The farm extends to an area of 3,500 acres, of which 1,650 acres are in arable cropping, and 1,850 acres in grassland
The ethos of the farm is to produce the very best quality products as sympathetically to the environment as possible.
The mixed farming system provides the opportunity to apply manure on a rotational basis to maintain and build organic matter in the soil. This helps to retain moisture and provides the perfect habitat for earthworms, soil bacteria and fungi. The soil is the basis of all we do and we have to work to preserve it and look after it.
The mainly siltstone soils are light and easy to work, enabling a range of crops to be grown. However, with the rock so close to the surface, moisture retention is poor and we look forward to rain on a weekly basis in May and June to support the growing crops and grass.
To help achieve our environmental credentials very little inorganic fertiliser is used on the grassland and the whole farm is within an agri- environment scheme. The objectives of the scheme are to provide habitats to encourage farmland birds, small mammals and to preserve a patchwork of traditional old meadows which are rich in wild flowers and are interspersed with historic field boundaries, some of which will be laid in the traditional manner.
The dairy herd of 180 cows originally consisted of pedigree Ayrshire cows and a nucleus of Ayrshires remains with red and white Holsteins forming the balance of the herd.
The replacements for the dairy are reared on the Farm and our milk goes to a national dairy processor and is sold as liquid milk in British supermarkets.
Our cows are out at grass during the summer and are fed a balanced diet of grass and maize silage when they are housed in the winter.
Each of our cows will produce 8,500 litres of nutritious milk each year, that’s 14,960 pints!
The sheep flock is composed of 3,300 North Country Mule ewes which are crossed with Suffolk and Texel rams.
The sheep flock graze the permanent grass on the steep hills and hidden valleys. They also tidy up the dairy pastures when the cows are housed in the autumn.
The 5.500 lambs produced each year are mainly sold as store lambs at an auction on the farm in late August each year.
The arable crops grown include wheat, barley, both spring and winter varieties, oats, oil seed rape and beans.
Milling varieties of wheat are grown to be turned into flour, barley is grown for malting for lager and beer production.
Seed crops are also grown and a proportion of the grain produced is fed to livestock on the farm.
Most of the surplus feed wheat produced is sold to mills who make feed for the expanding local poultry industry.
The Farm is equipped with a full range of farm machinery and prides itself in being at the forefront of modern farming practices, giving it a commercial edge but balancing this with the need to protect the natural environment.
Where possible we use minimum tillage rather than the plough to preserve the organic matter in the soil. Occasionally grass and stubble turnips are sown directly without disturbing the soil. To plant oilseed rape, a seeder is located on the cultivator so that the crop is planted in one pass which conserves moisture and retains organic matter.
A weighbridge at the grain store provides accurate crop yield information on a field, crop or variety basis. This helps in planning our cropping and variety selection.
The dairy parlour is an innovative design with a rapid exit system and flow meters enable the herdsman can see the quantity of milk produced by each cow.
We have a farm staff of eight and we also employ an apprentice thus providing a young person with a first step into farming.
In addition, we frequently take on students for their placement periods offering them the opportunity to gain experience on a diverse mixed farm.
At lambing staff numbers are swelled with local people helping out along with veterinary students and students from a college in Holland.
The health and welfare of our staff is a key to our success as a farming business.