Baker Brothers sell up

ONE OF UK agriculture’s most entrepreneurial families is selling its substantial Northants arable and dairy unit lock-stock-and-barrel.

The Ashby St Ledgers Estate is owned by the three remaining Baker brothers whose father Fred turned a small shop and slaughterhouse in Rugby into the multi-million pound Baker Group of companies.

This  included Midland Meat Packers, one of the country’s largest meat-packing businesses.

“There is so much going on here, but there are still so many angles to develop”, said the firm’s Mark McAndrew. 

Two dairy farms, one conventional, the other organic, operate on the estate. And, even with the decline in the price of organic milk, Mr Barfoot said the 120-cow unit, which has an average lactation of 6700 litres, still made a good profit after taking into account rent and administration costs. “I treat it as a separate profit centre.”
Conventional farming hasn’t been neglected either, and the 320-cow capacity 24:24 dairy is being upgraded to provided better accommodation for the herd’s elite milkers. Across the estate, first milling wheats average 3.5t/acre, said Mr Barfoot.

All of the estate’ farmland has been entered into Countryside Stewardship, which produces over £20,000 each year, and Mr Barfoot said he had already identified enough points to qualify for entry level environmental payments that could add a further £32,000.

Apart from the profitable farming business, Mr McAndrew says the estate, which he has guided at £10m, has a number of development possibilities.

For a further estimated £2.5m all stock and machinery would be included.


For more details see FARMERS WEEKLY Land and Farms July 8