crops. I did try in a previous role to have some sheep grazing oilseed rape - they are supposed to eat the larvae of the flea beetle pests, so we are going to try a bit of that, and I keep hearing about people grazing wheat crops with sheep.
"So we will try a few experiments like this and get a little more science behind it to see what we have gained, and the costs of it.
"The main goal is two-fold really: Can we cut our inputs, and does it affect our bottom line?
"Sometimes an 8.5-tonne wheat crop might actually pay better than that magic 10-tonne that we all aspire to.
"Also, with the sheep, if they are eating back infected leaves on wheat or oilseed rape, is that detrimental to yield, or does it reduce the herbicide and fungicide costs?
"These are the kind of impacts we want to test from these trials."
Mr Balls joined the Crown Point Estate in June 2021, having previously managed farms in west Norfolk for Albanwise.
He now oversees about 1,000 hectares of arable cropping in a traditional rotation of wheat, barley, sugar beet, oilseed rape and vining peas. This year, the farm started growing maize for anaerobic digestion (AD) energy plants, and it still grows 10ha of mint for Colman's mint sauce.
Mr Balls said cutting input costs was becoming an increasing priority in a world of volatile markets, rising chemical bills, and the phasing out of EU subsidies after Brexit.
"I think also, as a farm outside of Norwich, we have to look at our cropping slightly differently," he said.
"We are trying sunflowers and pick-your-own pumpkins this year because we are on the doorstep of the city so we have to think about engaging with the public and our surroundings."
Mr Balls will host the Norwich Monitor Farm's launch meeting and farm walk from 9am on Friday, June 23, to introduce the farm's cropping, machinery and cultivation techniques, as well as its cover crops, environmental stewardship and diversification.
It is also an opportunity for attendees to identify topics they would like to cover in the upcoming winter season’s meetings and workshops.
This meeting is free, but registration is required via the AHDB website.