For those within the farming industry, we offer the opportunity to come to a working farm, that combines practical farming alongside conservation.
Practical farming – We strive to run a farm that is both economical and realistic despite constant constraints of price, regulation, time and weather.
We welcome groups onto the farm to discuss current topics affecting their business or the industry.
With this in mind, over the last number of years we have moved towards a greener style of farming.
We currently use a Ford New Holland combine harvester for our combinable crop, allowing us to harvest our crops at the optimum time, both for moisture and quality. Our main crops are wheat, oilseed rape, oats and barley.
The drill and discs allow us to cover more ground, thereby using less diesel but also drilling the crop safely. The drill will plant all of our crops on the farm.
The crop sprayer is used to apply products to the crop. The products help them to grow and protect them from diseases and pests.
We have our sprayer tested and MOT’d to industry standards. This gives us the confidence to apply the products at the proper rate and time. We are members of NROSO and ACCS, which are industry standards.
We have used SOYL Mapping to better control the use of fertilisers. The results are then put onto a digital map format.
This process of mapping out the fields’ dimensions and relaying them to the tractor’s computer helps us to have a more targeted approach to the use of fertilisers, phosphates and potash and avoids wastage.
Recycling Farmyard manures
Farmyard manure (FYM) is used on the fields and also chicken litter. For some this may prove to be a rather pungent smell, but it soon passes!
The major advantage is that it can be applied to the standing crop in early Spring, when the crop needs it and when it can readily absorb the nitrogen that is available from it.
Another major benefit of using FYM and chicken litter is that it greatly reduces our reliance on oil-based fertilisers.
Heating and Solar energy
We have invested heavily in our business over the last 15 years. We were the first to open a conference centre in Herefordshire that is powered by solar panels and a Biomass Boiler using waste wood and cardboard from our farm.
The use of the biomass has reduced our reliance on oil from 100% to less than 10%.
Carbon mileage can also be off-set with the 70 acres of orchards that have been planted on the farm since 2009.
At Lower House Farm, the environment that we have and work within has always been important to us.
In 1999 we joined the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS). This has enabled us to put in new hedges on the farm totalling 2200 metres, which has resulted in a very diverse landscape, with sightings of rare Corn Buntings, Yellow & Grey Wagtails.
These hedging plants are bought from a local nursery and are a mixture of hedging plants like Beech, Ash, Hornbeam, Dogwood, Quickthorn and Spindle.
In 2005 we joined the Entry Level Scheme (ELS). This allowed us to continue with other conservation projects on the farm.
In 2020 we started a new scheme of planting (2km) more of hedging plants to create wildlife corridors.
Grass strips are planted alongside sensitive areas including water courses and hedges totalling 6000 metres.
We have also put in special scrapes in the fields as we are planting the wheat, which provide a nesting place or landing place for birds such as Skylarks.
An Ancient Site
Part of the Hereford to Gloucester Canal
15 years ago we undertook a major project of cleaning approximately 1 kilometre of the Canal that runs through the farm. We reclaimed a stretch of the canal that had lain untouched for 150 years.
This has created a bird-friendly stretch of water that is now inhabited by ducks, tufted ducks, swans, geese, coots, moorhens and other wildlife.
In early 2019 we finished the last stretch of the canal to return it to the same standard as the newly restored section.
In 2009 and 2010 we planted 70 acres of Cider Apple trees for Westons Cider. They are mixed varieties including Dabinett, Michelin, Hastings, Vicky and Gilly. The trees are pruned from December-February and the apple harvest starts in October.
Storage & rentals
Our agricultural storage units are currently full, but should you require storage please contact us.
Silos & Graindrying
We provide storage of animal feed in our 4 silos on the farm. This is complemented by our own Weighbridge
on-site. We dry all our own grain with our Master dryer.
When we were looking into Stewardship, we studied some old woodland and discovered certain varieties of plants and fauna within the wood. We contacted a conservation advisory group who informed us that the species of plants found were only found in ancient woodland. This woodland has therefore been kept out of any wood-thinning programmes for the time being.
Lower House Farm has been in the Parish of Canon Frome for many generations and thus there have been settlements on the farm going back to the Roman times.
The roman fort on the farm has been here since the 1st century AD –AD 600, but remains of worked wood and other materials indicate wooden tools from 3500 BC for fishing. A certain amount of archaeological work has been carried out since the late 1960s – in terms of aerial reconnaissance, auguring and field walking surveys and archaeological observation of limited trenching. The town was possibly called Epocessa and was a local market centre, with evidence of possible industrial activity.
In 2007 a local archaeology company, Border Archaeology (borderarchaeology.com) did a lot of work on the site and others nearby and a wealth of information was found not just here but also on other farms as well.