NORTH HILL FARMS LTD
Since 1972 the Estate has managed approximately 1,200 Hectares (3000 Acres) with its own farming company, North Hill Farms Ltd (NHF). The farming company is a progressive commercial business and a full tenant of the Estate employing a Farm Manager, Farm Supervisor and two arable operators with a turnover approaching £2 million pounds sterling and uses a variety of local businesses to supply and service machinery as well as other sundry items.
Being both progressive and commercial doesn’t mean the farming company has lost sight of its environmental responsibilities and at the present time is 3 years into a 10 year Higher Level Scheme agreement with Natural England to improve the bio diversity of the land it manages by creating new habitats and maintaining those already in place.
At the present time the company operates a simple three course crop rotation split in equal parts between Oilseed Rape, Winter Wheat and both Winter and Spring Barley. Investment in machinery, crop husbandry and technology has been considerable in recent years to enable the business to meet its production targets and compete in a volatile world market place.
Today on the farm we see machinery such as tractors, combine harvesters and self-propelled sprayer all making use of GPS technology leading to greater accuracy and efficiency as well as reducing operator fatigue. We are also using this type of technology to aid in the application of pesticides and fertilisers which sees benefits to both the environment and the business.
Within its tenancy NHF has some 210 Hectares (550 Acres) of grassland, mainly as historic parkland and water meadows either side of the Wylye and the Nadder. To utilise the grassland a herd of 120 breeding cows and their progeny rotate around these areas before being housed for the winter period. The herd is ‘closed’ meaning that no cattle other than breeding stock bulls are brought into the group which reduces the risk of disease or other problems entering the herd. Since 2009 the herd has been managed by a third party that means NHF can concentrate on its core arable business whilst buying in cattle management expertise.