We run a system that aims to promote healthy soil. We try to minimise compaction, soil disturbance, and are seeking out ways to constantly improve the organic matter in our soils. We do this by running a diverse rotation of crops as well as planting cover crops between harvest and a spring planted crop; This helps aerate the soil, encourage worms, and provide green manure. We include grass fields in our rotation which the sheep graze - not only do they themselves produce manure, but the grass adds to the diversity of our soil health also.
The main crop that we grow is wheat, this is usually planted in the autumn and known as Winter Wheat. It is harvested the following summer (usually between August and September). We tend to grow a mixture of wheat varieties which allow us to supply to Weetabix for their cereals, Warburtons for their bread, as well as local animal feed mills such as Faccenda Chickens or Heygates.
In order to fit in with our aims to keep the land in good condition, our rotation includes Oilseed rape which is grown for its oil and has many uses in the food industry along with it's industrial uses - even bio diesel! You can buy rapeseed oil to use at home for cooking instead of Olive oil – we would certainly recommend it!
The other crops grown at Greatworth Hall include Linseed which is again used for it's oil, beans which are used as a protein source for animals, and barley which again goes for animal feed.
Further to this we have an involvement in Environmental Stewardship Schemes where we provide wildlife margins around our fields and carefully manage our hedgerows.
Currently we have approximately 300 breeding ewes on the farm, we are gradually increasing the flock and hope to lamb all 300 in the late winter/ springtime. Our flock is mainly made up of North Country Mules and Texel X Mules, however, since taking on the running of the sheep flock in 2013, Rosie also bought some Romneys and Suffolk X Mules, and so there are a few of them still in the flock.
The sheep graze the permanent pasture on the farm as well as some grass leys that we take around the arable rotation.
We believe in high standards of animal welfare and do our best to ensure no animal suffers on our farm. Sheep are renowned for having poor feet (this used to be less of an issue when they were run up and down roads in the ‘good ol' days’) and if you see a sheep or lamb limping on the farm do rest assured we are hot on treating foot problems. We shepherd the sheep at least once every day and deal with issues as soon as we can.
The ewes live on the farm for approximately 7-8 years and are only sold when their health declines and they are no longer fit to be mothers. The majority of lambs are either sold through a local livestock market or go to an abattoir that specialises in export.
One of our aims is to increase the amount of farm sold produce as we believe that locally produced grass fed lamb tastes best and we find that many people want to be assured of how their meat has been produced. Therefore we do supply a number of fresh lamb to friends and acquaintances and of course you, for the freezer either as a whole lamb or half depending on preference. All of the meat will come fully butchered, vacuum packed and ready to cook.
It should be clear by now that here at Greatworth Hall we are passionate about knowing how our food is grown and kept. We produce and eat our own lamb, eggs, pork and seasonal vegetables. In addition to this we also source our beef from another local farm. If you would like to source locally produced meat which you can trust has been carefully reared with high welfare standards we would be pleased to sell you some of our produce, or if you would like to know more, please contact us at email@example.com
For eggs and excess garden produce we work out of an honesty box located at the top of our lane which you can visit as often as you choose when the gate is open.