A group of major agricultural companies with a broadly eastern agronomy theme are supporting a four-day, 262-mile charity cycle ride taking place in July this year.

The AF Group, AICC, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience (DowDuPont), FMC, NIAB, Rotam, and Syngenta UK are sponsoring The 3 Plots Challenge, which will see riders visit three NIAB field trial centres – Leadenham in South Lincolnshire; NIAB HQ in Cambridge; and Morley in Norfolk – between Thursday 5 July and Sunday 8 July.

The 3 Plots Challenge is in aid of the Rob Stephenson Trust, a charity that helps young people in the UK and overseas participate in sport and change lives for the better. The Trust is named after NIAB agronomist Patrick Stephenson’s son Rob, who died in a road traffic accident in 2016. Rob’s brother Sam set up the Trust, which has already raised £125,000 in just two years.

The Challenge is open to individuals or relay teams of any size. Entrants can decide on the distance they wish to ride, from five miles to the entire circuit, which starts and ends in Lincolnshire. There will be a strong social theme to the occasion, including frequent refreshment stops, daily pub lunches and evening events.

Event organiser Andrew Watson, who is eastern regional agronomist and head of technical services at NIAB, said: “The 3 Plots Challenge started as a spark of an idea for a few keen NIAB staff to have fun and also raise money for the Rob Stephenson Trust. However, the response across UK agriculture to the event has been remarkable.

“Many corporate supporters and their staff have volunteered, setting aside commercial rivalry to come together around the ethos of the Trust – to enjoy sport and have fun. The farming grapevine is in overdrive, with individual and team enquiries coming in daily. We already have over 50 riders pre-registered even before the formal event launch and I’m expecting about 100 riders to get involved on the weekend rides alone. I am truly amazed how many individuals and teams plan to do the whole route.

“It shows the deep strength of the UK agriculture sector to come together so selflessly for the Stephenson family and the Trust. It has been a humbling experience.”

Individual riders and teams are asked to donate a set fee depending on how many miles they wish to cover. Riders can also use a personal sponsorship form, and anyone who wishes to support the event but who cannot take part, can donate at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/3PlotsChallenge.

For more details, visit https://www.robstephensontrust.com/, or contact Andrew Watson on 07768 143730, email andrew.watson@niab.com.