Velcourt logo smallVine Farm is farmed by Velcourt’s Vine contracting (farm manager, Tim Whitehead), which farms a total of 1,405ha on behalf of two landowners in the Royston and Milton Keynes area.

The Wentzel Partnership runs 971ha of arable land at Vine Farm, Wendy and E W Peppers is responsible for another 650ha in north Hertfordshire.

Soil type
The soil around Vine Farm is a slightly stony clay loam, while the soil at the other sites in north Hertfordshire is a slightly stony sandy clay loam.

Due to the farms’ calcareous nature, pH levels are between 7.0-8.0.  P and K indices are generally 2 and above. Approximately a third of the farm is under drained and can be mole drained. Sub-soiling is carried out when necessary.

Rainfall
The 15-year average rainfall is 580 mm, while last year’s total was 694 mm.

2007 harvest cropping

Crop
Area (ha)
Percentage of total
Varieties
Winter wheat

802

57

  • Claire
  • Zebedee
  • Robigus
  • Nijinski
  • Gladiator
  • Cordiale
  • Hereward
  • Pearl
Winter barley (malting)

71

5

  • Pearl
Winter oilssed rape

234

16.5

  • Lioness
  • Castille
  • Hearty
Winter beans

15

1

  • Wizzard
Peas

64

4.5

  • Bunting
Sugar beet

47

3.5

  • Palace
  • Opta
Spring barley

60

4.5

  • Cocktail
ELS/ pasture

47

3.5

Machinery
The tractors, sprayer and combine are all leased directly through Case New Holland finance either short term (three months) or long term (2 – 4 years). Velcourt owns the tillage machinery and the majority of the fixed equipment.

Vehicles:

  • 1 x Isuzu Trooper 4wd
  • 1 x Escort Van 

Tractors:

  • 1 x CASE Quadtrac stx 490 (490 hp)
  • 1 x CASE MXM190 (193 hp)
  • 1 x CASE MX285 (300 hp)
  • 1 x CASE MXU125 with loader (125 hp)
  • 1 x Case MX135 (135 hp) – short term
  • 1 x Case MX110 (110 hp) – short term
  • 1 x Houseman 3000L Air-Ride Sprayer (158 hp)

Combine:

  • New Holland CR980 30’ cut

This represents 1.1 hp/ha.  The rubber tracked tractor is used for the primary, and the majority secondary cultivations and all of the drilling.  A 6m Vaderstaad Rapid with system disc is used for drilling.  Wheeled tractors are mainly used for loading, top dressing and haulage.

Grain storage
Wentzel Partnership
There is 5,800 tonnes of grain storage spread over the three farms; the 3,800 tonnes at Vine Farm can be dried using CHC Gas burners and electric fans.  The rest is on concrete floors at New England and Manor Farm.  There is good flexibility with the storage so that different ‘types’ of grain can be separated.  Approximately 1000 tonnes is sold at harvest.

E W Peppers
There is 3000 tonnes of storage at Beckerings Park, which has to be cleared out by the 15 September for onions. A further 3000 tonnes at Wireless Station near Royston again used for onions. Both these store have an under floor drying system. Lastly there is 500 tonnes storage at Town Farm, Guilden Morden that is look term but the floor has limited airflow.

Conservation
Wentzel Partnership

This business entered into a 5-year Entry Level Scheme agreement starting the 1 March 2006. 4m strips along side watercourses and hedgerow management have achieved the majority of the points required. Wentzel Partnership is a member of LEAF.

E W Peppers
The environmental schemes are the responsibility of the landowner, however it has to be closely coordinated with the arable operations and cropping. They are signed up to both The Countrywide Stewardship Scheme and to the Entry Level Scheme.

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