One of only a handful of commercial arable farms to be launched in North Yorkshire this year has entered the late autumn land market. 

Manor Farm has a history of conservation, having been used for a number of projects to research and promote the benefits of creating and maintaining environmental habitats on agricultural land.

Manor Farm, North Yorkshire

Manor Farm, near Malton, North Yorkshire

Owned since 2000 by the now-retiring Richard Brown, the 162ha unit near Malton is for sale at a guide price of £5m.

“We did a lot of the early environmental habitat research work on the farm, including a year-long video project with David Bellamy,” Mr Brown told Farmers Weekly.

Manor Farm, North Yorkshire

162ha of arable farmland

“It’s pretty well studied, researched and monitored from an environmental point of view by the agrochemical companies.

“It was also the scene of one of the Jordans Cereals adverts because we did some of the conservation grade production here.”

There is still evidence of the work round the farm, with some 16-year-old flower rich margins and about 12ha of maturing woodland, which was planted on marginal land.

See also: High land costs threaten future of many arable farms

Previously farmed in hand, Mr Brown said neighbours have acted as contractors for the past seven years, producing winter cereals yields at about 9t/ha.

Wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape make up the traditional rotation, but Grade 3 soils have produced potatoes for the past three years and sugar beet prior to that.

Manor Farm, North Yorkshire

The four-bedroom farmhouse was rebuilt 10 years ago

Although farmed to a high standard, Mr Brown thinks there is room to increase productivity.

“It hasn’t been intensively farmed – the land is put to a combination of habitat features and farmland so there is some scope for increasing production but, in terms of the quality of the land and the facilities, it isn’t the sort of place that would benefit from masses of investment.”

Money has been put in to completely rebuilding a four-bedroom farmhouse 10 years ago, and a 201kW biomass boiler with district heating system.

Offices and mill pond at Manor Fram, North Yorkshire

Offices and mill pond

A small range of buildings provides general storage, plus capacity for about 1,000t of grain.

Manor Farm was previously owned by Montague Burton, who founded Burton’s, one of the UK’s largest clothes shop chains.

Andrew Black, director at selling agent Savills in York, said: “The local market has been quite strong in the past six weeks and there has been a sudden increase in activity.”

Elsewhere in the region, Mr Black said that 120ha Winterfield Farm has just gone under offer above its £2.25m guide price.

“There won’t be four commercial 162ha farms in the county over the whole year, so Manor Farm is pretty rare,” he said.