The farm is a 640 acre mixed farming business consisting of 250 acres arable, 250 acres pasture and 50 acres woodland. Approximately 40 acres has also been allocated as feed and nesting sources for farmland birds and wild flower margins as part of a Higher Level Stewardship agreement. The farm has a range of soils, from Cotswold brash on the higher ground to heavy clays down by the River Dikler.
At Rectory farm there is currently 200 head of pedigree polled Hereford cattle producing breeding bulls, breeding heifers and high quality beef. We place a big emphasis on the health of the cattle and we have now achieved level 1 status of the HiHealth Herd Care scheme for Bovine Virus Diarrhoea (BVD), Johne's disease, Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) and Leptospirosis. The cattle are fed a predominantly grass based diet grazing pasture in the summer and being are fed silage, straw and small amount of home grown grains through the winter months. We have been working with a Keenan Nutritionist who following analysis of the available winter feed, is able to tailor a feed ration to suit our specific requirements with the aim of improving growth rates and feed uptake efficiency.
There is 250 acres of arable land farmed under a contract farming agreement with Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Partnership growing wheat, barley and oilseed rape in rotation. We are always looking at ways we can improve our sustainability and our efficiency on the farm and we have begun to introduce some red clover leys into the rotation in order to reduce the reliance on manufactured nitrogen and also to provide an additional quality feed source for the cattle. In addition to the clover leys, in 2013 we introduced a technology called ‘Soil Quest’ to map the differences in soil types and nutrient levels across the farm enabling us to tailor our seed rates, fertiliser applications and manure applications based on the exact requirements of different parts of the field. This will see us become far more precise and efficient with the resources that we use on the farm.
SUSTAINABILITY & CONSERVATION
Sustainability and conservation are at the heart of everything we do at Fir Farm and we are always looking at ways we can improve this. The farm is on a Higher Level Stewardship Agreement with the aim of improving farm bird numbers and enhancing the environmental value of the farm. Under the guidance of Vaughan Lewis from the Wild Trout Trust we have also carried out considerable improvement works to the River Dikler to enhance its value for Brown Trout and other river species. We have planted approximately 28,000 trees over the last four years to add to the landscape value of the farm, provide a habitat for the many woodland species found in the Cotswolds and to provide a sustainable fuel source in the future.
We have a large woodchip store which supplies the farm with woodchip for its biomass boiler. We are also looking to supply woodchip to other local biomass boilers so please contact us if we can assist with supplying you with woodchip for your boiler.
We currently have five members of staff who work on the farm,Donald (Farm Manager), Bob (Stockman), Joe (apprentice) and Luke (apprentice). Mike Caunter from the Cotswold Farm Park provides expert livestock consultancy so we can ensure we are always driving the cattle breeding in the right direction and produce the best bulls and heifers possible.