Patrick Dean Ltd is hosting the 2012 Cereals event. Here are some key facts and figures about the business – a private farming company based four miles south of Lincoln on the Lincolnshire limestone heath at Mere.
Farm Size: The business occupies 1500ha across three farms including the cereals site at Boothby Graffoe. Additional land is rented from the Ministry of Defence and neighbouring farmers for growing potatoes.
Soils: The limestone medium loams are very stony and, while free draining, can be sticky.
Rainfall: Average rainfall is 600mm/year. A comprehensive irrigation system serves the whole of the Mere Farm using abstraction licences of 195m litres from various spring-fed lakes and winter storage reservoirs.
Cropping: Crops consist of winter wheat, potatoes, oilseed rape, sugar beet, spring barley and poppies for morphine production. The standard rotation is potatoes followed by wheat, sugar beet, spring barley, OSR, wheat, sugar beet, poppies and wheat. All crops are established following a plough with mounted presses.
Wheat (450ha): Varieties (in order of importance): KWS Santiago, KWS Solo, Conqueror, Oakley, Invicta, Duxford.
Average yield: 8t/ha, 60% feed, 20% group 3, 20% for seed production.
Potatoes (90 ha): Varieties (in order of importance): Marfona, Saxon & Desiree
Average yield: 60t/ha. Annual production of potatoes is about 5500t of which 3500t are box stored in three up-to-date, fully environmentally controlled stores at Mere. All potatoes are graded and packed by Branston, a major supplier of Tesco and other retail outlets.
Oilseed rape (150 ha): Varieties (in order of importance): Sesame & DK Cabernet
Average yield: 4.5t/ha
Sugar beet (170 ha): Varieties (in order of importance): Badger, Lipizann, Cayman
Average yield: 65t/ha. A Holmer sugar beet harvester owned and operated with H&J Neville and Son and Blankney Estates harvests around 1000ha of the host farms and neighbouring farmers’ beet each year.
Other crops: Poppies for morphine production (50ha), spring barley (50ha) and grassland in Scotland (500 ha).
Machinery: Combine, five tractors, self-propelled sprayer, two telehandlers, eight-furrow plough with mounted presses, 4m combi drill & 12-row beet drill, spring tine cultivator, fertiliser spreader, share in six-row beet harvester, baler, various potato and irrigation equipment.
Grain storage: 3,000t floor storage after continuous flow drier plus 1750t on floor drying.
Other information: Patrick Dean Ltd operates a pig unit on Boothby Graffoe heath which produces around 12,500 pigs a year at a slaughter weight of 78kg from around 520 sows. The pigs are sold to Woodheads at Spalding, where fresh pork is packed for Morrisons supermarkets. On the 500 ha of grassland in Scotland the business has 185 suckler cows and 750 breeding ewes. One 44t lorry is also run as a commercial haulage operation delivering sugar beet in the winter and grain in the summer.