Gaddesden Home Farm
The underlying rock is chalk, with a clay cap. The soils are predominantly Batcombe Series Clay with Flints.
The area is a well known site for Hertfordshire Pudding Stones, a glacial conglomerate, which has the appearance of pebbles in concrete.
Recent research has established that the field pattern still retains the skeletal outline of Iron Age and Roman farming. Though much altered in the intervening centuries, many of the boundaries may be more than 2000 years old.
Arable farming is undertaken Halsey and Partners, the family farming business. Most of the cultivations are based on a “min-till” system, that is minimum tillage, without the use of ploughing. Contract work is undertaken by PR Farming Ltd, much of it using a Mzuri seed drill and the remainder sown with a Horsch drill.
Approximately three quarters of the land is in winter crops, growing Milling Wheat, Feed Wheat and Oilseed Rape. The rest is cropped with Spring Beans and Spring Barley.
As far as possible all inputs are determined GPS, using nutrient maps prepared by SOYL and crop yield mapping recorded by the combine harvester.
With the exception of the chalk hillsides to the south west of the farm, all the land receives a dressing of lime on a four year rotation.
Support from DEFRA and the European Union is received through the Basic Payment Scheme and the Environmental Stewardship Scheme, Entry and Higher Level.
The Home Farm is accredited under the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme (ACCS) No. 9475.
Cornthwaite and Partners, of “Grove Farm Meats”, farm the grazing land in Gaddesden Park, breeding lamb and single suckler beef, much of which is sold through stalls at Berkhamsted and Wendover Framers’ Markets. The Upperwood Farm Stud breeds thoroughbred racehorses and sheep, while Hawbush Farm is occupied by a starter beef and sheep enterprise.
There is provision for drying and storage of 1,800 tons of produce.