8 March 2002

In hand cut on Norfolk estate

A SECOND big Norfolk estate has decided to reduce its level of "in-hand" farming because of economic trends.

Lord Hastings, whose family estate is in the Melton Constable area, is to lease about 2000 acres to other farming businesses.

But his son, Delaval Astley, is to establish a new organic enterprise based on 900 acres and employing four people.

The restructuring is in response to economic trends.

Mr Astley said: "I intend to phase the organic conversion over a period of five years and aim to sell as much as possible locally."

A few weeks ago the Raveningham Estate in south Norfolk announced it was quitting "in-hand" farming in favour of lease agreements. &#42