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The Farm and the Environment

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The Estate farms over 400 hectares in hand as well as a contract farming operation and strives to maximise returns whilst employing modern conservation techniques.

Over the last few years the Estate has radically changed the way that it manages its farming operation. Traditionally the Estate ran a highly intensive arable rotation of two cropping years of winter wheat followed by a break crop of oil seed rape grown for industrial uses. On the basis of yields and informed by agronomy reports, the decision was taken to enter into a more holistic rotation of winter wheat grown for flour milling, spring barley grown for the malting industries and winter field beans grown where possible for human consumption.

Crop establishment has been through non-inversion tillage, which when combined with the overwintered stubbles has limited the spread of weeds, especially black grass. This in turn has ensured a reduction in chemical and fertiliser applications. We also run significant environmental stewardship schemes, environmental management programes and fallow land. The overall result has been a dramatic increase in yields and also an increase in biodiversity across the spectrum of farm species.

The Estate has formed close links with the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust.  Using principles practised at their Loddington research centre, it has a number of measures in place to help increase the species diversity in a relatively urban part of rural Britain.