We were excited to find out recently that we’ve won a tender to contract farm a neighbouring business, so we’re looking forward to getting going at harvest time.
We’ve now got another 400ha under our belt, which nearly doubles our total land area, but we’re not too daunted by the prospect - it’s a family farm that’s very similar to ours.
And, like us, there is a strong environmental theme running through everything they do, so we’re convinced it will be a great fit for our business. The contract is for three years but with a long-term view for the right person - we’re hopeful that we will fit the bill and farm the land for the family for the foreseeable. Time will tell, but we’re excited to work with them and see what we can achieve.
We won’t have to make too many changes to our existing operation to manage the extra work - we've always been classified as slightly overstaffed and we’re getting a new combine and sprayer this year, so everything has fallen into place. We won’t need any new kit, it will just be a case of working what we have a little bit harder. And we have all the staff we need, although I may look to take on an apprentice if I can find one.
Another bit of news - we’re hoping to be supplying milling wheat to our local National Trust mill in Winchester. They’re looking to change their supplier and really want someone local so they can see where the crops come from and how they’re grown. They’re keen to demonstrate that field to fork link which I think will be great. If we can agree something it won’t be a huge amount – probably 10 to 15 tonnes every year – but I think the bigger picture is important and we can’t wait to be involved. We’re hoping to negotiate at least part of the payment in cakes, so watch this space…
Back on the ground, like many farms we’ve been pretty flat out spring drilling for the past couple of months. Which, considering how wet it was early on, has actually gone remarkably well. Thanks to the cold winds we were treated to, the ground seemed to dry out really quickly.
We’re growing oats and peas for the first time this year which is exciting and I will make sure to report on our progress in my next update.
Sparsholt College graduate Andy has been the manager at Newhouse Farm for 10 years.
The 800ha estate has 600ha put to arable cropping which has been min-till cultivated for two decades.
Andy uses variable rate technology for fertiliser, nitrogen and seed with parts of the farm set aside for trials to test new techniques in crop management.
Elsewhere, there is 70ha of woodland, a small sheep flock and a pig herd.