The big land launches of 2016 – what happened next?

The sale of several large-scale agricultural enterprises was a notable feature of the 2016 land market. 

Although few in number, the size of some operations launched attracted significant attention from farmers and investors alike.

Farmers Weekly spoke to the agents involved in five of 2016’s large-acreage launches to find out what happened next.

Goxhill Estate

  • Location: Hornsea, East Yorkshire
  • Guide price: £13.24m
  • Launched: May

About 1,250 acres of predominantly arable land with grassland, woodland and several farmhouses and equipped farm yards.

See also: Why the CIL planning tax is costing farmers thousands

“Interest came from both local and international buyers,” said Brown and Co’s partner James Walton.

“The property was offered for sale in up to five lots, but a sale was agreed in three lots. All the successful purchasers were local farmers and landowners in East Yorkshire.”

Compton Farms

  • Location: Newbury, Berkshire
  • Guide price: £25m
  • Launched: September 

A large commercial operation set across farmsteads with extensive modern farm buildings and 2,000 acres of predominantly arable land. Included 18 houses.

Demand was huge and the guide price was eventually exceeded, Savills’ rural director Giles Wordsworth told Farmers Weekly. Interest came in the farm as a whole and in lots.

Abbots Court Farm

  • Location: Burmarsh, Kent
  • Guide price: £11.15m
  • Launched: October 

Situated on the Romney Marshes the farm has 1,016 acres of predominantly Grade 2 arable land with modern buildings and three houses.

Interest was hugely diverse, from local farmers and rollover buyers to international investors, which resulted in the guide price being exceeded, according to Chris Spofforth, Savills’ farm agency director.

Braida Garth

  • Location: Ingleton, North Yorkshire
  • Guide price: £2.2m             
  • Launched: June

A well-equipped 1,268-acre hill farm comprising moorland, rough grazing, pasture and mowing land, running a flock of 700 sheep with a good range of livestock buildings plus farmhouse.

“This was a well-known farm in an area where it’s unusual to get anything over 500 acres,” said Will Parry, partner at Strutt & Parker. “It was bought by a farmer at just under the guide price.”

Farcet Farms 

  • Location: Yaxley Fen near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire
  • Guide price: £12.5m
  • Launched: June

About 1,265 acres of irrigated Grade 1 soils split over three sites growing onions, sugar beet and cereals. Some refrigerated storage and a total capacity for 1,900t of onions and 1,300t of on-floor grain.

Strutt & Parker’s farm agent Sam Holt said: “We received interest in the three lots from farming buyers, with mainly tax driven buyers looking at the whole. After a period of negotiation, the farm was sold as a whole to a European investor.”

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