South East Farmer November 2022

Page 35

Farming is changing like never before. The opportunities are out there. CLM offers new ideas with traditional values. • Farm business & estate management • Subsidies & grants • Land sales & acquisition • Planning & development • Natural capital & ecology 01892 770339 ® November 2022Est 1982 ASHFORD CATTLE SHOW Historic 150th show NIGEL AKEHURST VISITS... 700-acre farm and haven for wildlife TO VISIT 89TH NATIONAL FRUIT SHOW ROYAL VISITOR PREVIEW 2022
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a family-run, 700-


in Hankham on the western


When Richard and Lorraine Curteis decided that a pre-owned Albach Diamant 2000 whole tree chipper was just what their forestry business customers needed, they were determined not to be put off by the fact that the 700hp machine they wanted to buy just happened to be in Sweden.


Innovative approach to defrosting cold store


The decision to uncouple from the Massey Ferguson/Fendt/Valtra giant and become a full line Kubota dealer is looking increasingly well thought-out.


NEWS & REPORTS 04 Leading Kent grower sold to international business. 07 Protecting and improving numbers of critically rare Albion cattle. 09 Reader competition. REGULARS 14 MONICA AKEHURST Applying for grants is stressful. 18 NIGEL
VISITS... Nigel visits Montague Farm,
acre farm and haven for wildlife and
livestock based
edge of the 10,000-acre SSSI Pevensey Levels. 22 SARAH CALCUTT Hungry people, unpicked crops. 31 STEPHEN CARR 32 ANITA HEAD 42 NICK ADAMES The bank’s service level has dropped alarmingly. 46 ADVICE FROM THE VET Assisted Reproduction Technologies. NOVEMBER 2022 CONTENTS 24 16 SOUTH EAST FARMER Kelsey Media, The
Downs Court Yalding Hill, Yalding,
Kent, ME18 6AL 01959 541444 EDITORIAL Editor: Malcolm Triggs Email: Photography: Martin Apps, Countrywide Photographic PUBLISHER Jamie McGrorty 01303 GRAPHIC DESIGN Jo MANAGEMENT CHIEF
publishers. Note Cover picture: The National Fruit Show ©Martin Apps, Countrywide Photographic ® 35 In association with 23rd November 2022 Kent Event Centre, Detling, Maidstone, Kent ME14 3JF Register for your FREE ticket to a end at Sponsored by Vitifruit Equipment Sales and Hire 2022 48 ALAN WEST 50 LEGAL 53 LAND AND FARMS FEATURES 16
coolers. 24 LISTER
Historic 150th show.

A leading Kent grower and the UK’s largest processor of fruit for bakeries, desserts and other products has been sold to an international baking, patisserie and chocolate ingredients business.

Fourayes Farm Ltd, based in a 100-acre Bramley Apple orchard in Bicknor, near Sittingbourne, has been acquired by Puratos UK, a multinational organisation based in Belgium with UK headquarters in Buckingham.

Phil Acock, third generation owner, current chairman and managing director of the family business, remains in a non-executive role.

He said: “With 69 years of Fourayes history, the decision to allow Puratos to acquire Fourayes was not one taken lightly. I felt strongly that any business taking over Fourayes should have the same passion, the same family values and the same belief in its people. Then Puratos came along and ticked all the right boxes.”

He said the business would continue to be run on much the same lines but with the added benefits of being part of a multinational company with a turnover of €2b.

The deal was put together with support from the Kent office of MHA, one of the UK’s largest

accountancy, auditing and corporate finance advisory firms, which was asked by Fourayes in April 2020 to support the business with advice on how it could boost its performance.

MHA partner Mark Lumsdon-Taylor worked with Phil Acock and the senior leadership team to put together a financial framework for increased success that ensured that by 2021 the company was in a good position to attract offers from buyers worldwide.

At this point MHA corporate finance brokered a transaction with Puratos, a successful company it felt shared the values, traditions and ethics for which Fourayes was renowned.

James Lawson, a partner in MHA’s corporate finance team, led the transaction with Puratos, with due diligence undertaken by KPMG.

Fourayes is a fruit processor and commercial jam manufacturer which produces ingredients including fruit fillings, industrial jams, diced and sliced English Bramley apples and mincemeat for bakeries, dairies and dessert companies.

Julia Darvill, managing director of Puratos UK and Ireland, said: “We are delighted to welcome Fourayes into the Puratos family and are excited to continue its proud legacy; supporting British

farming, providing farm-to-fork transparency and demonstrating exemplary ESG (environmental, social and governance) practices”.

In a statement on the Fourayes website, Phil, who is also vice-chairman of industry association British Apples and Pears and a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Fruiters, commented:

“As businesses, Fourayes and Puratos are aligned in their goals and they’re both resolute in their dedication to adding value for customers and innovating for good.

“We wholly believe that together we are stronger, and the bringing together of these two ingredient powerhouses has untold potential. I am confident that the synergies between Puratos and Fourayes will unlock further growth and value for our customers and help them to cater to the call for healthy options, transparency, and integrity from increasingly conscientious consumers.” Fourayes’ staff have been told that all their jobs are secure.

Puratos UK has more than 100 years’ experience and services bakers, food industry manufacturers, retailers and foodservice businesses in the UK and internationally. Puratos Group has subsidiaries in 81 countries and sells products in more than 100 countries.


An avian flu “prevention zone” is once again in force across the country in the face of rising case numbers.

The move by the Chief Veterinary Officers from England, Scotland and Wales to declare an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain means all bird keepers are now legally required to follow strict measures to protect flocks from bird flu, including keeping free-range birds in fenced areas and following stringent biosecurity for staff on farms.

It follows an increase in the number of cases of avian flu being detected in wild birds and commercial premises in recent weeks.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 was confirmed in commercial poultry in mid-October at a number of premises, mainly in Norfolk but including one near Billingshurst in West Sussex. A 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone was declared around each of the premises and all poultry humanely culled.

In a joint statement, the chief veterinary officers said: “Bird keepers have faced the largest ever outbreak of avian flu this year and winter brings an even more increased risk to flocks as migratory birds return to the United Kingdom.

“Scrupulous biosecurity and hygiene measures is the best form of defence, which is why we have declared an avian influenza prevention zone (AIPZ) across Great Britain, meaning that all bird keepers must take action to help prevent the disease spreading to more poultry and other domestic birds.

“The introduction of an AIPZ means regardless of whether you keep a few birds or thousands, you are legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements to protect your birds from this highly infectious disease.”



Autumn sunshine welcomed visitors to the West Grinstead & District Ploughing and Agricultural Society’s 151st annual ploughing match and show, held at Field Farm, Dial Post, West Sussex.

It was the first match to be held at the venue, provided by David Exwood and Christ’s Hospital Foundation and described by Society Secretary Rowan Allan as a “wonderful new site in the heart of the society’s area with panoramic views across the Sussex Weald to the South Downs”.

Rowan added: “David and Tom Exwood and their team, along with numerous committee members and other helpers, had prepared a great new host site to welcome the thousands of visitors from a wide breadth of Sussex and adjoining counties.

“There was hopefully something for everyone to enjoy, with nearly 60 vintage and modern tractor and plough combinations competing, along with teams of horses plus an impressive steam engine display next to the old threshing machines.”

Overall Champion Ploughman of the day was William Tupper from Bignor, using a John Deere tractor and Kverneland two-furrow plough, while Gary Rutter from Hampshire was Vintage Champion Ploughman.

“Brinsbury College and other local farmers worked hard at preparing their cattle for the show ring, including calves for the young persons’ handling classes, and there were also a number of sheep classes and the ever-popular children’s lamb handling class won by Janneke Boers.”

The show featured an abundant range of trade stands and exhibits and many local produce stalls, plus a colourful range of domestic and children’s classes alongside the field produce entries.

Harris’ funfair entertained young and old, and in addition to the livestock show the main ring included a falconry display, tractor and plough demonstration and well fought tug-of-war as well as a parade of the Crawley & Horsham hounds. Visitors also enjoyed terrier and ferret racing, a gun dog scurry and a clay pigeon shoot.

Society Chairman Frans de Boer commented: “Thanks are owed to all of the committee and supporters for their hard work in organising a very successful day and a great new site for the match.”

The society is keen to support the local farming community and holds an extensive range of field competitions through the year. Support is provided by donations to charity, a bursary and the society’s Local Schools Education Awards.

Listen to Sir Winston OPINION

Wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill once described democracy as “the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried”.

It wasn’t original, as he himself admitted, but it may have rung true for many readers of this column over the past month, with crisis after crisis ripping through the Conservative Party, the Government and the country.

Sir Winston’s cynicism may have had something to do with the fact that the British people voted him out as PM within months of the end of the second world war, a conflict in which his oratory undoubtedly played a crucial part in strengthening the country’s resolve to defeat Nazism.

Sir Winston was later voted back into power, reassuming the top job in 1951, six years after he left Downing Street rather than the six weeks or so that Boris Johnson spent in the wilderness (or in the Caribbean) before threatening to make his own comeback.

The endless reshuffles will not have helped farmers, particularly those keen to know where they stand regarding the Environmental Land Management schemes that are intended to replace Basic Payments in the increasingly near future.

Eyebrows were raised, to put it mildly, when rumours circulated that Liz Truss – remember her? – was planning to row back on the Government’s environmental commitments, forcing DEFRA to issue a “strong rebuttal” to claims that the flagship scheme was about to be watered down.

Before anyone could get to the bottom of that particular issue, though, the alleged source of the rumour had been forced to resign, as popular as an outbreak of blackgrass in a field of wheat and now replaced by Rishi Sunak in the latest game of musical chairs.

Where we stand now with ELMS, a vital source of income for so many readers of this column, will presumably depend on the thoughts and aspirations of incoming DEFRA Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey, who a week or two ago was, err, something else.

A long-time friend of Liz Truss, we are told, Ms Coffey was elected as MP for Suffolk Coastal in 2010 and is said to be a member of the Campaign for Real Ale, love karaoke and enjoy watching football. That doesn’t give us much of a clue as to her stance on the environment, so I guess we will have to wait and see.

In the meantime, we could do worse than listen again to the advice of Sir Winston: “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

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> President Tim Loughton MP presents Will Tupper with his prizes, including Champion Ploughman


The Royal Agricultural University has made it into the top 10 universities in the UK for ‘best student experience, climbing 14 places from its 2021 rating in this year’s Sunday Times Good University Guide.

The Cirencester university was ranked eighth in the list of the best

universities for student experience, prompting a delighted response from Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter McCaffery, who added: “Earlier in the year we achieved excellent results in the 2022 National Student Survey (NSS) with student satisfaction scores beating even those of the bestperforming Russell Group universities."


2 February 1936 to 24 October 2022.

Bill, who has died aged 86, was educated at Camford School, in Dorset, which was full of farmers’ sons, including his lifelong friend Mike Chambers. It was a good environment for the sporty outdoor boy from Kent.

One of the last to do national service, Bill saw active duty in Cyprus, the memory of which never left him. Post-national service he went on a farming adventure, first to Australia where he cut thistles and transported cattle with his big brother Tim, then on to New Zealand for the hop-picking season. At this point, though, he was called home, his Uncle Stanley having blown the whistle and insisted that one of them come home and go farming at Four Wents and Blue Barn.

Tim, perhaps wisely, said “no fear,” so it was Bill who headed home, via Wenatchee (north west USA) for hops and apple picking and Florida for the citrus harvest.

Stanley Calcutt had helped with the purchase of the land for the Apple Growers’ Association (AGA) site in Horsmonden and Bill soon became an intrinsic part of the managing board, eventually becoming chairman. All the top fruit from his orchards were stored and packed on the site and he became involved at board level with the associated marketing desk SGT.

Bill was always aware of market structures, fair pricing and the need to ensure sustainable investment in farms for the future. Always jokingly referred to as a hop grower who grew a few other things, hops were his real farming passion. He was one of the founding members of Wealden Hops Ltd, which was established after a period of dissatisfaction with existing market structures and an imbalance in sales priorities. Wealden continues to represent all its members fairly and with an open pricing structure, something Bill insisted upon from the start.

Bill was the first UK grower of blueberries after the Trehane estate, winning the Fruiterers’ Medal for Most Meritorious Exhibit of Soft Fruit in 1990. Exhaustive research on the continent led to a careful programme of soil management, in partnership with Simon van de Slikke, to ensure size, colour and flavour.

The blackcurrant sector also benefitted from his strong sense of fair play. One of the few growers who never sold fruit into the Ribena brand, he stepped in when the company rationalised its growing base and served notice to a number of Kent growers, who then needed to find alternative markets for their fruit.

Working with his daughter Sarah, Bill established a direct link with a German

processor and set about creating the Kentish Blackcurrant Growers group. Coordinating loads, bins and quality control activities kept them busy for several years, ensuring that the plantations across the county were sold well and earned a decent return for their owners.

On his return to Goudhurst, Bill had joined the Goudhurst NFU branch, in time twice becoming chairman. Over the years he was a pig steward at the Kent Show and a member of the BEST discussion group, the Gala Club, the European Blackcurrant Growers’ Association and many other local associations. Always one to speak up, he had a knack for asking the difficult question of visiting speakers at meeting and having the courage to say what others might not want to say.

Working into his 80’s, this beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend and mentor was stopped by the cruellest of diseases, dementia.



Albion cattle enthusiasts were treated to a guided tour of the newest part of Britain during an open weekend in early October.

Members of the Albion Cattle Society were taken around the Samphire Hoe nature reserve, a 90-acre site built up from the spoil removed during the digging of the Channel Tunnel, by White Cliffs Countryside Partnership ranger Paul Holt.

The site, now a unique wildlife resource, is used by local farmers for grazing native cattle and sheep, as well as attracting around 100,000 visitors a year.

Society secretary Susannah Mannerings said she had been delighted to welcome members of the group, which is dedicated to protecting and improving the numbers of the critically rare Albion breed, to a weekend that combined business with pleasure.

Those present, from a total membership of just 40, travelled to Kent from as far afield as South Wales, Somerset and The Peak District. After visiting

the Speckles Albion herd Susannah manages with husband Keith at Chilton Farm, near Alkham – and lunching on Albion steer beef and Albion Halloumi cheese – the group held its annual meeting, at which ways of promoting the breed were discussed.

Sunday morning’s visit to Samphire Hoe saw highly entertaining ‘Ranger Paul’ identify numerous plants and bird species that now thrive on the land, as well as talking about the conservation grazing that takes place on the site. He pointed out that from 31 species of plant introduced to the site when it was created in the mid 1990s, the area now boasted some 220 species, including rare orchids.

Susannah’s mother, Dinah Whittingham, started the Speckles herd of Albions in 1993, introducing four correct in type blue cows from the Ryleys herd in Cheshire – then one of only two herds left in the country – to her 17-acre smallholding after the family farm was sold.

Three of the herd later moved to Susannah and

Keith’s former farm near Winchester and proved to be impressive. “Our highest recorded lactation was Speckles Black Joanna, who gave over 8,000 litres in 305 days and also did 12 lactations,” Susannah recalled. The dual-purpose breed is also renowned for the quality of its meat.

Realising that efforts in the 1980s and 90s to get the Albions officially recognised were fading, Susannah took up the challenge following the death of her mother in 2010 and soon found herself at the head of a seven-year campaign that culminated with breed recognition by the Rare Breed Survival Trust in 2018. “The bundle of evidence that made up the application weighed 2kg,” Susannah added.

“We now have 34 pure Albion females plus another 14 Albion cross females along with 10 Albion and Albion cross steers. We also have 10 frozen embryos as well as one embryo implanted in a crossbred heifer,” she explained.

> Cattle grazing at Samphire Hoe
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Win Agrimax Tractor Transmission Oil signed by Guy Martin

To celebrate the launch of an informative new video series featuring Guy Martin, Morris Lubricants is giving two South East Farmer readers the chance to win one of two signed 205ltr barrels of Agrimax UTTO 10w-40 universal tractor transmission oil.

The video series gives end users and distributors in the farming and agricultural sectors an insight into how oil is made and the factors that should be considered when choosing a lubricant supplier.

Morris Lubricants is the UK’s leading, independently owned manufacturer of oils and lubricants, which are sold to 90 countries around the globe, with each product proudly displaying the Union Flag.

In the video series, Guy is taken through the production process by the company’s Technology Manager Adrian Hill. Adrian demonstrates the key areas to be considered when selecting oils and lubricants to ensure maximum emission compliance by protecting after treatment devices while delivering greater component longevity, improved equipment reliability and reduced maintenance downtime.

A heavy goods vehicle mechanic by trade but well known in the farming community as a tractor enthusiast, Guy was eager to discover each stage of the manufacturing process and how oil is formulated to keep mechanical systems lubricated

even in the toughest conditions.

The first episode in the video series highlights the arrival of various high quality raw materials delivered to Morris Lubricants from numerous suppliers based all around the world.

Episode two covers the processes that are conducted in the quality control laboratory, which conducts more than 5,000 tests a month.

Episode three explains the computer-controlled blending process and an eco-friendly ultrasonic technique which has cut blending time from 60 to 10 minutes. The company has the versatility to blend from 200 to 70,000 litres.

Episode four takes viewers to the filling lines, where various packaging formats are used to satisfy the company’s diverse range of customers, while the final episode focuses on storing and shipping products, which all have tamper-proof seals. The company ships oil and lubricants around the globe, with 12 containers leaving Shrewsbury every week.

“After spending time at the factory in Shrewsbury, I now appreciate the science and skill that goes into the oil production process,” said Guy. “I didn't realise the company produced so many different varieties of oil and lubricants.

“It blew my mind when Adrian said that Morris Lubricants ships 12 containers of oil a week to countries as far away as New Zealand, Iraq and China and how much trust their international customers have in the product being made in Britain.”

Adrian added: “Guy was genuinely interested in the process, spontaneous with his comments and amazed by what goes on behind the scenes.

“He was excited by the prospect of trying something new and enjoyed filling a few barrels, capping them and putting the Morris Lubricants seals in place.”

The video series has been launched on Morris Lubricants website and can be viewed at

enter the competition, head to , fill in your details and answer this question: “How many containers of Morris lubricants product leave Shrewsbury each week?”
– 12, 23 or 5? Terms and conditions are on
the website. > Morris Lubricants’ brand ambassador Guy Martin filming with the company’s technology manager Adrian Hill

Retaining Walls

Record high food prices have triggered a global crisis that will drive millions into extreme poverty. The war in Ukraine, supply chain disruptions, drought across many parts of the globe, and the continued economic fallout of the pandemic are pushing food prices to all-time highs. Yet there remains a paradox – whilst we see more of the population go hungry, we still are facing an obesity crisis, which will not improve if people cannot afford healthy and nutritious food.

Against this is the increasing need to reduce the environmental burden of food production that is hampered by more regular climate shocks, making food industry targets challenging. All of this raises a fundamental question: can we really produce nutritious, sustainable food, that we can all afford?

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Unit 6, Martells Quarry, Slough Lane, Ardleigh, Colchester, Essex CO7 7RU 01206 982260 We
food Wed 16 November 6-10pm (Online 7-9pm)
CHAIR Charlotte Smith Presenter on Radio 4’s Farming Today Tom Gribble Local Arable/Dairy Farmer and Trustee of the Society Sheila Dillon Presenter on Radio 4’s The Food Programme Henry Dimbleby Co-Founder of Leon Restaurants and author of the National Food Strategy Judith Batchelar Ex Brand Director of Sainsbury’s @SouthEngShows #FarmingConference WITH THANKS TO OUR GENEROUS SPONSORS MEDIA SPONSOR


The East Kent Ploughing Match is happening tomorrow, It could bring joy or it could bring sorrow. The tractor is prepared, the plough gleaming bright, Driven to the site the day before, to rest there for the night.

The next day bright and early, we set off in good cheer, Full of hope, anticipation and goals that were so clear. With tractor battery reconnected and the petrol then turned on, With optimism the key was turned, what could possibly go wrong?

The engine turned, revs getting higher and higher, But like a match to wet paper, she stubbornly refused to fire.

Then the panic sets in, ploughing starts in a while. I fiddled around and continued to smile. The public passed by – “Having problems, Tim?” All these comments were met with a grin.

Jim and Dennis, they both took a look. Being experts, they don’t need a book. A blocked carburettor jet was diagnosed, But with no tool to fix it, a great problem was posed.

I wandered down to the Ovenden stand, “Has anyone got a tool to undo this to hand?” “I might have the thing”, Simon said, “in my truck. I always use this when I get really stuck.”

A twist of the gadget and out the jet came, Such a small device to take all the blame. A quick blow through, now clean as a pin, The carburettor reconnected, with the jet put back in. A turn of the key, and away she fired, Only five hours late and I was feeling rather tired!

IF (ONLY) she had started when asked right on time, And all had gone improbably well, that trophy could have been mine. The day slips by and it’s time to go, She now starts easily; first time you know. Thought, as I slip her into gear, “Don’t be too disappointed, there’s always next year.”


Dear Sir,

There is only one conclusion I can come to having read the newspapers and absorbed radio and television news over the past week or so and it’s this; the country is short of money.

Barely a day has gone by without some agency or another waving a shroud and telling us how disastrously low on funds it is. Whether it’s English Heritage complaining about how much it is having to spend looking after historic buildings and sites or some agency with environmental responsibilities telling us how it is struggling to discharge them, the story is the same.

And what space is not occupied by such tales of woe is taken up by our scintillating new Prime Minister telling us how she is going to relax the planning rules, presumably so that every hilltop in Cornwall will soon be covered in a forest

of wind turbines, or the Chancellor explaining how he is going to magic cash out of thin air.

Yet nowhere in this debate has the tiny, side issue of food production been mentioned. Well that’s no problem. Food is only the stuff that keeps us all alive, after all.

And anyway, the politicians don’t want you to realise that the level their activities have sent the pound crashing to is bad news for everyone, since successive governments have allowed us to become reliant on imports for around 45% of everything we eat, and therefore food costs are going to go up yet again. That would never do, would it?

I would argue, though as a farmer you would perhaps expect me to, that in the present circumstances we should be worrying less about whether historic buildings which have resisted the pull of gravity for centuries are suddenly going to collapse, and even less about what immeasurably small impact on climate change we can effect by planting more trees, and concentrate instead on making sure everyone has enough food on his or her plate.

Farming interests are currently even less well represented in government circles than they have been for the past 20 years. No one in the higher reaches of the administration seems concerned that farm suicides are running at the rate of three a week – or, indeed, that falling wheat prices combined with soaring costs of inputs are going to leave hundreds of cereal farmers contemplating black holes in their accounts by year-end, with an almost inevitable mass exodus from the sector as the only outcome.

None of that seems to register – or matter.

And the more the issue of food production is allowed to slip down the agenda, the less people will be inclined to think about it - and the less they will worry when the rest of the world starts dumping its third-rate, low-welfare, intensively produced, pesticide-contaminated, genetically modified rubbish on us, thanks to the deals the former Minister for Cheese and her cronies have cooked up.

John Lillywhite, Farmers For Action

Editor’s Note – It is perhaps alarming to note that the reference to “new Prime Minister” should now read “former Prime Minister”, such was the brief tenure of Liz Truss.

© Telegraph Media Group Limited 2022

Social care farmers from six counties met in October for an inaugural networking day at the South of England Showground at Ardingly.

The Social Care Farming organisation brings together farmers who are paid to use farm work as therapy to help people build confidence and learn new skills, and also helps connect farmers with their local communities.

Inter-farm discussions in the morning were followed by a chance to talk to visitors from special schools, local authorities, charities, therapists and land owners about the benefits of social care in farming and how it could be developed further across the region.

Regional network coordinator Stephen Sellers explained: “There is currently a golden opportunity for farmers to take up this commercial diversification. All regions in the UK, not just the South East, are currently struggling with reducing education, health and social services budgets.

“Social Care Farming provides a cost-effective alternative in many cases. Farmers like it as results are rapid, seen first-hand and, of course, the extra income is always welcome."

The event attracted farmers from smallholdings through to multi-site operators


within the region. “A key finding was that all those attending were community minded with a clear willingness to help less experienced colleagues build capacity to benefit the whole region,” said Stephen.

He added: “As an inaugural event, we were more than delighted at the positive way the farmers were prepared to share their experience and expertise openly. As a result, we will be looking to increase collaboration between farms next year.

“Shortly after the event one local council project officer got in touch to say how much they had enjoyed it, and as a result one of the social farmers and I will be talking to them about how we can work together.”

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Farm Expo, now in its fourth year, will be returning to the Kent Showground on 1 March 2023 to showcase the best of farming machinery, goods and services from national and international suppliers.

More than 100 exhibitors are expected to attend this free event to promote the goods and services they offer, with live demonstrations and experts on hand to showcase some of the most innovative products currently on the market.

Guest speakers will share their successes (and failures) and give professional advice on farming and land management related topics.

The headline seminar for 2022, entitled: 21st Century Farming: Evolving in a Changing Landscape covered topics such as diversification, regenerative soil practices, natural capital, and succession. The headline seminar for 2023 is again set to look at major issues facing the agricultural industry, with expert names being lined up to appear on the panel.

Organised by registered charity Kent County Agricultural Society, the team behind Farm Expo is looking to build on the success of the past four years by expanding the number of trade stands and broadening the event’s reach to include more areas of the industry, including countryside pursuits, tools and farming accessories.

Chairman of the Society, Julian Barnes, said: “Farmers have never before faced as many challenges as they do now. With today’s society ever changing, new barriers are thrown up continually, whether it be sustainability, an economic crisis or the lasting impact of Covid-19. Farmers are having to constantly diversify and evolve.

“It is more important than ever that Farm Expo brings farmers the knowledge and innovation needed to help their businesses not just survive but thrive. With the range of exhibitors and other resources on offer, Farm Expo is an important date in the calendar for farmers to meet their peers and

see developments in the industry.”

Farm Expo is currently accepting trade stand applications. There are inside and outside spaces available in varying sizes to suit all businesses. To secure a great space, book by the end of December.

South East Farmer is proud to be the media partner for Farm Expo and will be covering the event in full.


Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex will attend the opening morning of the 89th National Fruit Show at the Kent County Showground on Wednesday 2 November 2022. The Countess will tour the show, meet, and hear from industry leaders including fruit growers and supermarkets and observe The National Fruit Show education team during a demonstration careers session with secondary school age children.

Sarah Calcutt, executive chair of The National Fruit Show, organised by Marden Fruit Show Society, commented: “We are absolutely delighted that Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex will attend the show. Highlights will include meeting fruit growers, industry and retail representatives at a LEAF (Linking Environment

and Farming)-hosted roundtable discussion and observing a demonstration careers session.“

“We are keen to raise the profile of the fruit growing sector here in the UK and in particular to expand the successful careers programme we run which is sponsored by AC Goatham & Son, Avalon Produce Ltd and One Pay.

"We are sharing the message that there is a range of highly skilled careers opportunities in the sector seeking talented individuals.

"Within horticulture there are many exciting, technology driven developments taking place and we are working to bring together fruit growers and the businesses that supply them to create a world leading, stronger and more sustainable sector for the future.”



What value does the government put on food production? Not enough, it seems to me. Today I attended a meeting hosted by the Rural Payments Agency to discuss “the future of farming in Bexhill and Battle”.

The email actually said: “Huw Merriman MP invites you to a round table event hosted by the RPA…” but when I asked Huw Merriman if anyone from the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty organisation had been invited, I was fascinated to hear that he didn’t know who had been invited and that he had not been allowed to see a list of attendees because it would contravene data protection rules. Is common sense lacking in today’s society? I’m thinking ‘rare sense’ would be a more accurate dictionary description.

I went along hoping to find out more about how the Sustainable Farming Incentive is going to work for farmers in real life. It’s difficult to budget ahead with so much uncertainty. It was an afternoon meeting and there were several empty chairs which, on reflection, wasn’t surprising given dwindling

daylight hours and high workloads. I can’t say I left the meeting feeling any the wiser or reassured that the future of farming is secure.

On the positive side, we were told that our feedback would be useful, and both farmers and the RPA spoke openly. Sandy Kapila, customer director of RPA, told us that there are 2,700 people working for the department. I got the impression that he genuinely wants to build a better relationship with farmers; improving communications, deepening understanding and by being fairer and more flexible. The latter should apparently improve as we move from European law to UK law. I hope his aspirations come true, but in these tumultuous, ever-changing times, predicting outcomes isn’t easy.

The deputy head for farming communications for DEFRA made the mistake of saying she didn’t think grants for farming in protected landscapes were applicable to us, prompting an audible gasp from attendees. Huw Merriman was quick to point out that 85% of his constituency was in the AONB (High

Weald) or SSSI (Pevensey levels). Everyone makes mistakes; it would be good if civil servants could acknowledge this and apply less stick and more carrot. Our own experience of applying for grant funding was stressful and has made me wary.

As a beef and sheep family farmer, I want our business to thrive so that we can continue farming. I don’t want to walk away from my home and the land that I love or ditch the animals that graze our land. But, financially, will farmers in this area be able to stay in business?

Civil servants work mostly in cosy offices on a salary with a good pension scheme attached. Contrast that with the life of a farmer, out working in all weathers, with production costs spiraling; we grapple with red tape and jump through hoops to comply with regulations. There’s no quick return or guaranteed income.

Supermarkets want to sell food as cheaply as possible. Farm businesses will not survive if they receive less than cost price. It’s stressful, and reflecting this our industry has a worryingly high


suicide rate. Farming Community Network is only a call away on 03000 111 999 (7am to 11pm).

We now sell some of our produce locally and enjoy interacting with customers, which is a positive experience. But for this to work, preserving rural infrastructures is vital. It’s well documented that small abattoirs are struggling with onerous distortional regulations. There’s talk of making these less burdensome and more workable, but when? We need action from the policy makers now, before it’s too late.

Skilled butchers are in short supply; getting the right labour is a problem. Maintaining local livestock markets is key to complementing sustainable, thriving, rural businesses. If any of these elements fail, the consequences will be disastrous. Keeping it local must be better for the environment.

I’ve plenty more thoughts on this meeting, but for now, enough said; I’ve plenty of autumn tales to tell.

Do you think animals know when you want to go out? I booked to go to our local village harvest supper at 7pm. At 5pm, other half announced: “I’m just popping down the marsh to check the cattle.”

Half an hour later I get a call: “There’s a cow in the dyke. Still alive, can you get together halter, ropes etc? I’ll come back for the JCB, is Nigel back from his Norfolk holiday? Can you alert him, we’ll need his help.”

Our halter had seen better days, so for good measure I chucked aboard an old rope that’s been hanging in the shed for many years; it had been suggested I chuck it out. I collected up the longest crooks and fetched a bucket of cattle feed for enticement and nutritional boost. We set off to find the swimming cow.

I was amazed to see so much water in the dyke; the Sussex cow had only her head and the top of her back above water. Initially she seemed quite perky, and after a few mouthfuls of feed she had enough spirit to take avoiding action when we tried to get a halter on her before demonstrating that she was unable to get out unaided.

Halter successfully attached to cow and JCB, our

first attempt to get her out was thwarted by the halter being shredded. I dashed to the nearest farm to borrow another halter, which looked in pristine order and much thicker. I was convinced it would do the trick, but the second attempt was no better. In desperation we resorted to using the ancient rope, which happily took the strain. Such a relief; we all looked and smelt indescribable, but we didn’t care. After a quick wash and change, we were only 30 minutes late for our meal.

Next morning the swimming cow was amorously cosying up to the bull. My daughter remarked: “I bet they had a lovers’ tiff and he tipped her into the dyke.” Perhaps she’s right; I’m just glad it had a happy ending.

Good news on the TB front; a clear test and we’ve been notified that we can remain on yearly testing. Yippee.

> Zinnia learning about livestock from Grandma > Anna checking cows with Grandad > Rescue mission under way > Halter on, not that she cooperated > She’s out and she’s standing > The swimming cow
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When Richard and Lorraine Curteis decided that a pre-owned Albach Diamant 2000 whole tree chipper was just what their forestry business customers needed, they were determined not to be put off by the fact that the 700hp machine they wanted to buy just happened to be in Sweden.

The couple, accompanied by their daughter, set off on the ultimate road trip to drive the self-propelled monster all the way back to the Curteis Forestry yard

at Boughton Monchelsea, near Maidstone in Kent.

“We have always been committed to providing the best possible service to our customers and that means having the right machinery to do the job, so we drove over to Sweden, bought the machine and drove it home,” explained Richard. “I did have some practice, though – I drove it out of its compound and took it up the road and back for a quick test run before agreeing to the deal.”

> Left to right: Josh Sparrowhawk, Richard Curteis,Lorraine Curteis and Paul Whibley

It may have meant a 750-mile journey at a maximum speed of 50mph at the wheel of a huge machine, but the Albach has proved its worth as the ultimate self-propelled whole tree chipper.

Capable of taking truly impressive sized trees into its jaws, the mighty machine can chip 500 tonnes a day and is an important part of the range of equipment that Curteis Forestry has in its armoury.

The company supplies woodchip to the Kent Renewable Energy Plant at Sandwich and is keen to talk to farmers and landowners with trees that need clearing, thinning or cutting back. Richard and his team – chipper driver Josh Sparrowhawk and loader Paul Whibley – have recently been busy taking previously unmanaged orchard windbreaks back to a manageable size.

With a focus on customer service, many years’ experience and the right equipment in house, the company prides itself on tackling difficult forestry challenges and tree clearance in the commercial sector.

“We are experienced at taking out roadside trees that may be a health and safety hazard, perhaps because of Ash Dieback, as well as managing overgrown woodlands and cutting back field margins to provide the necessary clearance for combines,” explained Richard.

Delivering value for money has always been important to the family business, and since Curteis Forestry has an outlet for woodchip, larger areas of unwanted trees can be removed at little or no cost to the farmer or landowner. Richard’s team will also hire the chipper – and an operator – to farmers who have thinned their own trees but have piles of logs or brash they need cleared.

The Diamant 2000 can chip wood into lower grade 100mm chips for power plants such as the one at Sandwich or finer G50/G30 chips for smaller, domestic scale biomass boilers.

Alongside the chipper, Curteis Forestry operates a 26-tonne Liebherr 916 excavator fitted with a Westtech CS780 tree saw, and a WF-Trac 1700 specialist forestry tractor.

Richard has worked with trees since he left school, having been taken on by Bearsted forester John Mortimer in 1986, a year before the great storm hit the South East. “My parents had run a similar concern, but they were winding it down by then and they thought I should make my own way in life anyway,” Richard recalled.

After learning the ropes with John and seeing lots of changes in forestry, not least the decline in the need for pit props as the Kent coalfields wound down, Richard diversified into arboriculture, working as a tree surgeon and setting up Aspen Tree Services in 1992.

While that business continues to thrive, Richard’s first love has always been forestry, which is why he and Lorraine, who looks after the admin side of both businesses, set up Curteis Forestry.

“I love working with trees and it’s all I’ve ever known,” Richard explained. “I pride myself on delivering a bespoke, personal service and on working with the farmer or landowner to achieve the best possible result. I also like to be hands-on, which is why I’m always out there with the team, not sat in the office!”

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Arriving at Montague farm, I drive up the treelined road and park up in their old traditional farmyard. Walking through the well-preserved cluster of 18th century farm buildings and courtyards, it’s like I’ve stepped back in time. Situated on a hill at the western edge of the Pevensey Levels, the farm enjoys spectacular views across the marshes to the sea beyond.

I find my way to the farm kitchen, where I meet Martin Hole and his wife Gundrada (along with various friends and family members). After a quick coffee we head out on a tour of the farm. As we leave the farmyard in his Land Rover, Martin stops to point out their boundaries in the distance.

“The Pevensey Haven (river) is one of our boundaries and the Pevensey bypass is another,” he said, adding: “Though that is not how a bird sees things.”

Over the past 30 years the family has been fortunate to rent, then buy, adjoining bits of land on the Levels to create a heartland of about 500 acres. A neighbouring block of around 175 acres at Horse Eye (also on the Levels), was rented in 1999, flooded and returned to permanent grass, before being purchased three years ago. “Wader

country,” said Martin.

The economy of the farm has been about nature conservation and running very low input livestock; a closed Romney flock of 550 ewes and suckler herd of 60 cows. It’s an organic, grass only system, with profit hard earned from minimal cost, medium output and high quality, premium markets.

All lambs are sold fat to local butchers, and Montague Farm has long-cherished relationships with Natural Farms at Bodiam, Heath and Son in Eastbourne, Holly Farm and Jacobs Ladder. Typically, 25 to 30 are taken to Tottingworth every fortnight. Martin reflects on the importance not just of his local customers but of the essential presence of the local slaughterhouse.

Cattle are mostly sold fat around 24 months, or sooner, and in recent years have gone to ABP to get their organic premium. If a good offer appears, some may go as stores to local farmers.

As we descend a steep farm track, he explains that the top ground of around 200 acres, with its woods and hedges, is the “engine room” for fattening stock and is used for lambing in the spring and for silage making.

The 500 acres of grazing marsh are part of the

Pevensey Levels SSSI and is “where we really focus on the wildlife” added Martin. With the financial support of Natural England, he has spent the past three decades recreating a “powerful naturalness”.

Where previously there were flat fields of dry grass and linear ditches, there is now a kaleidoscope of varied wetland habitats. These range from herbrich pastures surrounded by scrub and trees (wood pasture) to more open areas of wet grassland, “the big skies beloved of our lapwings” containing large scrapes and reed beds.

“This landscape is powered by the intricate play of water and livestock,” said Martin. As well as digging clumps of scrapes and ponds (everywhere) and new ditches, he has raised the water levels on his land, restoring sluices, syphons and ditch networks, even using a wind pump, keeping the ground wet all year round. “Sheets of water in winter bring in winter flocks of snipe, teal, lapwing and many others, and the receding water-line holds opportunity for the nesting birds as well as floristic and insect diversity ," Martin added.

We drive to the south eastern boundary of the farm and drive up onto a hillock, built with the spoil from a pond Martin dug, next to a footpath. From this

This month Nigel Akehurst visits Montague Farm, a family-run, 700-acre farm and haven for wildlife and low-input livestock based in Hankham on the western edge of the 10,000-acre SSSI Pevensey Levels. Nigel caught up with farmer and naturalist Martin Hole to learn more about his landscape-based approach to farming and why he set up the Pevensey Farmers Cluster Group.
Photos: Montague Farm

elevated position we look out across a 100-acre block of wet fen grassland and reed bed.

“You are looking at 12 fields in this aggregation and they are still fields, as the ditches are still kept as field boundaries, but you don’t see fields anymore. It’s one big landscape. All connected,” he said.

To the untrained eye it might not look like a productive farm, but after seeing the abundance of birdlife and learning about the diverse mixture of flora and fauna, it’s hard not to be won over by this tapestry.

“It’s the landscape of the future,” said Martin, pointing out a group of 300 fattening lambs which are half hidden by the reeds stirring in the breeze.

“We’re not turning the clock back, we’re harnessing really interesting ideas from other nature reserves. We’re speaking to naturalists. We’re constantly speaking to farmers who are on this journey and constantly trying to do it better,” he said.

Martin clearly loves this landscape, but it also makes financial sense, he said. The Countryside Stewardship income he receives from the nesting wader payments is fundamental and comes not by fighting nature by harnessing its processes.



Learning more about Martin’s background (he spent six years working for Philip Merricks helping set up the National Nature Reserve at Elmley in North Kent) it’s easy to understand why nature conservation is at the heart of everything he does here.

Despite his best efforts and an impressive list of over 220 recorded bird species at Montague Farm, numbers of nesting lapwing are down 80%, with fewer than a dozen pairs left on the Levels. “This is a

battle worth fighting,” said Martin, “But it cannot be won without tapping into the much bigger area and a greater number of sites.

“We’re only 5% of the Levels and one small hotspot for breeding birds. Along with a few other farmers and landowners and the National Nature Reserves we need to build what a bird will look down upon as an archipelago of wetlands,” he said. “Nothing less will work”

To help raise more awareness and build this scale, Martin set up the Pevensey Farmers Cluster group in 2018, receiving Countryside Stewardship funding to bring together a diverse community of over 100 farmers and landowners who manage the landscape with traditional low-input sheep and cattle.

The group, which is free to join if you are a farmer on the Levels, has over 60 members, and activities to date have included regular lectures held at the farm by a number of expert speakers on topics ranging from predator control to carbon markets. The group has also visited some interesting projects such as Knepp in West Sussex and Elmley Nature Reserve in Kent.

In addition to the farmer interface, the Pevensey Farmers are also trying to get a better handle on the species present on the site and on population trends. While numbers of nesting birds are a target, water vole recovery is another. “Remoti” mink traps, overseen by the Countryside Restoration Trust and Professor Tony Martin, are spread over the 10,000 acres of the Levels and organised through the group.

Echoing the call of many ecologists, Martin is keen to see land managed to put ‘food for nature’ back into the countryside, as well as producing food for people. The food pyramid, in which creatures such as the water vole form a base, is sound architecture in landscape design, he said, with the myriad creatures existing to strengthen the web of life.


• 700-acre permanent grassland farm (3/4 of which is designated SSSI) which is 90% owned and 10% rented by Martin Hole, his wife Gundrada, daughter Romney and her grandmother Meryl Glessing

• Organic since 1998

• Countryside Stewardship Higher Level Scheme

• 550 Romney Ewes and 60 cross-bred suckler cows

• Lambs sold fat at a premium to local butchers in groups of 25 to 30 every fortnight

• Cattle fattened on 100% grass and sold fat to ABP or as stores

• Martin is chairman of Pevensey Farmers Cluster Group

• Montague Wedding Venue farm diversification launched in 2021

• Three quarters of land is SSSI

• Farm team dependent on a web of craftsmen, neighbours and the extended Walker family

> Lapwing Photo: Martin Jenner


<< “I am happy to claim that the Pevensey Levels are the most bio-diverse wetland in the UK,” he asserted with a gleam in his eye.

Farmers can be the real heroes of this landscape, he said, helping safeguard the ditches and patches of water that are “just teeming with quiet fun”. They also bring the livestock, crucial to the grazed patchwork of grasslands, and a community to this land.

Over the next three years Martin is keen to encourage more farmers in the group to explore different approaches to land management, providing more opportunities for wildlife, as he has done at Montague Farm. He wants to see more hotspots in the landscape, which he believes will help reverse the decline in bird populations and create an even more beautiful and inspiring place, with farmers and wildlife at its core.


Another topic that Martin is passionate about is reducing the use of wormers and fly treatments, something he has worked hard at with the help of Nick Pile from Cliffe Vets. Ewes are shorn twice and receive no wormers or fly treatment (unless they find liver fluke), while cattle are similarly not treated, ideally until they are housed.

For lambs, they take faecal egg counts and push them to get bigger drench intervals. So far the lamb crop has been wormed three times this year, he said, when traditionally they might have been drenched seven times by now.

“We have weaned ourselves off all routine drenching,” he said, highlighting the catastrophic loss of insects in the countryside and resistance problems, while admitting that this approach does carry greater risk.

He also points to the negative impact of wormers on dung beetles, “perhaps a greater creature than the earth worm”, which play a vital role in the fertility of our soil as well as being at the heart of a fascinating ecology. “Think of the yellow wagtail,” he enthused, “picking fleas out of a hippo’s eyelashes in winter then feeding in our dung pats in the autumn. One of the fastest declining birds in Britain. We simply have to act.”

Fen Raft Spider Photo: Evan Jones
> Great
Crested Newt
> Green Winged Orchid >
Dung Beetle


Before heading back to the farmyard, Martin takes me to see their outlying block of 175 acres at Horse Eye just down the road from Montague Farm. Formerly well-drained arable land, the area presented yet another variation of the marsh, wide open spaces and ‘big sky’.

It is now home to their herd of 60 sucklers and followers, who seem very content grazing alongside cattle egrets - a bird I had never seen before. In a similar approach to Montague Farm they have dug scrapes and raised the water levels by breaking up existing drains and blocking outflows to lower ground.

As a result it is now their best habitat for winter wading birds, with large undisturbed pools of open water attracting breeding pairs of lapwing and redshank along with hundreds of ducks and thousands of snipe. “It’s an impressive sight in winter,” he said.

It shows what can be done in a short space of time, and Martin has big plans for part of the block, which is covered in rushes. He’s joined a co-operative bid with the Sussex Wildlife Trust for biodiversity net gain (BNG) funding to transform the field by creating a large reed bed. He hopes to get the green light next year.

As we head back up the hill to the old farmyard, we stop briefly to check out their modern farmyard and handling facilities, where his cattle spend the winter in large airy barns and are fed on a diet of hay and silage.

Moving on, we arrive back in the yard and I notice their newly converted wedding barn, a former cattle shed. Although a large investment, it is an essential part of the future, replacing the disappearing single farm payment, which represented a large percentage of farm profit.

Building on the beauty of the views across the beloved marshland, most importantly it has also allowed their youngest daughter Romney to move back to help run the wedding business and get more involved in the farm. “Having the next generation involved is one of the best outcomes of everything that we’ve done,” Martin commented.

Leaving Montague Farm I feel I have a better understanding of the incredible Pevensey Levels. I feel inspired, and make a mental note to myself to pay closer attention to the different flora and fauna on the bits of land we farm. It’s also given me the perfect excuse to borrow dad’s digger to create my first scrape!

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In the past week some startling figures have been shared with the national press. They show that 800,000 children need school meals as they don’t eat in the middle of the day because universal credit, for many, doesn’t allow for this expenditure; that 750 people a day are being referred to food banks by the Citizens Advice Bureau; that 820 million people on our planet don’t have enough to eat.

And yet our crops are being left unpicked, for two fundamental reasons; we don’t have the people to pick them or its uneconomic to do so as prices paid have fallen below the cost of production for many categories of produce. We are not alone. Philippe Binard and Freshfel released startling figures on the economic state of fresh produce production across Europe this week, too, with a focus on the impact of a €6,8 billion energy price hike facing growers, from orchards through to the point of departure from packers.

A third of food produced globally is lost or wasted between production and consumption around the world each year and we are truly in a global nutritional crisis. In the UK we have a real need to change our approach to the cosmetic appearance of produce, something that has echoed through my whole working life as increasing proportions of produce are rejected at the packing stage as not

conforming to cosmetic standards.

Any surplus that doesn’t have a retail sale often goes to power generation. It could also be sent to a surplus food distribution charity, like City Harvest. Supported by many city and financial leaders, like Rabobank, produce is collected from packers and growers and redistributed to hundreds of charities feeding thousands of people.

We all know, of course, that the role of a ‘wonky’ or class two pack as a marketing and sales tool is not as a profit maker. There is a precarious balancing of the proportions of an order to ensure that there is enough at the top end to balance the giveaway at the bottom.

Given the time, effort, ingenuity and money being invested in improving productivity and quality, we are reaching a point where many growers can optimise every square metre of their fields and orchards and produce food at a profit, albeit marginal.

There is a wave of valuable data heading towards the industry, a real, granular, level of detail that will transform production and inform decision making. The first generation of these cost management systems was the Knight Tustian ‘make apples pay’ programme, a significant part of the reason why I have worked for growers rather than as one over the past two decades.

I know that growers, like me, want our country to be productive, to have the health of the nation at the forefront of business plans, and to see food security as a key part of a national health strategy. They believe that our environment should be managed for the regeneration of soils and the restoration of a beneficial rural environment (with carbon credit farming recognised for its role in rural business) and that its significant contribution to the economy should be recognised as a priority.

Please head to this year’s National Fruit Show, where we will have a strong panel debating these issues. We will also have the recruitment firms that are working hard on your behalf at the show, giving you the opportunity to share your thoughts with them. You can also meet the team from City Harvest.

Also at the show will be the Max and the Beanstalk Global broadcast team, so talk to them and take the opportunity to influence policy, to support the Government in changing food and farming policy.

Join the Rural Policy Group debate at 2pm chaired by Countryfile’s Tom Heap and featuring panellists including Philippe Binard from Freshfel and WAPA (World Apple and Pear Association), who will be giving a global perspective on the challenges faced overseas.

SARAH CALCUTT Executive Chair, National Fruit Show > City Harvest's Rabobank van in action, with Rabobank UK CEO Will Jennings


It has never been more important for businesses large and small to be energy efficient, both to highlight their environmental credentials and, increasingly, to offset the huge rise in energy costs currently affecting all consumers.

It’s an area that’s always been important to the team at Orchard Cooling Ltd, the Langley, Maidstonebased refrigeration company with a sustained focus on delivering the most efficient equipment possible.

In a move that now seems to have put the experienced team well ahead of the game they developed and trialled an innovative approach to defrosting cold store coolers some four years ago.

The warm fluid defrosting system, now fully up and running and tweaked even further ‘in the field’ over the past few years, uses air source heat pump technology which cuts the cost of defrosting coolers by as much as 80%.

“When the system was first introduced, we calculated that switching to air source heat pump defrosting could save close to £8,000 per year based on an eight-store set up. Given the huge rise in energy prices since then, that figure will have changed dramatically,” explained Orchard Cooling’s Paul Kennett.

“Suppliers like fruit growers and wineries have always had ambitions to be energy-efficient because it’s what the supermarkets expect, but these days saving money by using less energy is critical in a far more fundamental way.”

Not surprisingly, Orchard Cooling’s expertise in refrigeration and associated electrical work has seen the company continue to grow over the past year, working on major contracts with two of the South East’s largest suppliers of supermarket fruit.

Both AC Goatham & Son and Mansfields have asked Orchard Cooling to carry out extensive projects over the past year, reflecting the confidence that the industry has in the company’s experience, knowledge base and attention to detail.

At the Flanders Farm headquarters of AC Goatham

& Son the team provided a secondary refrigeration system for a new distribution depot that included a racked chill store, chill distribution and warehouse. A second project for the same company saw Orchard Cooling commission 31 controlled atmosphere stores at Swanton Farm, near Sittingbourne.

As well as the refrigeration, the company was responsible for all the electrical wiring, mains control panels and switchgear. “We looked after the complete electrical fit out once UK Power Networks had supplied the power to the building,” Paul explained. “We find a lot of clients like the fact that we can do the rest of the electrical work as well as the refrigeration.”

Orchard Cooling’s steadily growing client base, which is based to a large extent on repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations, is particularly impressive for a company that was only set up in March 2017, although in bringing together former International Controlled Atmosphere (ICA) employees Sean Macoy, Rob Burbridge and Dave Reynolds it came from pedigree stock.

At Mansfields, based at Nickle Farm, Chartham, near Canterbury, Orchard Cooling was asked to retrofit a new, energy efficient upgraded refrigeration system in a distribution store that had been commissioned in 2008.

“The work had to be carefully phased because the store had to be kept running throughout the changeover to the new system,” Paul commented.

While supporting the larger players in the top fruit world, Orchard Cooling is also making its mark among smaller businesses in the rapidly expanding

world of viticulture.

The company was asked to install refrigeration equipment for Everflyht Wines based at Ditchling in East Sussex, an independent vineyard run by Ben and Sam Ellis and their three daughters George, Ollie and Eva.

Over in Hampshire they provided the refrigeration for a large caged wine store and barrel store cooling for the Burgess Field winery at Itchen Stoke, near Alresford. With reputation, as always, playing a large part in obtaining repeat business, Paul revealed that had been the fourth installation carried out for the same main contractor.

While the more recent contracts have been with newer entrants in the world of viticulture, Orchard Cooling has in the past installed chilled storage for well-known names including Hattingley Valley Wines and Itasca Winery.

Orchard Cooling also has an in-house service and maintenance team that can provide out-ofhours backup when required and focuses on using eco-friendly secondary refrigeration systems. The company can also still install direct expansion (DX) refrigeration systems using modern, more efficient refrigerants.

“We pride ourselves on offering a bespoke, customer-focused solution to all our clients, whether they are well-established names or newer faces,” explained service director Sean Macoy. “We offer a full range of refrigeration and electrical services and we are always looking for ways to make systems more efficient to keep our clients’ costs down."



There were more than a few raised eyebrows when Lister Wilder made what many saw as a brave choice to embrace Kubota’s agricultural offering and move away from the big name AGCO brands.

Today, though, the decision to uncouple from the Massey Ferguson/Fendt/Valtra giant and become a full line Kubota dealer is looking increasingly well thought-out. Not only has the company – still a family business at heart – increased its workforce from 125 people to 180 over the past 18 months, but it has bought new premises and opened two new branches to support a rapid expansion.

“When we moved just up the road from the old Drake & Fletcher premises the company had been trading from since opening in Kent in 2009, the idea was that we would sell that building,” explained Ashford branch manager Tim Cottrell.

“Just a year or so after unveiling the new, larger, premises, though, we found we were already in need of more space – so not only did we keep the old premises, but we bought a 12,600 sq ft building nearby and have turned it into a modern, purposebuilt workshop to serve our farmer customers.”

With the two sites just a few hundred metres apart, Lister Wilder can offer a second-to-none

service to farmers across the county, providing sales, service, parts and aftercare in airy, modern surroundings. While the new workshop offers modern service bays, Lister Wilder also has 65 mobile engineers out on the road looking after agricultural customers that need machinery repaired on farm.

The rapid expansion reflects Lister Wilder’s experience and customer focus as well as the increasingly well-respected Kubota range of agricultural machinery, which is based on an extensive range of small to medium-sized tractors that are ideally suited to the scale and activities of many Kent farms.

“It’s been a very busy summer,” commented Jay Broster, agricultural sales manager for north and west Kent. “Our demonstration tractors have been flat out on farms across the county, with the Kubota M6 and M7 ranges attracting a considerable amount of interest."

While Lister Wilder has only had a presence in Kent for the past 14 years, the business is well known and highly respected across the west of the country, having evolved from Tractors & Farm Aids, founded by George Scott as a Massey Ferguson dealership in Reading, Berkshire, 75 years ago.

The business has grown steadily since, and the full-line Kubota range now on offer from the Ashford dealership has given Lister Wilder coverage right across the region, with branches in Cirencester and Bristol as well as Ashford and Reading.

With a number of different models available in each of four ranges – from M4 to M7 - Kubota’s choice of tractors runs from 65hp to 175hp, with the high-end model featuring a choice of continuously variable (KVT) or powershift transmission, a 12-inch screen, GPS, front axle and cab suspension, air brakes and all the ‘bells and whistles’ normally found on a top-notch tractor.

Kubota also has considerable heritage in electronics and control systems, particularly Isobus, since the company owns Kverneland, which invented the technology and is able to ensure its own tractors remain at the cutting edge of it.

The manufacturer’s links with the leading agricultural implements company means that the Kubota range of grassland equipment reflects the quality build expected from Kverneland, while the M7 tractors benefit from a ZF transmission that is an ideal match for its highly regarded in-house powerplants.

Fruit growers across the region are well catered

> Left to right: Toby Bennett, Head of Agricultural Sales; Jay Broster, Area Sales Manager; and Phill Hughes, Sales Director

for with a range of tractors, from the M5 narrow to Kubota’s B Series, which has an entry level 18hp model and is specifically designed for orchard use and soft fruit tables.

Lister Wilder’s other franchises include Merlo telehandlers, Bomford flails, toppers and hedgecutters, Kockerling cultivation equipment, Yamaha quad bikes and Kubota’s own range of RTVs – rough terrain vehicles.

As a full-line dealer, Lister Wilder now supplies Kubota engines as well as the full range of

agricultural, groundscare and construction machinery, all in that striking orange colour scheme that is becoming increasingly recognised across the region as the manufacturer continues an aggressive campaign of growth.

“Kubota has a reputation for reliability and build quality and is working hard to build on the existing agricultural range. We are delighted to be sharing in that growth and are adding customer service and great aftercare to the mix,” commented head of agricultural sales Toby Bennett.

“Kubota tractors benefit from the latest and best technology, from the globally renowned Kubota power plant to their own or ZF’s tried and tested transmissions, all controlled using in-cab technology at the forefront of agricultural development. Reliability is Kubota’s ultimate goal.

“We made what some called a bold decision 18 months ago – but as the future unwinds we are showing that it was absolutely the right decision. Kubota is the agricultural machinery range of the future – and Lister Wilder will be part of that future.”

JOIN THE TEAM If you are looking to join a friendly family business, then email Karen today to find out more. CAREER OPPORTUNITIES KUBOTA GOLD PLUS DEALERSHIP INDUSTRY LEADING PAY RELOCATION PACKAGE FULL MANUFACTURER TRAINING EXPENSED VEHICLE We are currently celebrating our 75th anniversary in Agriculture and we are delighted that the team is still going from strength to strength. We are now looking to bring another four people into the one hundred and eighty strong team - An Agricultural Engineer, Parts Advisor, Agricultural Demonstrator and Agricultural Sales Representative ... all of whom would be based at our Ashford branch.

a £7m investment to further enhance facilities at the farm and beyond to ensure students are exposed to the latest cutting edge technologies, including robotics in the dairy and a brand new state of the art high welfare and RSPCA assured pig unit. Coupled with this, the college’s new farm shop and café open in Brighton this summer, providing the perfect opportunity to demonstrate and educate students in every aspect of the supply chain relating to British produce.


While schools can offer young people valuable skills, they differ from real-life industry experience. Understanding how the industry works can be invaluable. The information our students gain from work experience can help them make informed decisions and find the right career. It can also provide useful insights into the mechanics of the world of work, helping students prepare for their future careers.

A strength is something we are good at and like doing. All of us have some strengths, as well as certain areas we may struggle with. Work experience can be an excellent way to identify the type of work that suits our students best.

For example, they may find that they enjoy livestock husbandry work, which may have a focus on welfare, nutrition and breeding. This work requires an eye for detail and an understanding of the main livestock husbandry and welfare principles. On the other hand, you could find that you love arable work, requiring a commitment to learning about plant husbandry and cultivation. Work experience helps students narrow down their

strengths and find areas they may need to work on and improve.

In addition, it is common knowledge that employers prefer hiring people who they know in a professional capacity. Indeed, this is an excellent hiring approach, as it allows a business to minimise recruitment risks.

A successful work experience placement puts students in a perfect position to apply for a permanent role and gain a valuable skill set in addition to all important references when applying for employment.


Faye is a returning student just starting her third year Extended Diploma in Agriculture.

“I have found my middle-year work experience time invaluable, learning new skills and building on what I learned in my first year at college. I worked at Langrish Farmers in Rye, focussing mainly on sheep and beef. Both aspects were beneficial to me in developing a clear understanding of their production cycle and key events within the farming calendar.

“I found the beef experience particularly useful,

Up to £35k per annum

and I have become very motivated to learn more about the different systems available and the strengths of each. I am also aware that not all systems are suitable for every farm and extensive and intensive systems have their place.

“I also worked at Ashford Market on Fridays, which gave me a real insight into the production of livestock for sale and opportunities to talk to producers about the livestock they produced, production systems and breeds. It was good to meet a range of producers and to understand the challenges they are currently facing within the industry and the effects of the very dry summer.

“On returning to college we continued with a range of specialist lectures, particularly in dairy and livestock production, as I have chosen to complete the livestock option as a third year returning student. I have found it to be a really positive experience to be back and to work with my class on projects and attend visits together, for example, to the Dairy Show at Shepton Mallet in Somerset, which was really informative. We are also going to Paris in early November to attend SIMA Agriculture trade show.”

NOVEMBER 2022 | WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET 26 Visit to study a range of fantastic land and environment courses
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With trade stands up by a remarkable 40% to an impressive 112, the Vineyard and Winery Show will once again reflect the heartbeat of the growing viticulture industry in the UK, as well as offering a chance to taste 100 expertly chosen wines.

The huge line up of exhibitors will again cater for the expected make-up of show visitors, with lots on offer both for established growers and those who are looking for the support they need before planting their first vines.

“At one of last year’s seminars, the speaker asked the audience how many of them had established vineyards, and half the hands in the room went up,” recalled Jamie McGrorty, publisher of Vineyard Magazine, joint organiser of the show. “Then he asked how many were thinking about entering the industry – and the rest of the audience put their hands up.

“This year’s show will build on the success of last year’s event, which was the first ever, by bringing together a broad range of experts and suppliers who can help established growers improve their product but can also provide early days advice and support for those who are just starting out.”

It may only be year two for The Vineyard and Winery Show, but the event has already established itself as the must-visit event of the year for long-term growers and those who are hoping to join them in making the most of the ideal conditions in England and Wales for growing grapes and making wines.

The 2021 event, described by Jamie as “unbelievably successful” saw the organisers run out of the special bags and tasting glasses

provided to visitors within about three hours of the doors opening at 8.30am.

The seminars, with seats for 160 people, were all fully subscribed as an estimated 2,000 people attended the show, which – as this year – was organised by Vineyard magazine in association with WineGB and with the support of a generous line-up of sponsors.

Organisers are expecting this year’s event, which takes place at the Kent Event Centre,

NOVEMBER 2022 | WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET 28 It’s back – and promises to be bigger and better than ever! This year’s Vineyard & Winery Show on 23 November will again feature great wines, unbeatable networking opportunities and a not-to-be-missed chance to catch up with what’s new in the industry. Who should a﬙end? ◆ Viticulturists and vineyard owners ◆ Winemakers ◆ Viticulture suppliers (vines, trellising) ◆ Packaging suppliers (bottles, labels, corks, cases) ◆ Vineyard machinery and equipment suppliers ◆ Winery machinery/equipment suppliers ◆ Companies that supply winemaking sundries and supplies (yeasts, nutrients, cleaning products) ◆ Winery services (contract winemaking, contract bottling) ◆ Labour providers ◆ Business services (marketing/PR, legal, insurance) ◆ Retail, wholesale or wine trade ◆ Soil and plant health companies ◆ Students and educational organisations ◆ Consultants ◆ New entrants to the sector Vitifruit Equipment Sales and Hire

Detling, from 8.30am to 4pm, to smash last year’s attendance figure, with up to 3,000 expected to take the opportunity to hear from the experts, get the lowdown on industry innovations and chat with like-minded people.

The show will again be based around a central tasting area featuring no fewer than 100 of the country’s top wines. This year’s selection has been especially chosen to include all the grape varieties and styles available to UK growers.

“This has never been done before,” said Jamie. “The idea is that this complete cross section of styles and regions will educate and inspire producers, helping them to decide which varieties and styles to choose while at the same time benchmarking their current vintage.” The wines feature many medal winners from some of the best-known vineyards.

This year’s seminar programme, fully hosted this year by WineGB, once more offers an impressive range of speakers on a variety of relevant topics and is again likely to be ‘standing room only’ for latecomers.

“The beauty of the show is that it brings together a really good mix of people who can share ideas and provide inspiration for newcomers to the industry alongside detailed technical knowledge for those with more experience. Its success, demonstrated by last year’s attendance and the fact that this year’s trade stand allocation is already sold out, highlights the huge potential the industry has here in the UK,” said Jamie.

Another feature of the 2021 show that is returning by popular demand is Matthew Jukes’ unmissable masterclass. The world-renowned wine writer and Vineyard columnist will again be conducting a structured wine tasting starting at 1pm and priced at just £20 per person.

Spaces are limited to 120 people who will enjoy sampling six wines selected by Matthew, who will explain why he feels each one is special and deserves a space on everyone’s wine rack. The six wines chosen are 21 Kin (Kinsbrook Vineyard), 2021 Vagabond Rosé (Yew Tree Vineyard), 2021 Penny Red (Halfpenny Green Wine Estate), 2015 Cuvée Boz (Sugrue South Downs), 2014 Blanc de Noirs (Wiston) and 2018 Blanc de Noirs (Gusbourne).

Matthew, who regularly lectures, judges,

Don’t miss out

Network with the key players in the UK wine industry

Meet with industry experts

Learn the cutting-edge technology and see demonstrations of the latest machinery

Take part in Matthew Jukes tutored wine tasting. The world-renowned wine writer and columnist Matthew Jukes will present 6 still and sparkling wines. Tickets are £20 and the proceeds are donated to the Drinks Trust charity. (Numbers are limited to 120 – so book early!)

the Wine Hub and taste some the UK’s best wines – up to 100 different wines available to try on the day

the WineGB seminars – Expert speakers will cover viticulture, winemaking and marketing topics –aimed at new entrants to the industry as well as those already established

some of the biggest names in the industry such as Core Equipment, Hutchinsons, Vitifruit, Berlin Packaging, Royston labels – and many more

speaks at wine conferences and runs masterclass tastings for both corporate and private clients all over the world, is looking forward to this year’s show. “I absolutely love meeting winemakers and growers at The Vineyard & Winery Show,” he said. "Last year’s event was an overwhelming success; it felt like the whole industry was there. I’m glad to be part of it again.”

Main sponsors for this year's show are Berlin Packaging, Hutchinsons, Royston Labels, Vitifruit Equipment, and new for this year Core Equipment.

Other businesses supporting individual events include seminar sponsors Ferovinum, gift bag suppliers Rankin Bros, wine glass providers Urban Bar and Rainbow Professional, sponsors of Matthew Jukes' masterclass. Free coffee will be on offer throughout the day courtesy of OnePay and AG Recruitment.

This year will see the introduction of trade stand awards, with the winners receiving wines presented in a special six-bottle wine box created to promote the show by cardboard packaging experts W H Skinner.

Also new for this year is an after-show dinner jointly organised by Vineyard Magazine and WineGB. The Great British Wine Festival will give visitors and exhibitors a chance to catch up and relax after a busy show day. Tickets cost £75 +VAT, with tables of 10 available. The evening will feature live music, a three-course dinner and, of course, excellent UK wine.

For more information contact Angelina at WineGB on 01858 467792 or email Tickets can be booked at


The Vineyard & Winery show will be an unmissable event for anyone working in viticulture and wine production in the UK. The show takes place on 23 November 2022 at the Kent County Showground, Detling, Kent.

Organised by Vineyard magazine and supported

by WineGB, it will be an invaluable opportunity for all viticulturalists, winemakers, suppliers and the trade to come together. There will be a packed programme including a series of seminars from WineGB, tastings of the UK’s top wines, lots of machinery and equipment to see – as well as the

opportunity to network with peers.

To register for your free ticket go to Eventbrite via the Vineyard & Winery show website

◆ Visit
◆ Attend
◆ Join
23 NOVEMBER 2022



I usually write this article about a week to 10 days before it is published. That means I have to be prescient at best and lucky at worst, if my forecast proves to be correct by the time you read it. If we are talking about fundamentals I stick by my “three out of five” predictions, which I usually get right. However, recent extreme rapid changes, whether in our government, currency or Ukraine means that anything you write down can be instantly historic or wrong within 24 hours!

I would describe our current trading climate as having the same tune, but with lyrics that are changing all the time. That is to say, the backdrop narrative is that we still have enough grain in the UK to meet our domestic needs and have to export the surplus. How much? I hear you ask. Well, the AHDB is suggesting that, based on the second-best yields of all time, we have a 15.6 million tonne crop of wheat, which is more than many trade estimates, so that could mean at least a million tonne surplus.

To counter that, the UK had shipped about 400,000 tonnes by the end of September and, being the cheapest European source behind the Ukraine, we are busy making feed wheat export sales well into the new year. All of that surplus should go, maybe even by the end of December.

The other familiar old tune is the hokey cokey of whether or not Putin will close the export grain corridor from Ukraine. One minute he’s going to, because he thinks that weapons used to destroy the Kerch Strait bridge came through the corridor, then he’s not. Also cited are sanctions which cause problems with delayed payments, shipping, insurance etc, but most of all it’s because it would disrupt trading in the west and ensure that Ukraine does not receive money from exports which it could use to buy weapons.

I think Russia will close the corridor, and even though the trade should expect it, it won’t stop the wheat futures spiking up by £10 a tonne when it does. Meantime the bombing of sunflower storage tanks in the port of Nikolaev, together with the rocket and drone attacks on Kiev, indicate no let-up in the conflict. So Ukraine remains a game changer still.

For the UK, supply and demand for our ethanol production is another big swing factor. There have been recent rumours that one or both of the plants could cease production in the new year. If that happened, you could add another 800,000 tonnes of lost demand to the wheat surplus. That could tip the balance and make the disposal of the UK wheat surplus more difficult before next harvest.

Apart from this main concern, there are too many world side shows taking place to name them all. At another time the absence of China and Saudi Arabia from making big purchases of barley would make alarm bells ring. The expected slipping into recession and energy crises all presage a reduction in demand for everything we produce.

I will continue to sing my same song in that the UK has had a great year of production, despite which prices are still at historical highs, apart from the wartime values six months ago. So if you need to sell more in November or December, get on with it – and try to catch the spike when the corridor is closed.

If you have the money and storage, you can play the longer game with wheat for February to July, not least because Ukraine may only be able to plant 50% of its normal wheat crop and other Eastern European or Balkan countries may only plant 75% of theirs because they don’t have the fertiliser. This would not only have an impact on the 2023 harvest market, but the remainder of 2022, too.

By the time you read this, the UK will have a new Prime Minister. I wonder what odds I would get if I placed a double bet for a new Russian President at the same time?

Meantime I will return to polishing my crystal ball.


The autumn dust has now settled on an extremely eventful arable farming year. Most of the economic turbulence, of course, has been due to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. But where does the upheaval in input and arable commodity prices caused by the war leave the economics of growing combinable crops in my thin and flinty corner of East Sussex?

Arable farming has been under pressure from increasing costs for most of this century, but nothing compares to the madness we’ve witnessed this spring and summer. At points, ammonium nitrate and urea touched £1,000 per tonne, while phosphate and potash prices also rose significantly. Agri-chemicals (if you could source them) and red diesel costs skyrocketed in similar fashion.

AF, a farmer-owned cooperative and the UK’s largest farmer buying group, recently published its Aginflation Index, which confirmed the unprecedented record increases in arable farm input costs over the past 12 months. To September 2022, cereal and oilseed rape production costs increased by a staggering 40%.

From those figures, one might conclude that combinable crop production has become unprofitable but, as we are all well aware, our inflated costs have been more than matched by the surge in the value of arable commodities. Feed wheat touched 330p/tonne in May (up from 200p/tonne a year earlier) and rape seed doubled to 900p/tonne from 450p/tonne. New crop values also remain strong across the board, with spot feed wheat currently worth about 270p/tonne, barley 250p/tonne and field beans 300p/tonne.

So, at the beginning of a new growing season, my arable farming prospects look brighter than they have done for several years, but such has been the turmoil of this rollercoaster ride that I confess to being a little giddy. Nor am I sure that the ride is even over. Who’s to say that, with a world recession now predicted, demand for grain for livestock feed might not take a hit and lead to a collapse in grain prices?

What is also keeping my feet on the ground are other statistics in the AF Aginflation Index. I currently run 100 suckler cows and 600 ewes. Inflation in costs for those enterprises has been 34% while, unlike cereals, there has been little or no increase in the price of lamb or beef.

As the AF press release puts it: “The gap between increased costs to consumers and the actual costs of production is widening, with serious shortfalls for beef and lamb.”

So, while I’m trying to enjoy the current improvement in the profitability of my arable farming, I’m haunted by the realisation that those profits could easily be used to subsidise the mounting losses from my beef herd and sheep flock.

And they wonder why farmers are never happy.

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Gosh, as I sit to write this article, we appear to be quite a depleted family. Fergus has taken the opportunity to travel ‘down under’ to work on a huge family farm in Western Australia and help with the harvest. He is based 400km east of Perth in the heart of the wheatbelt. I’m sure it’s an opportunity of a lifetime for him.

University life was somewhat marred by Covid-19, so I’m convinced he will make the most of this opportunity. The farm he is working on is a mere 9,500ha and he will be driving a combine for them. He managed to meet a couple of guys on his flight who are working for Shelbourne Reynolds Engineering and were going out to Australia to carry out maintenance on stripper combine headers; it’s a small world.

When I dropped him off at Heathrow (and I must confess to not being the greatest at goodbyes) you could spot the country lad a mile off. Currently it’s 32° out there and rising.

Monty has been on a geography field trip to Iceland and managed to take a plunge in The Secret Lagoon, see the Northern lights and visit a geothermal power station. He’s also had a fantastic time.

We welcomed him back with open arms as he’s got rather big boots to fill in the next few months. Fingers crossed Fergus doesn’t like the Australian lifestyle too much and decides to reappear back

at home in the next few months, too, as we are currently feeling like we’ve lost our right hand man.

The agreement before he could leave was that most of the drilling was complete and, true to his word, he worked all night for many nights.

Life back at home has been continuing at a fast pace as usual and Mr Grumpy is now back in charge of the arable side of things. This side of life will now quieten down, while the dairy continues 365 days a year. Climate check for our milk company has also been completed; being a mixed farm has become advantageous, or so it would appear.

There is a growing realisation that as dairy farms expand they become increasingly reliant

on purchased feed and can struggle to manage the amount of manure produced by a larger herd. Meanwhile arable farmers are becoming increasingly interested in improving soil condition using organic manures.

One way forward is for arable and dairy farmers to work together to share waste products such as straw and slurries, transferring nutrients to the places that they are required, such as arable fields. This collaboration can cut costs for both enterprises and avoid nutrient leaching and damage to the environment.

The advantages of this kind of collaboration in which both farming systems complement each other include:

• Allowing farmers to keep fields under continuous production

• Increasing the per capita profitability

• Reducing dependency on external inputs and costs

• Protecting the environment

• Enhancing the farm’s productivity.

Outside our own news, the world appears to have gone mad. I thought I might leave politics aside for this month as the Government appears to have become a complete shambles and has lost direction, Putin is (I’m not even sure it’s printable)… and the rest, as they say, is history.

Until next time stay safe and keep well.


With raw material and feed costs at an all-time high, farmers are bracing themselves for an expensive winter.

Grass and conserved home-grown forages are the cheapest feeds for livestock, but they are more valuable when digested more efficiently and supplemented to balance and cancel out any nutritional deficiencies.

Crystalyx does the job – and the manufacturer has the research, knowledge and experience to back its products.

Crystalyx is a dehydrated, molasses-based feed lick, which means it not only balances the nutritional deficiencies in forages but makes the rumen bugs work a little harder and more efficiently at digesting the forage and releasing more nutrition for the farm livestock.

Crystalyx may not be the cheapest product per tonne on the market, but due to its hard crystalline

structure, it doesn’t break up in bad weather and livestock can only lick it, not chew and bite it. This means that Crystalyx intakes are up to three times lower than other products, so while other products might be cheaper per tonne, their higher daily intake by stock means the cost per animal per day is higher.

While some competitors argue that the low intakes achieved with Crystalyx can’t possibly be of any value to livestock, our independent university research results tell a very different story.

Studies undertaken at Newcastle and Aberystwyth universities showed that ewes flushed on autumn grass and supplemented with Crystalyx Extra High Energy gained more weight faster and had 12 to 20% higher lamb numbers at scanning than control ewes on good grass alone. Crystalyx intakes averaged 35 to 50g/ewe/day in the studies. This compares to some other feed licks that have recommended intakes of up

to 150g/ewe/day.

The research further showed that with continued access to Crystalyx Extra High Energy throughout mid-pregnancy, ewes maintained better body condition right up to lambing so they were able to milk better for improved lamb performance on spring grass.

When it comes to giving value for money, Crystalyx is not only one of the cheapest products to feed (from as little as 5p ewe/day), it has been proved time and time again to deliver exceptional animal performance.



Strict regulations govern the transportation and storage of all fertilisers, and farmers must be careful to abide by these rules, particularly when storing both urea and ammonium nitrate (AN) products.

Urea is relatively inert compared with AN, but regulations prohibit the two from being transported or stored together. Failing to follow the appropriate storage guidelines could risk farmers failing Assured Combinable Crops Scheme (ACCS) or Red Tractor inspections, not to mention increasing the risk of significant losses in the event of an incident.

“Urea has been more competitively priced than ammonium nitrate this year, by quite some margin. One kilo of AN nitrogen was priced at around £2.60 at the end of September, whereas a kilo of urea nitrogen worked out to be about £1.90, prompting more demand for it,” explained Rob.

“There may well be farmers who haven’t bought urea before, or haven’t used it for a long time, who perhaps aren’t aware the two (AN and urea) shouldn’t be stored together. It is something to think about, otherwise they might be in for a shock if there’s an ACCS inspection.

“The reason urea and AN cannot be stored or transported together is not because there is a danger of them spontaneously reacting with each other and causing a problem, but more the fact that urea is an organic material that acts as a carbon source. CO2 produced in the Haber-Bosch process gets added back into the ammonia to produce urea.

“This means that if there were an incident with the ammonium nitrate, such as fire, the urea would provide an additional fuel source.

“This is why the two products cannot be put on the same vehicle when being delivered to farms, and ideally they should not be stored in the same shed. If they do have to be kept in the same building, guidelines suggest leaving at least a five metre gap between any urea and AN fertiliser bags.”

Principles of safe fertiliser storage apply equally to all nitrogen fertiliser products, Those principles include the need to:

• Store fertiliser in a cool, dry, well ventilated place, out of direct sunlight

• Preferably store it out of public view in a secure (lockable) shed

• Ensure correct signage is in place on buildings

• Not store fertiliser alongside other potential fuel sources (e.g. hay, straw, diesel, wooden pallets, etc)

• Ensure the surface is level and free from any objects that could puncture bags

• Not store bags more than three high

• Leave at least one or two metres between fertiliser bags and any parked machinery

• Avoid using potential sources of ignition near fertiliser (e.g. naked flames, smoking, welding/grinders)

• Follow the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) fertiliser security five point plan (see box). Rob added that while urea fertiliser can be more


The NaCTSO Fertiliser Security Five Point Plan has been endorsed by the

Confederation (AIC – FIAS), NFU and NFU Scotland, Assured Food Standards (Red Tractor), DEFRA and the HSE.

WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET | NOVEMBER 2022 33 TO ADVERTISE CALL 01303 233883 AGRONOMY ROB JEWERS T: 07824 397942 E: Canterbury: 01227 830064
prone to drawing moisture from the atmosphere than AN,
could generally be prevented by keeping Following a notable increase in the demand for urea fertiliser ahead of the 2023 season, Hutchinsons’ fertiliser and crop nutrition specialist Rob Jewers is reminding growers to ensure they store and handle it correctly. FARMERS
UREA SAFELY Five point plan for the storage and security of fertilisers 1. Wherever possible use a Fertiliser Industry Assurance Scheme (FIAS) approved supplier 2. Wherever possible keep in a secure area, such as a building, or sheeted away from public view 3. Carry out regular stock checks and report any loss to the police immediately (call 101) 4. Avoid leaving fertiliser in a field overnight and never leave fertiliser in a field for a long period of time 5. Remember it is illegal to sell ammonium nitrate without the correct documentation.
Agricultural Industries
bags in the correct storage conditions and taking care to avoid damaging bags when moving or storing them. He also pointed out that urea is a bulkier product than AN, so growers who have not used it before should factor this in when assessing storage space requirements.



The Ashford Fat Stock Show has ever been popular with breeders of Sussex Cattle, being right in the heart of their district.

e Ashford Fat Stock Show has ever been popular with breeders of Sussex Cattle, being right in the heart of their district.

The breed has been exhibited at Ashford from the very first Show held in 1857, and it is of interest to record that in the catalogue for the 1864 Show, the only catalogue of one of the early Shows available, no less than four classes were allotted to Sussex Cattle.

e breed has been exhibited at Ashford from the very rst Show held in 1857, and it is of interest to record that in the catalogue for the 1864 Show, the only catalogue of one of the early Shows available, no less than four classes were allotted to Sussex Cattle.

ese classes were for Sussex steers over three and under four years old; for steers over two and under three years of age; for cows (fat) over four years old; and for heifers under four years of age.

These classes were for Sussex steers over three and under four years old; for steers over two and under three years of age; for cows (fat) over four years old; and for heifers under four years of age.

In that excellent and interesting book, The History of the Ashford Cattle Show, it is stated that at the 1863 Show Sussex Cattle were the great feature, and it was placed on record that the exhibition of this breed at Ashford was superior to that at Smithfield, a fact that has been remarked many times since.

In that excellent and interesting book, e History of the Ashford Cattle Show, it is stated that at the 1863 Show Sussex Cattle were the great feature, and it was placed on record that the exhibition of this breed at Ashford was superior to that at Smith eld, a fact that has been remarked many times since.

It is the considered opinion of those who are best qualified to know that the most striking feature of the Ashford Show since its inception has been the most excellent show of Sussex Cattle, and the career of the Ashford Society runs parallel with the latter half of the last century, which has brought about the development of the working oxen of the Wealds of Kent and Sussex into one of the best butchers' and graziers' beasts at the present day, full of symmetry and early maturity.

It is the considered opinion of those who are best quali ed to know that the most striking feature of the Ashford Show since its inception has been the most excellent show of Sussex Cattle, and the career of the Ashford Society runs parallel with the latter half of the last century, which has brought about the development of the working oxen of the Wealds of Kent and Sussex into one of the best butchers’ and graziers’ beasts at the present day, full of symmetry and early maturity.

To show the quality of the Sussex Cattle that have been exhibited at Ashford, it is only necessary to point out that, the Champion Cup for the best beast in the Show has been won by Sussex Cattle 33 times since the year 1859. Truly a magni cent record, even for a breed whose popularity with the butchers is second to none amongst all breeds.

To show the quality of the Sussex Cattle that have been exhibited at Ashford, it is only necessary to point out that, the Champion Cup for the best beast in the Show has been won by Sussex Cattle 33 times since the year 1859. Truly a magnificent record, even for a breed whose popularity with the butchers is second to none amongst all breeds.



The President of the NFU, Minette Batters, is to be the guest speaker at the annual dinner that will mark the conclusion of this year’s historic 150th Ashford Cattle Show.

Attendance by such a high-profile guest highlights the importance of this event, both to the town and to the industry.

There are no longer shows of this kind in Canterbury, Maidstone and Sevenoaks, their demise having been brought about by the closure of the markets in those towns.

In Ashford, where the market continues to thrive, bringing together buyers and sellers, usually weekly, to fix a price that reflects demand and supply in the fairest possible way, the show has now been happening for 165 years. Even during the pandemic, although the show was inevitably cancelled, the market itself continued to serve the industry and play its part in delivering food to the table.

The fact that this is the 150th show since 1857 reflects

the fact that 15 shows have been missed over the past 165 years – due to world wars and to diseases affecting both humans, in the shape of Covid-19, and animals, where bluetongue and foot and mouth forced cancellations.

This year’s show, held at the Ashford Market on Monday 28 November by kind permission of the Ashford Cattle Market Company and Hobbs Parker Auctioneers LLP, will have a modern slant but will still have its roots in tradition.

There will be classes for finished cattle, sheep and pigs, lamb carcasses, wool, field crops, art and Christmas cakes, together with a children’s section and, new for this year, a competition for the best three eggs.

The lamb carcases and Christmas cakes will be auctioned on the day, while the livestock will be sold in the usual market on Tuesday 29. The annual dinner will take place that evening at the Ashford International Hotel.

Also at the dinner the awards for the best herd, flock and arable crops, which were judged during the summer, will be presented.


"Having been involved in the Ashford Cattle Show for nearly 50 years, as a committee member, steward and chairman, I am extremely honoured to have been elected president in the year in which we celebrate our 150th Show.

“In taking on the presidency I am proud to be following in the footsteps of my grandfather Howard, who held the position in 1966, and my father Geoff, who was president in 1979 and in 1998, the year the market moved to its new home.

“The show committee has been fortunate enough to have found the 1907 jubilee book which gives a fascinating insight into the original show held on 15 December 1857. This, along with the centenary Book of 1956 and the 150th anniversary book of 2008, sets the scene for the production of the publication that marks this year’s historic event.

“The mismatch of 15 years between our 150th anniversary in 2008 and our 150th show, the subject of this publication, has been caused by two world wars, foot and mouth disease, bluetongue and Covid19, all of which have resulted in cancellations. The Ashford Cattle Show, though, has survived.

“My earliest memories are, as a schoolboy, walking into the old Ashford Market and seeing row upon

row of livestock being prepared for showing by their proud owners and, particularly, being bowled over by the smell of the sides of bacon on display as I entered the Amos Hall. At that time Spear Bros and Clarke of Lenham used to take local pigs, smoke them and display the sides of bacon for the show.

“In my lifetime, the show and the format have changed in many ways. Farms have become bigger; the small family farm has disappeared and flocks and herds have increased in size. There are now fewer stockmen on farms with the time and ability to show their animals at events like ours.

“On the positive side, however, many school young farmers’ clubs in Kent have become involved in the show. Not all, or even many of these young people will continue to work in agriculture, but, importantly, they are learning where food comes from and how it is produced.

“Back in the 1970s, stock would be brought into the market on the Sunday evening. All the showing and judging took place on the Monday morning and was followed by a lunch (in those days at the Odeon Cinema) and the livestock sale that afternoon and evening.

“Tuesday was market day and the public would visit the show, look at the exhibits and watch the prize giving. Although the stock had already been sold, most of it was still on site for all to see. Nowadays the whole show is a shorter event, with stock arriving on the Monday to be judged and sold on the Tuesday followed by the show dinner in the evening.

“Despite all the changes that have occurred in farming over the past 165 years, the show has adapted in response and, no doubt, will have to continue to do so in the future. I am proud to have been a part of the show, which has provided me with much fun and many friendships over the years."

> Trevor Richards, President, Ashford Cattle Show – Trevor, who has a sheep and arable farm at Lacton Manor, Westwell, was chairman of the cattle show in 1988 > Minette Batters
NOVEMBER 2022 | WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET 36 CONTACT Porlock Collingwood Road, St. Margarets at Cliff, Dover, Kent CT15 6EX Neil Morgan 07860 510300 Office/Fax: 01304 853289 Email: Self propelled forage harvester – Maize & grass Muck Spreading with high capacity equipment Hedge cutting River weed cutting & de-silting machinery Low loader service STG02 category Silage & hay making equipment Drilling & cultivation works Tele-handler & skid steer hire 360 Excavator & bulldozer hire Bale wrapping – square or round Big square & round baling PLANT & AGRICULTURAL CONTRACTORS RHINO AGRICULTURAL SERVICES D P Jackson, G R Ashby & D M Smith is an appointed representative of The National Farmers Union Mutual Insurance Society Limited (No. 111982). Supporting our farmers today and tomorrow Doug Jackson, George Ashby, Darren Smith & the entire team at NFU Mutual Ashford, Tenterden & Whitfield would like to congratulate the Ashford Cattle Market on their remarkable achievement of their 150th show. For a real conversation about your insurance, give your local agency a call. Ashford, Tenterden and Whitfield 01233 500 822. Photography
by Malcolm Triggs reproduced by courtesy of South East Farmer.


The first organisers of the Ashford Cattle Show, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not know they were in at the start of an institution that would still be thriving more than 160 years later.

Had they known, they would no doubt have kept better records. As it is, charting the history of the show has never been an easy task, with the author of the jubilee year publication of 1907 admitting to being “handicapped by the absence of documentary matter concerning the first decades”.

He continued: “Earlier Secretaries of the Association, not anticipating the interest they would have evoked at the present day, were not careful of the preservation of catalogues or any written evidence of the first shows.”

The first Ashford Fat Cattle Show, which had its roots in the old Ashford Agricultural Association, was held in Ashford Cattle Market in 1857. For the next half century it was held annually without interruption, something that was remarked upon with some pride in the jubilee year publication.

The show’s 21st birthday was an early highlight for the committee, which the 1907 publication pointed out had “always been fortunate in securing the patronage and presidency of all the Noblemen and Gentlemen of the neighbourhood interested in the Society and of agriculture generally”.

In that year – 1879 – his Royal Highness the late Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, KG, then Duke of Edinburgh and living at Eastwell Park, was president of the show and took the chair at the dinner in the Corn Exchange, “no other building in the town being large enough to accommodate the numbers who were anxious to be present”.

The duke was patron of the show during his time at Eastwell, and in 1885 took the cup for the best Down Sheep. A year earlier King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, had been awarded first prize for best short-wooled sheep with a pen of Southdown wethers.

1888 was the first year of open judging and the year that all stock was weighed alive for the first time. There were prizes for butter on the schedule and despite the fact that the Ashford event clashed with Smithfield, it took a record gate of £63 7s (£63.35).

1891 saw a good attendance on the Tuesday afternoon after Sir Edward Watkin gave the employees at the South Eastern Railway Works a half day’s holiday to allow them to visit the show.

It wasn’t always good news, though. The show was very small in 1893, “on account, possibly, of the very dry year”, and the following year the gate was the smallest on record, bringing in just £22 7s 6d (£22.37). Then, as in recent years, the problem was foot and mouth disease, “which occasioned the postponement of the Show from 10-17 December”.

There had been problems in earlier years, too, notably “the disastrous year of 1865, when the Cattle Plague was raging and many districts were closed against any movement of cattle” and 1868, which “is always remembered and spoken of as the year of the great gale”. That was the year the poultry tent was completely demolished, although after sterling work by committee members in rounding up the exhibits, the publication reveals that the show did eventually go ahead.

The author of the centenary publication in 1956, Alfred J Burrows, also suffered from poor recordkeeping on behalf of show secretaries, pointing out that he had not found it easy to compile the book “since records are scant”.

It is interesting that the preface to that publication, written by no less than the late Bill Deedes (later Lord Deedes) points out that the show has one striking constant – “the recurring names of families long associated with the land and farms of Kent”. In a tribute that has remained true in recent years, he commented: “What has sustained the Show through this extraordinary century has been

their loyalty to it; that, and the devoted services of its officers and organisers.”

Mr Burrows’ chronicling of the previous 50 years began on a high, with the show of 1908 hailed as “another triumph for the organisers”. The following year, when tickets for the dinner cost 3s 6d (about 17p), the after-dinner speech by auctioneer William Winch cast a gloomier note: “It is impossible to pay the taxes and burdens upon the land and get a living at the prices the farmer makes on his produce,” he said, echoing a sentiment that might strike a chord with some today.

Foot and mouth disease struck again in 1912, but good support for the recently introduced fruit show kept the gate money coming in despite the lack of livestock and carcass entries. The hop classes were apparently judged to be “the finest show of the year in the Kingdom”, although Mr Burrows does not quote his source.

War, bad weather and the recurring menace of foot and mouth took their toll on the show over the next decade or so, but it remained a highlight in the local agricultural year, and by 1928 entries had climbed back up to all-time high. The Rt Hon. David Lloyd George was president in 1935 but was sadly unable to attend the show. He did, though, write to say that it had been his earnest desire for many years to help forward the revival of agriculture.

War saw the show suspended between 1939 and 1947. When it was revived in 1948, 16 year-old Miss Rosemary Howard, the youngest exhibitor, took the first awards and a challenge cup in the section for young farmers.

In 1951, the president’s wife, Mrs Harman Hunt, presented the prizes. It was only after she had shaken hands with some 200 successful exhibitors that it was discovered that she had broken a finger in her right hand.

In a reflection of public sensitivities that would perhaps find resonance today, the word ‘fat’ was

> Jane Stickles, of Bilsington, talks to the Duke of Edinburgh in the show ring in 1968 > Lord Mountbatten, Lord Brabourne, Geoff Pearson and Philip Knatchbull sitting on the Ashford Champion in 1969
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dropped from the title of the show in 1953, leaving it known simply as the Ashford Cattle Show.

Classes for smoked bacon and lambs’ carcasses were introduced in the centenary year of 1956 but there was still no mention of the continental breeds of cattle that dominate proceedings today. In those days there was still a class for the best pen of three wether tegs.

It was not until 1969 that the first class for Friesians was introduced, and it was a further six years before the first Charolais cattle appeared at the show.

A year later, in 1976, weight judging was introduced, with members of the Ashford Young Farmers’ Club selling tickets to those people keen to have a go at judging the weight of a Chianina bull supplied by W H Mouland & Son.

With sponsorship of classes becoming increasingly regular in the late seventies, the Kentish Express did its bit to make the public more aware by introducing the popular painting competition for children in 1979.

Once established, the continental breeds quickly became the major classes at Ashford, and by 1984 the Sussex cattle that had been the mainstay of the show for so long had slipped down the running order to feature as classes 12, 13 and 14.

In 1993, with Ashford increasingly capitalising on its close links with Europe, secretary John Martin invited the cattle show’s first French judge – Louis Lepoureau – to pass judgment on the local sheep.

Just five years later, in 1998, the French connection again had an impact on the agricultural community when the cattle market moved to its new premises off the Southern Orbital Road, when part of its historic site in Elwick Road was needed for Channel Tunnel rail link works.

In 2008 the Ashford Cattle Show celebrated its 150th anniversary, one year late thanks to foot and mouth disease again rearing its ugly head, along with bluetongue.

In her introduction to a special publication marking the event, the late Countess Mountbatten of Burma, CBE, MSC, CD, DL commented: “Despite the intrusion of so much modern industry into our glorious County of Kent, farming is still very much at its heart. Many generations of families continue on their

farms and contribute enormously to the wellbeing of our community and county – despite the increasingly difficult circumstances with which they have to compete.

“The Ashford Cattle Show is an event of which we all feel proud, demonstrating as it does the results of good farming, and how modern trends can be a help in achieving this. Farmers well deserve our great appreciation for what they bring to our deep-rooted love of Kent and the feeling of continuity despite the changes life brings to us all.”

Disease again saw the show disrupted over the past few years, although this time it was the human population at risk rather than livestock. Covid-19 saw the 2020 show cancelled and the 2021 event limited to one, slimmed-down day, resulting in this year’s show being celebrated as the 150th.


Sandra Brown played her own part in the history of the Ashford Cattle Show when she became the first woman chairman of the show committee in 2003/04.

In 2008, during the 150th anniversary of the show, she said she felt she had brought “an extra dimension to the skills mix on the organising committee”. Looking back on the occasion of the 150th show, she added: “It was little things like suggesting we should say thank you to the judges with a bottle of wine. Previously they had worked hard but not been given anything in return.”

Despite growing up on a farm and being an active member of Ashford Young Farmers, it was only after bringing up a family and enjoying a successful career in graphic design that she returned to the land, taking on a small farm at The Dean in Sevington, near Ashford.

Her interest in all things rural led to her joining the show committee in the mid eighties, becoming chairman some 20 years later.

“Having come late to farming I wanted to learn

as much as I could about agriculture, and getting involved with the cattle show was an unbeatable way of doing that,” she said. “In return I have tried to do my bit to make Ashford the fantastic show it is.”

Now 80 and having retired from the show committee “in Covid-19 times”, she still keeps Wensleydales in partnership with her daughter Stella Cosgrove and the pair will again this year be entering fleeces in the show.

Now an honorary life president of the cattle show in recognition of her work on the committee over so many years, Sandra said in 2008 that the Ashford show “just keeps getting better and better”. Fourteen years later she still believes that to be the case, praising the way the show “keeps moving forward with the times while remaining true to its history”.

And while she has stepped down from the committee, the family still has close links with the show. Daughter Stella has taken over from her mother as the chief steward for the non-agricultural classes such as the schools entries and cake baking.

> Stella Cosgrove and Sandra Brown
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This year’s Ashford Cattle Show also marks the 50th anniversary of an unusual event that saw a local policeman break his truncheon after a fire started at the cattle market, then just off the town centre.

It was David Martin, a market helper for many years, who spotted the fire one evening in 1972 after he had shut all the doors to the show shed and joined Geoff and Bev Pearson, Peter Austin, Tom Goldsmith’s stockman

George Maskell – better known as Little George – and Ted Barnes from Chandler and Dunn for a cup of tea in the market office.

While the tea was going down well, the group decided they were hungry, so David went back to the shed to get some biscuits, at which point he spotted the flames.

He returned to the market office to alert his colleagues, and after convincing them that he wasn’t joking the group led the cattle out of the building and tied them up in the sale pens. They put the sheep and pigs in the sale ring, where they stayed while the fire was put out and the smoke cleared.

But that wasn’t the end of the drama. It emerged that a policeman who had used his truncheon to break a window had somehow also managed to break the truncheon and had to find both bits so that he could claim a new one.


One man who played an important part in the Ashford Cattle Show in recent years is Mark Cleverdon, who stepped down in 2010 after some 15 years at the helm as show secretary.

Auctioneer Mark, who retired this year after exactly 27 years with Hobbs Parker, has been involved with cattle shows in the county since 1980, when he joined Ambrose and Foster (now Lambert & Foster) in Maidstone, where he sold livestock in the county town and in Rye, ran farm dispersal sales and was a prime organiser of the fatstock show at Christmas.

In 2008, when South East Farmer marked the 150th anniversary of the Ashford Cattle Show, he recalled that his earliest experience of such events had been as a child, when his father, auctioneer Basil Cleverdon, was joint secretary of Launceston (Cornwall) and District Fatstock Show Association.

Mark attended Shebbear and then Exeter Colleges before beginning his career as a cadet valuer in the valuation office in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. The role, which was with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, provided training as a chartered surveyor, at that time an essential qualification for the role.

“I didn’t work with livestock for the whole of that five-year spell. It was the only time in my career,” he recalled.

He left HMRC in his mid-twenties to join Ambrose and Foster and spent 15 years with the firm in Maidstone before moving to Ashford in August 1995 to join Hobbs Parker. He recalled: “Just a few weeks later a big red bag containing large files was deposited beside my desk after I volunteered to take the reins of the show.”

Before that his abiding memory of an Ashford show had been of a Sunday evening young farmers stock judging competition in the early eighties, after which he had to head back to Maidstone in the snow, “with conditions on the old A20 below the Downs getting worse by the minute”.

Mark is clear that the Christmas show needs to be accompanied by a sale of the stock on display.

“I have always believed strongly that showing purely for success in the ring and promoting a breed or herd just by winning prizes at Christmas is a non-runner – that’s what our full season of summer shows is for.

“The Christmas show must be different, and what makes it so is the sale of

top-quality stock at a high premium price. There is no place, in my mind, for a Christmas show in the depths of winter that is not accompanied by a sale of exhibits. It is the sale, whether of the champion beast to a local butcher or wholesaler or the champion carcase or turkey to a local butcher, hotel, business or individual, that makes the Christmas prime stock show special,” he said.

Despite his retirement from full-time work this summer, it’s clear that Mark will continue to play an active role in the world of livestock across the South East for some time to come.

The man with surely one of the most recognisable voices in the region will continue to deliver his unique and expert livestock commentary at agricultural shows up and down the land, as well as playing a vital role as a long-serving committee member with the Weald of Kent Ploughing Match.

Looking back on his career, Mark commented: “I have never woken up in the morning not wanting to go to work and I have always enjoyed whatever job I have done. It’s a people business and I have loved working with people and being part of the farming community. I have made lots of great friends and I am glad that I will still meet up with them at agricultural shows and ploughing matches.”

> Bacon Carcass competition 1956
> Mark Cleverdon selling pigs at the 2004 show


After one of the easiest harvests in many years, all crops, barring the veg, are in safely. The biggest harvest concern for everyone must have been fire risk, which caused some significant damage and losses.

Up on the hill farm there was spring barley and winter wheat and yields were quite satisfactory which, seeing how stressed the crops were in May, was a great relief. The grain quality was excellent, with no drying costs. The barley yielded just on three tons an acre and the wheat just over four. Here on the home farm the maize was all cut and removed by mid-September in good conditions. As an ex-dairyman it was disappointing its final destination was to an AD plant rather than to feed cattle, but deals are deals, to be stuck to, although there must be many cattle farmers crying out for winter forage and there won’t be many alternative crops around now to provide it.

I remember so well the near panic conditions back in 1976 after that similar drought, which lasted probably longer than this one without quite the heat. Back then I ran two dairy herds, one up on the Downs and the other on the home farm. Both were totally reliant on grass silage for winter feed since we hadn’t started to grow maize then.

We never had a ‘spring flush’, thus a very poor first cut in early June, with nothing in the way of rain till 10 September, when things began returning to normal. That allowed us to make our second cut in early November, but even then the clamps remained barely a third full. I noted in my diary: “What a disastrous season it has been” and estimated it had “cost the business between £25,000 and £30,000 ” (a lot then!) and set things back several years.

Despite which I somehow managed to purchase my family’s long-rented hill farm (185 acres, a farmhouse and two cottages) for £82,000 just two years later when it was offered by our old landlord’s estate (my grandfather had first rented it from him in 1922). Certainly the following few years were a bit of a struggle, although I always bought good golf balls!

This recent summer’s drought has been extremely hard for most in farming, so comparing its effects with that old 1976 diary makes me very pleased our herd went off to Northern Ireland back in 2018. I wouldn’t have wanted a repeat.

I just hope the Ukrainians have managed to get most of their crops harvested and away safely, without it being wilfully ignited by the Russians; then perhaps the talk of world grain famine will ease

off a little. There is no doubt Russia’s attack against that country is disastrous for Ukrainian farming, particularly towards the east of the country. Its effects will take a long time to normalise. It’s almost impossible to comprehend. The vengeful bombing of docks and storage facilities in Odessa, the killing of dairy herds and the disruption to milk production, apart from the sheer murderous bombing of civilians. All down to one man who clearly has no feelings for human life, even the lives of his own countrymen. Russia will sadly be tarred by Putin’s brush for many years to come.

When you read ‘online’, or in the press do you ever question reports? Do you ever ask yourself how authentic a story may be? I fairly recently developed a pretty reliable way of assessing articles. If the headline included ‘could’, ‘might’ or ‘maybe’, I reasoned it was generally speculation by a writer who was too lazy to bother about facts, too lazy to get off his a… and, more than likely, politically biased. So I ignore it! ‘Could’ is the ultimate giveaway.

Farming examples are too numerous to detail but cover every aspect of the news. Half the problem is that the national press no longer has agricultural correspondents so all bovines are ‘cows’. I read recently that crop yields could be down due to the dry weather this year, while prices in the shops could

rise. Meat in the shops could soar, surprisingly, to cover soaring fodder and fertiliser prices. And, more recently: “The whole of Norfolk could be under water if the two poles melt.” How startling! What about the south coast, I thought? All that effluent washing into the sea from sewage treatment plants will be pushed back up to fertilise our land. Free fertiliser!

My PC inbox shows I am receiving a huge number of scam attempts every week, which is a bit worrying. My own rule is never to open anything suspicious. If I don’t know the sender, bin it. If it is addressed in a strange way, bin it, but whatever happens, don’t open it. One slip could cost a fortune.

It is even more difficult now to keep tabs on things because our bank, which we have used for 54 years, recently removed their specialist agricultural facility, provided by previously knowledgeable staff, so now, instead of dealing with people who understood our job and would check these scam concerns, we have to rely on leaving the inevitable messages and hope a real person rings back to check, or confirm that some kind person hasn’t raided our bank account. A sign of the times, I suppose, but the bank’s service level has dropped rather alarmingly. When I have such concerns I need to speak to a person, not a damned answerphone.

Great news last month: our tenant’s vineyard’s first vines, planted in spring 2020, produced their first grapes this autumn. Only a light sort of pre-crop, but the vines were looking in prime condition and the juice was pressed out the same day in their new winery.

NICK ADAMES Former dairy farmer > An impressive output from a two and a half year old Pinot Noir vine just before harvest


My latest despair at the Government’s lack of understanding on this subject started recently on my morning drive to work. My usual routine consists of stumbling bleary eyed to my car, tightly gripping my travel mug with my hot coffee inside, wandering up the M20 to the farm and listening to Farming Today on Radio 4 (the only dedicated farming programme left on the radio).

On this particular morning the programme had excerpts from Suella Braverman, who had the previous day been talking at the Conservative Party Conference. I quote: “UK workers must train to pick fruit. The way we build a high-skilled and high-wage economy is by encouraging business to invest in capital and domestic labour.”

This is our new Home Secretary. A senior cabinet minister. I found myself mumbling the words: “Bring back Priti Patel”, words I never thought would pass my lips, and struggling to keep the car in a straight line in my state of shock. Suella Braverman’s words had sent me cold all over and into a state of semi shock.

Probably best that I give a brief summary of the business I work in and how we have functioned in 2022.

We are a classical farming seasonal business. We have multiple crop lines which start and finish on different dates. Broadly, though, we get very busy from the start of May and we stay busy until the end of October (around six months), and throughout most of this period we have around 120 seasonal workers doing a range of seasonal work from harvesting through to planting, tractor driving, forklift driving and team leading. For these 120 workers we cannot offer year-round employment. They know that the work will be for approximately six months, give or take.

It has been a battle since Brexit, to be honest, but never more so than this year. We eventually got the Home Office to issue 30,000 seasonal visas for the horticultural sector, with an option for an extra 10,000 if the industry could prove that they were required (we subsequently got 8,000 of these, with 2,000 given to the poultry sector, which was also in crisis). This still isn’t legislation but is thanks to a temporary scheme that is under review. (Any business will tell you that lack of certainty is a killer,

but that’s an argument for a different day).

Then in February, Russia invaded Ukraine. In 2021, all our seasonal workers on the visa scheme had come from Ukraine. The agencies had a structure in place with Ukraine and it was a system that had worked well. We had 30 workers from Ukraine on the farm in 2021 and it had been a positive relationship. They were decent, hardworking people who enabled us to run the business effectively. The agencies had to react quickly and build new relationships in different countries, and fast, since most seasonal work in UK horticulture is from April/May through until the autumn.

We should have been fully staffed by 5 May, but there were delays caused by the agencies trying to establish new routes for the visas, (no doubt putting them under enormous time pressure). Worker welfare is our top priority, so whether it is from the unexpected Russian invasion or from years of late decisions by policymakers to expand the scheme, it is vital the operators and the industry are able to manage the labour supply in a thorough and diligent way, so that any risks of exploitation, as have been reported regarding rogue agents in the source countries, can be mitigated.

We eventually reached a full staff on 29 May, which meant 24 days of trying to run a business understaffed. We wasted crops. For the first time that I can remember, our production was dictated by how much we could harvest, not by customer demand or crop availability. I don’t want to put a figure on it; I am a bit tired of the media looking for sensationalist headlines that sell stories, but we did incur losses and many, many other British horticultural businesses wasted crops as well, due to lack of people at various times in their season. It’s a travesty.

We ended up with around 30 seasonal workers from Uzbekistan on our farm. It was the first time that any of them had been to the UK. It has been a largely positive experience for us, and we have together managed to harvest our crops throughout the remainder of the season. Lack of English has been challenging; just one of our Uzbekistan workers has enough English to communicate in English. Our Romanian team leaders have been using “Google translate” to issue instructions to their teams, but we have found a way.

To put Suella Braverman’s words into context: We have been continuously engaged with Maidstone Jobcentre and other branches within the DWP for four years. We haven’t managed to recruit a single worker from the Jobcentre in that time. Our HR team attended a jobs fair organised by the DWP at East Malling Research Institute in the summer. We put considerable effort into this. The two representatives who went from our business described it as a “good networking process with other businesses”. Not a single potential employee attended. Maybe Suella Braverman should spend a bit more time getting to the reality of stories like this before she makes ridiculous statements at her party conference, based on political rhetoric.

The government needs a proper reset on this. It is a tough enough gig in field scale horticulture at the moment. Loss of chemistry, cost of fertiliser, fuel and labour, extreme weather events; it isn’t straightforward. But still the biggest threat to our business is not having enough seasonal workers to get our crops picked.

If we really want to have a functioning UK fresh produce sector that provides fresh, healthy food for our population, quality food that has been ethically and safely produced and is fresh because it has been grown close to the end consumer, then it really is time to get over this seasonal worker thing. British workers need full time work, not seasonal work. How is a UK citizen going to deal with the cost-of-living crisis by doing a job that gives them six months work?

We need seasonal migrant workers to work in our seasonal businesses. It’s a simple concept.

It should be a simple concept, but it seems to be anything but, writes Nick Ottewell.


Given the great uncertainties of the month before this report was written in mid-October, both within the farming industry and economically, livestock markets continued to provide an outlet for all types of stock in probably one of the most difficult trading times many of us have seen.

Prime cattle continued to sell well despite reports of massive quantities of boxed meat being available at prices below cost and the knock-on effect of that on retail demand.

Best cattle in Colchester are still trading from 260p/kg to 280p/kg liveweight, with the general run of cattle between 220p/kg and 250p/kg in all classes. A few secondary and over-finished cattle have been more difficult to place, these competing with the cheaper boxed meat available. It is noticeable that smaller retail butchers who have supported the livestock market for many years are struggling to sell the quantity of meat they were, and with the substantial increase in running costs this is a concern for us all.

The continuing strong demand for processing beef is resulting in a good demand for cull cows and over age steers and heifers, with buyers who feed those types of stock also keen to replace the cattle in the yard.

The store cattle trade continued to be strong, with those who are committed to the beef industry wishing to stay in, but it is again a concern that many of the smaller producers have not replaced the cattle they have sold with the high cost of feed and increased transport costs, and this is having a direct effect on numbers which are likely to be forward. Certainly, numbers in Colchester are well below requirements most weeks.

The sheep trade continued to be very strong in Colchester, with best quality lambs strongly competed for every week. Prices are above 12 months ago, which is good to see, but as with all markets, lighter lean lambs are more difficult to place, with a shortage of winter feed available. Stubble turnip growth is exceptionally poor, and in many cases this will not be a viable crop.

Best heavy lambs are trading from £130 to £150 per head every week, with weight no issue. As always meat is important without the fat. Many more lambs could be sold to advantage if we are notified before the day.

The cull ewe trade has been exceptional for the best types, and while the trade has been less buoyant for feeding ewes, producers are still looking at a realistic return.

Store lambs have seen some resistance, with many regular over winter feeders saying they are not buying stock because of the winter fodder issue, which is of great concern for numbers coming forward in the spring. Store lambs are probably trading around £20 per head less on average, but those nearer finishing are making a reasonable return. Best stores are around £80 to £100 per head, longer keep lambs £50 to £75 per head, with rare breeds less.

The pig trade is probably now at the dearest we have ever seen, although still at uneconomic levels for the finishers. It is likely that many more smaller pig producers will leave the industry, which will be a great shame. Over the past 40 years the number of pig farmers nationally has reduced substantially, and we can see no change in that.

Again, the high cost of feed, including imported soyas, wheat and barley, is causing enormous problems for finishers. With the hike in energy and other service costs, there is as yet no light at the end of the tunnel.

The cull sow trade is very much dependent on international exchange rates and the turmoil in October has not helped. Despite this, it is likely that many more cull sows will be sold.

With Christmas fast approaching, we have also been dealing with the disaster of Avian Influenza, with massive numbers of on-farm turkeys, geese and other Christmas birds being slaughtered before maturity. There is likely to be a shortage of farm gate birds, and with the restrictions in place it is unlikely that any birds will be sold dead in auctions. This is a great shame and puts one of the traditions of Christmas under serious threat.

In the arable world in East Anglia the rain has at last arrived, drilling is going well and some of the crops look well established, apart from oilseed rape. The warm weather continuing in the beginning of October is ensuring good growth there.



There is no doubt that we are, and probably always are, in challenging, complicated and often difficult times.

If a dry and often paralysing summer was not bad enough, the macro factors of rising interest rates, higher energy costs that filter into every part of business life and an insane war in Eastern Europe has made decision making in all sectors of our industry (and everybody else’s!) that much more critical and more difficult.

At Ashford Market we have seen a very busy late summer and early autumn period, both for store sheep and store cattle as farmers, pressured by lack of grazing and by smaller reserves of winter forage, have sold earlier and more heavily than might ordinarily have happened in level times.

While buyers from as wide an area as ever have been in attendance to buy stock, it would be correct to say that values in the store sector have been lower as those additional costs are factored in, appropriately, by buyers not here just for the short term but consistently, year in and year out.

With weekly Friday entries of between 4,000 and 9,000 sheep since July, it has been reassuring to see the auction market mechanism work so well. Sheep from throughout the greater South East have been sold, quite literally, to all four corners of the country and so many places in between, bought by buyers who follow the ups and downs of the national market and make their judgement call on prospects by bidding openly to secure stock.

The logistical operation at Ashford is worthy

of praise and attention. From the hauliers bringing stock in to those taking it out, the large numbers of sheep are sorted professionally and appropriately, identified, scanned and recorded, moved to and from sale, counted and recounted, processed clerically through sale ring and sales office and finally gathered for buyers.

By late afternoon, and sometimes earlier, sheep are all on their way or waiting in lairage for the quieter hours of the motorway system. Credit must go to all involved – drivers, drovers, scanners, office staff, even auctioneers, and buyers and sellers. And don’t forget the clean up team working up to 12 hours to recreate the clean market that is required for the next sale.

It's a straightforward, simple system that works well, has always worked well and will continue to work well as it is successful to both sides in the buying and selling equation.

Prices do fluctuate and it is pleasing to see the store lamb averages improve as confidence and grass has both grown.

Some prices haven’t improved this autumn. Store cattle have been more variable, with the older, better fleshed, short term finishers buoyed up by a confident finished beef trade but the younger, leaner, longer term cattle measured differently by buyers. Overall, the cattle trade is in a good place and store returns satisfactory.

The most difficult area might well be the fresh calf market and younger weanlings, where, with 24 to 30 months to go before finishing, buyers can only see a wall of cost to climb over.

Whether it is a dairy farmer rearing his own calves on fresh milk or the calf rearer with two bags of milk powder that has more than doubled in price per calf, there are issues and substantial changes to consider.

Changes bring opportunities, and entrepreneurs feast on opportunity. The calves haven’t changed. More at the bottom of the quality scale will exit the system but essentially stock is short and will remain so for some time yet. Many calves are £100 or more below where they were not long ago. There are calculations to be made, of course, but this restructuring from the bottom upwards is necessary when the opportunity comes along.

Many other sectors in farming or beyond are not yet seeing these chances coming forward but they will, and they must be seized to preserve the economy both at farm level and at a greater national level.

Union bosses advising railwaymen and postal workers might think that it is simple just to pay more and pass it on to customers, but maybe they should adapt for the common good, just as primary producers continually have to do, knowing that they cannot turn to anyone else to pay but must continually adjust, improve and take opportunities when they do come along.

Agriculture is a great industry because of so much, but essentially it is down to the people at its very heart – the hardworking, decision making, committed, adaptable entrepreneurs that back themselves to make their futures better.



The natural reproductive cycle of small ruminants is a limiting factor for the speed and advancement of genetic improvements. Before the 1920s, the only option for genetic improvement of a sheep flock or goat herd was to buy the best males and mate them with the best females. The best offspring from those matings would then be kept for breeding again the next season and would continue to improve the genetic lines.

Keeping breeding replacements soon gets tricky, however, as new bloodlines are quickly required to avoid inbreeding problems. Furthermore, with natural breeding conditions, a female would produce one to three offspring a year, which may only amount to between six and 16 offspring in her commercial reproductive lifetime.

To accelerate genetic gain and improve reproductive performance, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) were developed and are continuing to advance to this day.

Two of these assisted reproductive techniques are artificial insemination (AI) and embryo transfer (ET). These ARTs have enabled international trade in frozen embryos and semen, which has led to world-wide diffusion of germplasm, with very low health risks. This has enabled rapid genetic improvements in commercial flocks within the UK.

Artificial Insemination (AI) utilises the superior genetics of the male and is a cost-effective method of increasing the value of replacement females.

Initially the only option for AI in small ruminants was transcervical insemination. Unfortunately, the ovine cervix has a highly complex structural arrangement that precludes easy transcervical passage and intrauterine deposition using conventional AI catheters. For this reason, the results from vaginal or mid-cervical AI are often unreliable, with lambing rates of 20% to 40% only achieved with freshly collected semen that has been subjected to minimal handling and utilised at high dose rates.

Satisfactory results of transcervical insemination have not been achieved yet, especially out of the breeding season, using frozen-thawed ram semen. Fertilisation failure is frequent and appears to be

due to faulty transport of spermatozoa through the cervix. Significant ART advancement over the past 40 years has meant this problem can be overcome by intra-uterine deposition of semen via laparoscopic insemination (LAP AI).

LAP AI involves inseminating ewes at a fixed time to coincide with their oestrus, which has been synchronised with an intravaginal progesterone releasing device (sponge or CIDR) and hormone injection.

A laparoscope, used to visualise the uterus, is introduced into the abdomen via a 7mm diameter trocar. The semen is then injected, via the tip of a very fine aseptic needle, directly into the uterus.

Benefits of LAP AI include:

• Typical conception rates of 60% to 75% using fresh or frozen semen

• Frozen semen can be purchased from rams of high genetic merit, rather than buying an expensive ram

• Lambing can be timed so that a high percentage of lambs are born within two to three days of the most suitable lambing date

• Ewes that have failed to respond to the synchrony can be detected by utilising the laparoscope and not inseminated, which prevents semen wastage. There are several factors which can maximise the results from LAP AI. These include:

• Health: Animals should be in good health, with sound feet, ideally vaccinated for clostridial diseases and EAE/TOXO, had a recent faecal egg count check and be supplemented with trace elements as part of a health plan, or at least six weeks pre AI.

• Condition: Ideally ewes should be a 3.5 body condition score at AI. Overweight animals are difficult to AI and usually give disappointing results.

• Reproductive history: It is important to realise AI is not a magic cure for fertility problems. Avoid presenting ewes which have had previous reproductive problems.

• Stress: Minimising stress around AI is very important to increase conception rates. Travelling is stressful for sheep, which is where a mobile

Westpoint Horsham


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service helps, with animals not needing to be moved from their home location. Don’t make sudden diet changes around AI and ensure the animals have adequate shelter and protection from adverse weather conditions.

• Teaser effect: Putting a teaser ram/buck in with all ewes prior to CIDR/sponge insertion will stimulate the animals to cycle. Adding the teaser in at sponge/CIDR removal will help identify any animals that have not responded to the synchrony.

Embryo transfer is a way of multiplying the offspring from your elite females.

Embryo transfer (ET) increases the reproductive potential of genetically superior females by utilising the egg reserve in the ovary. The donor female is super ovulated using hormones to stimulate the production of more eggs than usual at a synchronised oestrus.

A genetically superior mother can be used in ET programmes more than once, thus multiplying her reproductive potential by using genetically inferior animals as recipients of the genetically superior embryos.

The timed programme takes 20 days, with the donor ewe being either naturally served or AI’d on day 14 and the six-day old embryos being flushed from her on day 20. Viable embryos are then either transferred to recipient ewes or can be frozen for implanting later. The flushing and transfer process is carried out under general anaesthetic to ensure exemplary animal welfare.

There is potentially a lot to gain from using embryo transfer, but there are also risks associated with the procedure. The gains arise from the possibility of rapidly increasing the number of offspring from an elite female in your flock. The risks lie primarily from disappointing results with either low numbers of viable embryos being collected from the donor or from the failure of embryos to become established in the recipients.

ARTs are exciting tools for small ruminant owners looking to advance the genetics within their herd or flock quickly, while maintaining high biosecurity standards.


Westpoint Farm Vets

If you would like to discuss anything covered in this article contact your local Westpoint practice If you would like more
on the mobile Assisted Reproduction Techniques offered by
contact: MATTHEW DOLBEAR E: T: Westpoint Farm Vets Winchester 01962 779593

Did you know you don’t need to be a student to visit Hadlow College? You are welcome to stroll in our stunning four-hectare gardens and pop into the garden centre – or if you are in need of reptile support the National Centre for Reptile Welfare can help.


Broadview Gardens and Garden Centre comprises four hectares of beautiful, individually designed themed gardens built by Hadlow staff and


students, as well as a commercial garden centre, currently stocked with essentials for gardening and landscaping plus seasonal decorations for the festive period. Broadview offers a great place to escape for a break or a little retail therapy.


Operating as a partnership between The Pet Charity and Hadlow College, in association with the Reptile and Exotic Pet Trade Association (REPTA), the centre is located at Hadlow College. Its aim is to be

a centre of excellence and improve the lives of pet reptiles and amphibians in the UK.

The facility, the first of its type in the United Kingdom, provides refuge and care for over 1,000 unwanted and vulnerable reptiles and amphibians. Its aim is to re-home them as well as improve the body of knowledge around the care and needs of these animals.

Linked closely with the college's animal management faculty, it provides degree-level students with practical husbandry, care and non-invasive behavioural and husbandry research opportunities on a wide range of captive species. The students work on all aspects of rehabilitating and re-homing amphibians and reptiles.

Visits are by appointment only; please email for more information.


The whole family can attend our annual two-day lambing weekend event which takes place next year on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March, when we will be enjoying the arrival of spring, including our adorable new-born lambs. We will bring together a variety of land-based linked activities and displays as well as showcasing the college and what we do.

If you are interested in courses offered at Hadlow we recommend visiting our Hadlow Open Morning on 5 November, either at the Hadlow main site or Greenwich Equestrian Centre. Pre-register and find out more at

WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET | NOVEMBER 2022 47 TO ADVERTISE CALL 01303 233883 Visit or call 01732 850551

Sheep farmer

Mid-October and autumn is certainly making its presence felt, with some chilly nights, sunny days and plenty of autumn colour, the latter I suspect a result of the summer challenges. For most the tups are in; others may have been in, done their job and returned to the ram paddock. All that we can hope for is that some of the planning and effort that went into preparing ewes (and rams) for tupping has achieved the desired outcome, i.e. plenty of lambs next spring. It has undoubtedly not been easy, but some decent rains at the beginning of September provided a nice flush of grass, which has helped.

Even now grass growth is being supported purely by the moisture provided from the last shower. A week or so without rain and grass supplies tighten again; we have certainly not yet had sufficient rain to make up the deficit wrought by the exceedingly hot and dry summer, and water companies in some regions are now predicting drought conditions lasting through into the new year. Calls from some people to end the hosepipe ban after just a few showers in September simply serve to illustrate the huge deficit of understanding that many have regarding the interactions between weather, soils, plants and, of course, our sheep.

The autumn sheep sales are almost done and have been a mixed bag. A lot of female sheep sold really deserved a better return, but tight grass supplies dampened demand, particularly for


the earlier sales, as it did for the store trade. Most ram sellers, however, will be reasonably happy with trade. Finished lamb trade has held up reasonably well, with the weak pound making British lamb quite attractive to continental buyers, resulting in the export trade propping up market prices despite a significant 18% drop in domestic demand.

On the subject of the autumn sheep sales, anyone who knows and understands sheep will appreciate that a sheep is not just a sheep. In Britain we have a wide variety of types and breeds of sheep, any of which may be used in combination to produce a host of different crossbreds, the range of which vastly exceeds the number of pure breeds. In sheep breeding terms, crossbred generally refers to the combining of genetic material from two (possibly more) different breeds, with a specific outcome in mind. A good example is the North Country Mule, a product of a Blue Faced Leicester ram on a Swaledale ewe (possibly a Dalesbred ewe) that produces a prolific and hardy proven cross-bred ewe with the added advantage of hybrid vigour.

The permutations arising from cross breeding are enormous, but, and it is a very big BUT, just because it can be done really does not mean that it should be done. Producing crossbreds with no specific purpose or outcome in mind simply leads to the devaluation of the national sheep flock, reduced to a bunch of non-descript mongrels; not a desirable outcome. Sadly, as a casual glance at sheep offered for sale on social media sites and some of the online livestock marketing platforms reveals, such practices are increasing, driven I suspect largely by novice breeders who really seem to have no meaningful understanding of, nor care for, the sheep sector.

I have no issues with online selling platforms, which provide a useful service for some, and nor do I have an issue with novice breeders, but the latter do have a responsibility to the sheep that they keep.

People keep a few sheep for all sorts of reasons; out of interest, to tidy up an orchard or small paddock, etc., but they don’t all need to be breeding sheep; a few dry ewes or wethers would often suffice.

Any new sheep keeper has a responsibility, for genuine welfare reasons and fairness to the sheep, to ensure that they have a reasonable understanding of sheep and sheep husbandry, but sadly many simply do not have a clue. And, as far as breeding is concerned, lambs are not toys to keep the kids, other half, or whatever, entertained. They may look cute and be fun to have around, but they grow up, and the orchard/paddock will have a limited carrying capacity. There is a responsibility that goes with keeping breeding sheep, and anyone who is not prepared to deal with some of the more difficult issues that may arise – “I was going to castrate him, but he was so sweet I couldn’t do it” –etc should really not be keeping sheep.

Simply because a lamb is born with a pair of testicles does not mean that they have to retain them; responsible cat and dog owners will, if they do not wish to breed from their pets, have them neutered, a process that is considerably easier and cheaper with a ram lamb than it is for a cat or a dog. In addition, simply because a ram lamb has been allowed to retain his testicles does not mean that he is a suitable or desirable breeding ram; some of the crosses, crosses of crosses and so on, ad infinitum, advertised on line should most decidedly be consigned to the meat trade.

The pricing of many sheep offered for sale online often generates a distorted impression of the sheep trade. A ram offered for sale at £70 creates unrealistic price expectations and does a great disservice to the sheep sector; in addition, a ram offered at such a price will, almost certainly, not be of the quality required to justify its position as a breeding sheep and should really be dispatched instead to the meat market.

> Autumnal hues of a different kind

The weather has turned, and we are finally seeing some rain. I know, it’s been a while! Autumn block calving is coming to an end for most, and tups are being put in with the ewes. At this time of the year we may get phone calls from sheep farmers asking for treatment and advice on their lame sheep.

We have had an incredibly dry summer, but now the ground is beginning to get wet under foot and these are prime conditions for the spread of the bacteria that causes scald and footrot in sheep; Dichelobacter nodosus. Lameness in sheep is a serious problem on some farms and it not only has welfare implications but can cause significant production losses, so there is both a physical and financial impact.

The most common causes of lameness are:

• CODD: (Contagious Ovine Digital Dermatitis), caused by the Treponema species of bacteria. Ulcers begin at the coronary band and then horn becomes under run from top to bottom, sometimes falling off completely)

• Foot rot: caused by the bacteria Dichelobacter nodosus, present on 97% of farms

• Scald: early foot rot, caused by Dichelobacter nodosus

• Toe granuloma: common on farms where foot rot and CODD are present

• Toe abscess: occurs when the hoof wall is punctured; white line separation leads to abscess forming in the foot

• Shelly hoof: cause unknown but possibly due to wet or uneven ground and/or nutritional imbalances.

To control lameness on the farm, not only do you have to maximise foot health and build resilience, you must also limit the burden of infection to enable sheep to avoid infection and put the sheep in the best place to fight infection by establishing immunity through the right nutrition and vaccination.


1. Cull: Cull repeatedly infected sheep or those unresponsive to treatment. This will build resilience in the flock.

2. Quarantine: Bought-in sheep should be quarantined for a minimum of 28 days and foot bathed every five days in either 3% formalin or 10% zinc sulphate.

3. Treat: Treat as soon as lameness is seen and the cause identified. Disease spreads quickly.

4. Avoid: Improve under-foot conditions in high traffic areas and lime these high traffic areas. Clean handing systems after use. Grazing management, breeding and housing management Is important.

5. Vaccinate: Talk to your vet about if and when

to vaccinate on your farm. Timing usually coincides with high-risk periods. Controlling lameness on your farm will improve productivity. Unfortunately, there is not one answer for all farms; that would be too simple. Lameness control strategies should be tailored to individual farms. Get in touch with your vet if you would like to discuss how the five point plan could be used on your farm to help control lameness. CONTROLLING LAMENESS CLAIRE THORPE BVM&S MRCVS of Cliffe Veterinary Group T: 01273 473232 E: Image: Ruth Clements, FAI farms CRYSTALYX LASTS LONGER! WITH LOW REQUIRED INTAKES AND A UNIQUE CRYSTALLINE STRUCTURE, CRYSTALYX PRODUCTS CAN LAST UP TO THREE TIMES LONGER THAN SOME OTHER FEED BLOCKS = Find your nearest stockist at www.crystalyx- Tel +44 016973 32592 Email Crystalyx UK


Landowners wanting to develop land or buildings affected by telephone masts and cables could face major problems following a recent Upper Tribunal decision, the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) has warned.

The CAAV said the issue was due to the Electronic Communications Code, which governs the relationships between a landowner and a telecoms operator, having been found not to cover who can renew or modify a code agreement when the original site provider has since granted a tenancy subject to the mast or cable agreement.

The decision in Vodafone v Gencomp and AP Wireless considered who can renew or modify a code agreement when the structure of ownership and leases for a site has changed since the original grant, with a new lease interposed between the original site provider and the operator.

“Given that many landowners grant intermediate leases like a farm business tenancy (FBT) and this is a structure used for development proposals, the Tribunal warned that this has a stark consequence with practical and valuation effects which owners and developers will need to consider,” said CAAV secretary and adviser Jeremy Moody.

“The Tribunal found a ‘Catch 22’ situation where the only person who can grant code rights is the original site provider but, no longer the immediate landlord, that person does not have the direct power to change the agreement.

“However, the immediate landlord now with the lease to the operator is not recognised by the code. The result looks like a stalemate for owner and operator and no renewal or modification of the operator’s lease can be effected.”

The Tribunal went out of its way to warn: “So long as this gap in the structure of the code remains, a concurrent lessee who wishes to redevelop a building over which code rights have been granted by a superior landlord will find themselves in difficulty, and with no obvious means of bringing the code rights to an end.

“A person contemplating taking a concurrent lease with a view to redevelopment would therefore be well advised either to adopt a different structure or to ensure that any code agreement which may interfere with their proposals has been terminated before they acquire their interest.”

The Upper Tribunal outcome, potentially subject to appeal, may require further amendment of the code, said Mr Moody. “The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill, already amending the code, now awaits its final report stage in the House of Lords and might be a vehicle for resolving this matter. Failing that, it could be some time before another legislative opportunity is available.”

The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) is a specialist professional body representing, qualifying and briefing over 2,900 members practising in a diverse range of agricultural and rural work throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Legal services for farmers & rural businesses Call us today or visit our website: 01227 763939 We’ll sort the wheat from the chaff. Whitehead Monckton Limited (no. 08366029), registered in England & Wales. Registered office 5 Eclipse Park, Maidstone, Kent, ME14 3EN. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under no. 608279. As one of the oldest legal firms in the Garden of England, we have vast experience in responsive, accessible and informed legal advice to Farmers, Producers and Agri-suppliers. + Business restructuring, sales and purchases + Commercial agreements + Employment law + Planning and Environment + Property Development and Construction + Residential Conveyancing + Tax Planning and Trusts + Wills and Probate To talk to a legal specialist in rural matters, call us on 01622 698000 or email 2128_Whitehead Monckton_East Kent Ploughing Match_A5_Advert.indd 1 04/08/2022 10:15


Many cultures have a specific word to describe the relaxation prompted by being in forest surroundings. The Japanese word translates in English to “forest bathing” and there is no doubt we have an instinctive connection to woodland surroundings. But can forest bathing turn into forest savings, in a tax context? Here we take a look at the inheritance tax reliefs for woodlands that might relax you further.

There are three main types of relief from inheritance tax that woodlands may attract; agricultural property relief (APR), business property relief (BPR) and woodlands relief. Which of these applies depends on the nature of the land and timber operations.


Although woodland is not automatically classed as agricultural property, the land may qualify for APR if the woodland is classed as, or ancillary to,

agricultural land or pasture. Ancillary use includes short rotation coppice, firewood or fencing, and shelter belts. BPR may be available if the woodland is used for commercial purposes, for example, commercial shooting, fishing or commercial timber harvesting.

To successfully claim APR and BPR, it is recommended that you have a clear record of the agricultural or business use, so keeping a record of transactions, separate woodland accounts and a business plan are recommended. This can be particularly important where there is little or no profit derived from the woodland, to evidence the commercial intention and avoid the hobby farming rules.


Woodlands relief is available where you own, or have inherited, an interest in the land on which timber has been growing for at least five years (this includes the five years before death). It is applied on the value of the timber and can reduce

a liability for Inheritance Tax (IHT). When you pass away, your executors can make an election to exclude the value of the timber (but not the land) from your estate for IHT purposes. The election must be made within two years of death.

However, an executor should be cautious before making an election for woodlands relief, as IHT will be payable on any future sale of the timber (or the market value if your beneficiaries choose to give the timber away). As a result, in some cases, it is not worth making the election; it can depend on the value of the timber and the age of the trees.


A further, specific relief that may also apply to woodland is heritage relief. This may be available where the land is in an area of “outstanding scenic, historic or scientific interest”. In that case it may be exempted on the condition that the new owner agrees to maintain the woodland and grant access to the public. Heritage relief can apply to both ancient and new woodland.

IHT relief for woodlands can be complex, and application of the most appropriate relief relies upon various different conditions related to the land. If you want to understand the best options for you, we would always advise you to seek professional legal advice.

T: 01622 767735 E:
What woodland owners should know about inheritance
tax relief.
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‘’This is a rare beast with very little land

but in this particular location there is a

amongst the local farmers so early viewings

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its age. More recently the land has been let for hay and sheep

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within 187 acres of natural habitat land, this impressive and practical seven bedroom country house has been finished to a high standard by the current owners. The farm, a specifically designed environmental and conservation GUIDE PRICE: £5 MILLION 187 ACRESISFIELD | EAST SUSSEX
project, is very much the heart and soul of the estate, creating a diverse natural habitat and private wildlife reserve. In addition there is modern energy generation technology and a regular and attractive income stream. Full details are available at
WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET | NOVEMBER 2022 55 TO ADVERTISE CALL 01303 233883 It has never been more important to ensure your property is performing at its best. Whilst additional rules and regulations are applying to this sector, both demand and rents have risen significantly. Are you getting all that you should? Our lettings experts would be pleased to carry out a free assessment of your property and advise on matters such as compliance and rent. Landlords Clare Sheffield MARLA Partner, Head of Lettings T 01424 775577 E Book a free rent review James Hickman Director 01233 506260 Vicky Phillips Director 01233 506201 Hobbs Parker Romney House, Monument Way, Orbital Park, Ashford, Kent TN24 0HB Farms and Land 01233 506 201 FORSALE Land at Barn End Farm Barn End Lane, Wilmington, Dartford DA2 7QA An excellent opportunity to purchase a highly productive block of Grade II and Grade III arable land located within the M25. For sale as a whole or in three separate Lots. In all about 285.75 acres (115.64 hectares) Lot 1 162.33 acres Guide: £1,800,000 to £1,900,000 Lot 2 78.81 acres Guide: £875,000 to £900,000 Lot 3 44.61 acres Guide: £500,000 to £525,000 Whole 285.75 acres Guide: £3,175,000 to £3,325,000



GUIDE PRICE: £3,175,00 TO £3,225,000 (WHOLE)

Who knows at the date of publication how many more Prime Minsters we will have seen in this current era of turbulence and volatility? Amidst the trading of shares, stocks and bonds, land provides a stable asset as the ability to stamp your feet on solid ground is an attractive one, whether you are a farmer or an investor.

Hobbs Parker are delighted to be instructed to offer land at Barn End Farm, at Wilmington, near Dartford in North Kent to the market. This is an opportunity to acquire good quality grade II and grade III arable land, located within the M25


motorway and within the Metropolitan Greenbelt. It extends to approximately 285.75 acres (115.64 hectares) and is offered as a whole or in three distinct lots ranging from extending to 162.33 acres, 78.81 acres and 44.61 acres respectively. The previous share farming agreement has expired, and the land is ready to be farmed.

Following recent successes in North Kent Hobbs Parker anticipate strong levels of interest. Viewings are strictly through prior appointment with the selling agents. The sale is being handled by directors James Hickman and Vicky Phillips.

WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET | NOVEMBER 2022 Full details are available at


The market for biodiversity net gain (BNG) is rapidly emerging, heralding a potentially lucrative opportunity for farmers and landowners.

Estimates of the total annual BNG requirement vary widely. Some reports are suggesting 7,000 ‘units’, while others put it at 7,000ha, an area that has the potential of generating between 20,000 and 40,000 ‘units’.

We’re already seeing demand growing and deals being done, even though BNG is not set to become mandatory under the Environment Act until November 2023.

For some farmers, it might be a case of providing, say, three to six ‘units’ of BNG as a way of supplementing their income, but it’s perfectly conceivable that medium-sized farms could devise schemes that deliver, say, 40 units. The largest farms and estates that pursue it as a central plank of their strategy could provide hundreds or even thousands of units.

Whatever the scale, it’s important to be proactive so you don’t end up as a price-taker if a developer is interested in you providing the ‘offset’.

If you know what is deliverable, you stand a better chance of driving a better deal and are less likely to undervalue the opportunity.

The big question, of course, is how much developers are paying. Our experience is that the payments are potentially far greater than what’s available under Countryside Stewardship.

We were selected to be involved with Natural England's pilot project, so have been close to the market from the start. Just one recent example: an agreement we’ve been involved with will see a landowner providing three units of BNG per ha, with a payment of about £25,000/unit. Other deals we’ve helped shape are for even bigger sums.

BNG won’t be for everyone, of course – not least because it’s committing land to a 30-year agreement (stewardship is for five or 10 years), but if you have experience, for example, of creating wildflower meadows, managing flood

plain grazing marsh, restoring ponds or planting hedges, it could be an important revenue stream and means of supporting nature recovery projects on your land.

So what can you do? Initially there’s the ‘baselining’, which is establishing what biodiversity you currently have and modelling what you could enhance or create. You should also look at local planning policies. Some local authorities are already earmarking potential areas for ‘offsetting’ and it’s worth looking at the local Nature Recovery Strategy which informs this.

It’s worth viewing BNG as a ‘commodity’. Don’t just think about it in terms of area; think about ‘yield’. If someone asked you to grow an alternative crop for them, the deal probably wouldn’t be based simply on an acreage. You’d ask how many tonnes they are needing/expecting. You’d negotiate a price based not on the area grown but partly on what margin you sought, partly on the market price and partly on the t/ha yield.

Equally, you’d want to work out the fit with the rest of the rotation and which land would

provide the best yield. Then you’d want to think about establishing and managing the crop to give yourself the best chance of success, all in a way, of course, that fits with the rest of the business, including tax and inheritance planning.

The BNG market is starting to come alive and being proactive will ensure you can drive the price, rather than end up as a price-taker.


Already enshrined in law and due to be implemented from November 2023, BNG is a planning concept that requires developers to provide a minimum of 10% more biodiversity than that lost at a development site. It can be provided ‘off site’, ie on farms a distance from the development. The amount of biodiversity lost as a result of the development and the required additional provision is calculated through a system of ‘units’ using a recognised metric.


We have in-house experts accredited with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), planning specialists and farm and estate management consultants, so can do everything from habitat surveys and metric calculations to modelling and creating habitats – all in a way that is fully integrated with your farming business.

ANTHONY WESTON Director, CLM T: 01892 770339


Lambert and Foster is delighted to be marketing Landport Brooks at a guide price of £275,000. Located within the South Downs National Park and just outside the popular county town of Lewes, the land offers a unique chance to purchase two linked blocks of pasture land separated by the Lewes to Plumpton railway line and bound by a kilometre of single bank frontage on to the River Ouse. The land also includes a few acres of the Offham Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Landport Brooks is considered to have high ecological/conservation appeal

offers the exciting potential to establish biodiversity net gain opportunities.

The land is being sold subject to an annual periodic farm business tenancy, with vacant possession obtainable from March 2024. This coincides with the termination of the basic payment scheme and roll out of the new Environmental Land Management schemes in England, which have a greater focus on achieving net zero targets.

GUIDE PRICE: £275,000LEWES | EAST SUSSEX Full details are available from or from Lambert & Foster’s Sussex office.i LAND AND FARMS CIRENCESTER 01285 323200 CRANBROOK 01580 201888 Thinking of diversifying? Talk to us. Chartered Town Planner
Isfield, East Sussex About 187 acres I Guide £5 million For sale as a whole Private wildlife haven. Impressive 7 bedroom country house. Exceptional example of environmental and conservation management. Significant commercial and holiday let income. Biomass and solar energy efficiency. Accessible to Lewes, Brighton and London Chris Spofforth Farm Agency 07812 965379 Richard Mann Farm Agency 07967 555862 Talk to us today Savills Sevenoaks 01732 879 050 FOR SALE


With land increasingly valued as much for its ability to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint and satisfy the environmental agenda as for its potential to grow food, the challenges facing farming are well documented.

But while the push for ‘net zero’ has brought new income-generating opportunities for landowners who can take advantage of such things as rewilding, regenerative agriculture and water catchment

the opportunities for tenant farmers are less clear.

Agricultural land has historically been owned, occupied and managed by a broad church of farmers and investors, landlords and tenants, sole traders, family businesses, share farming and contract farming arrangements, but the new environmental focus seems set to change the direction of the industry.

The fear is that schemes aimed at improving biodiversity could create a monoculture in both landscape and tenure, with tenants squeezed out by the drive to cut carbon instead of grow crops and rear livestock.

Batcheller Monkhouse believes the opportunities and threats arising from this new policy direction must also benefit the interests of those who have been the custodians of the land for generations. While the Tenant Farmers’ Association is on the case and DEFRA’s new tenancy working group may help, feedback from working groups and pilot schemes must be allowed to influence grants and schemes to ensure full industry engagement.

An estimated 30% of UK farms are occupied by tenants, farming almost 2.5 million hectares and contributing significantly to UK food production. The danger is that policy payments encouraging rewilding, tree planting and the like will incentivise landowners to take the land back in hand, impacting not just the future of the industry but also the nation’s food security.

Batcheller Monkhouse works closely with landowners on identifying new income

opportunities, and for some this will clearly be a sensible move. It recognises, however, that in times of change the industry needs a collaborative approach that supports and represents both owners and occupiers.

Taking land back in hand to pursue environmental objectives will also restrict its availability to the new entrants the Government claims to want to attract through incentives such as the lump sum exit payment scheme and young farmer and new entrant payments.

One challenge facing the landlord and tenant relationship is the need to consider the land’s environmental merit, and therefore its income potential when negotiating rents.

Will environmental features be considered an asset when determining the rent? Or is there an argument that assets such as water catchment management or carbon sequestration only have value once a tenant has ‘unlocked’ their potential?

The treatment of a tenant’s commitment to the net zero agenda by, for example, increasing soil organic matter, also needs clarification. Whether it is deemed a tenant improvement that provides an entitlement to end of tenancy compensation or is simply seen as complying with the rules of good husbandry will influence how much time, money and energy a tenant is willing to invest.

If tenants are to continue to invest in a holding,

as well as engaging with schemes such as Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery, they will need future security, which landlords must be encouraged to provide. A starting point must surely be to extend tenancies beyond the existing 3.8 year average term for bare land.

One area of concern surrounding Agricultural Holdings Act (AHA) tenancies is the Government’s plan to treble tree planting in England to meet a UK-wide target of 30,000 hectares a year by 2024.

Forestry is considered a non-agricultural use under the Act, which means that a landlord can rely upon section 27(3) to terminate an existing AHA tenancy where the future intended use is, for example, woodland creation. This could threaten the security of tenure that protected tenants otherwise benefit from.

When it comes to farm business tenancies, clauses outlining what both landlord and tenant can and can’t do regarding biodiversity net gain, carbon sequestration, carbon offsetting and the like will require careful review.

Landlords also need to be cautious about how a tenant takes advantage of new opportunities; engaging with third parties could lead to assignment or subletting, affecting the landlord’s interest. In addition, the tax treatment as a result of what is arguably a change in land use will need thinking through.

WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET | NOVEMBER 2022 61 TO ADVERTISE CALL 01303 233883 LAND MANAGEMENT DAVID BLAKE Batcheller Monkhouse Haywards Heath T: 01444 412402 E: HELEN CLOUTING Batcheller Monkhouse Haywards Heath T: 01444 412402 E:
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NOVEMBER 2022 | WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET 66 CLASSIFIEDS CROP DRYING HAULIERS FENCING PRESSURE WASHERS HAY & STRAW IN STOCK | ROUND & BIG SQUARE BALES 07860 728204 Find us on Facebook Hay & Straw Merchant | Machinery Haulage FOR HIRE FENCING CWP fencing Tel: 07985 298221 Standing Sweet Chestnut Wanted Cleft post and rail Cleft field gates Fencing stakes Straining posts Chestnut fencing Tel: 07985298221 Standing Sweet Chestnut Wanted Cleft post and rail Cleft field gates Fencing stakes Straining posts Chestnut fencing Tel: 07985298221 Standing Sweet Chestnut Wanted Cleft post and rail Cleft field gates Fencing stakes Straining posts Chestnut fencing Redhill Farm Services: Fencing Division ALL TYPES OF FENCING & GATES Supplied and erected & Repairs Tel: 01737 821220 Mob: 07768 931891 Email: STORAGE TANKS Visit or call 01594 833308 Buy from stock. Visit us to collect or same day dispatch with nationwide delivery. New and recycled IBC tanks. Plastic and steel drums. Water tanks & plenty of fittings. Smiths of the Forest of Dean The Tank and Drum Experts Visit or call 01594 833308 Buy from stock. Visit us to collect or same day dispatch with nationwide delivery. New and recycled IBC tanks. Plastic and steel drums. Water tanks & plenty of fittings. Smiths of the Forest of Dean The Tank and Drum Experts • Toilets & Showers for hire • Large range of Temporary canteens, stores & welfare units • E uent Tank Emptying • Events also catered for with chillers & toilets FOUR JAYS GROUP Tel: 01622 843135 Fax: 01622 844410 HIRE SPECIALISTS ACROSS THE SOUTH EAST | | 01526 342466 PELLCROFT Manufacturers of centrifugal, low volume and portable fans, air tunnels, drive over oors, grain stirrers and gas burners We are a leading supplier and an approved repair centre With 50 years trading in the cleaning industry. With our strong ties and long term relationship with the leading manufacturers 01825 705777 Unit 4, 72 Bell Lane Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 1QL SALES SERVICE HIRE LAND DRAINAGE, EARTHWORKS, GROUNDWORKS & CONSTRUCTION FULL LAND DRAINAGE SERVICE Sportsfields, amenity and irrigation systems using Mastenbroek trenchers PONDS, LAKES & RESERVOIRS Construction and maintenance GROUNDWORKS & CONSTRUCTION Primary excavations, aggregate sub-base, agricultural construction and concreting ENVIRONMENTAL HABITATS Water course maintenance and improvement works For all enquiries call 01233 860404 or 07770 867625 (Harvey) CONTRACTORS


1 An American football term [used to determine teams in the Super Bowl] (8)

5 Squash, squeeze (5)

8 Expanded, enlarged, marked up (9)

a wild state (5)

The point of a fork (4)

Openings in a wall fitted with glass (7)

item of waterproof footwear (10,4)

Possessing great power (6)

Flowering plant with rhizome

as a spice (6)

Swollen (7)

Diving duck (4)

picture that shows natural scenery (9)

Scary (8)

piece (4)

The text appearing on a page [size, style etc] (5)

term describing the support of a cornice (5)

Cricket term (4)

4 The latest style in clothing, hair and make up (7)

Tall, slender marsh plants (5)

Hair care product (7)

10 A game played on horseback (4)

Theme of a book (4)

14 --------- Dartmoor, sheep breed (9)

Number (4)

Cooking appliance [Ceramic, gas, electric, induction] (3)

Large waterbirds (5)

Tree (3)

Rouse from sleep (6)

Misplaces (5)

warning sound (5)

post in


WWW.SOUTHEASTFARMER.NET | NOVEMBER 2022 67 TO ADVERTISE CALL 01303 233883 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 27 28 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 26 27 28 ® VI NE YA R DS COMPLETE OUR CROSSWORD TO WIN One bottle of Pinot Reserve and one bottle of Ortega VI NE YA R DS T O O T H A C H E S C A T Y R A H H R R E G U L A R L Y A R U N E A L O A S M S I N K I N T E R I M P I M E H O R S E C H E S T N U T Y I E S P A T T E R S E A S O N E I I L N B R C E I L I N G B E E R B A Y G R A S O N G T H R U S H A N L E I S D T E C H N I C A L S T A Y LAST MONTH’S ANSWERS: PRIZE ANAGRAM: Culinary apple (7,6) CROSSWORD
9 In
14 An
26 A
28 Chess
2 A
23 A
24 Vertical
To enter, simply unscramble the anagram (7,6) using the green squares. Email your replies with your name, address and phone number to Correct entries will be entered into a draw which will take place on 22 November. The winner will be announced in the December edition. As we edge closer to winter, we are offering readers the chance to win one bottle of Pinot Reserve and one bottle of Ortega. Enter the crossword to be in with a chance of winning four bottles of our favourite wine, Ortega. For more information about the vineyards, please visit or call 01580 291726. *Subject to availability Correct answer: Shire Horses LAST MONTH’S WINNER: Thomas Mursell from Billingshurst, West Sussex
Crossword by Rebecca Farmer, Broadstairs, Kent

We’re not just global auditors…









We are thrilled to be exhibiting at the 89th



We are proud to be

support owner managed businesses and SME’s too. We become part of your business with...
& Accounting Our bookkeeping and accounting services provide a flexible and cost-effective solution that can be shaped to meet your needs.
software training - We can provide advice when and where it is needed.
financial statements - Our financial reporting advisory team can guide you through the relevant accounting framework to ensure you are compliant and meet the standards required.
compliance - Inclusive of Intrastat, EU reporting, and across all EU territories VAT registration and online services.
reporting - Designed to meet your specific requirements. Payroll - A fully managed global solution, including a comprehensive Auto Enrolment managed service.
Our company secretarial service is designed to cover all aspects of increasingly complex statutory compliance, providing you with assurance that all obligations under the Companies Act are met.
National Fruit Show, from 2nd to
November 2022. Visitors to our stand will be able to
to our team of agricultural, food and farming experts.
supporting Porchlight a Kent based charity and will be serving up some delicious hot apple crumble in exchange for a small donation, so please meet us on stand K23

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