Soil Farmer Of The Year 2022
Back in June we attended Groundswell at Lannock Manor Farm in Hertfordshire - The largest regenerative agriculture show & conference held in the UK. Here Billy was awarded the title of Mixed Soil Farmer of the Year. The competition which is now in its seventh year is run by the Farm Carbon Toolkit (FCT) in conjunction with Innovation for Agriculture. In October we held a farm walk organised by the FCT that was attended by over one hundred people. It's awesome to see so many people interested and engaged in what we're working towards at Boycefield.
National Junior Male Champion
Boycefield Wrangler took home Junior Male Champion at the National Hereford Cattle show held at Tenbury Countryside Show back in August. Wrangler, pictured here at 10 months old is sired by Haven Stanely, and out of Boycefield Pinky 28th. Keep Your eyes peeled for him around the show rings in 2023!
200th Anniversary On Farm Sale
2022 marks the bicentenary of our family breeding Hereford cattle. The Boycefield & Haven herds are the oldest herds of Hereford cattle in the world to be continuously owned under the same family name. Thomas Lewis founded the herd in 1822 and the family has remained involved for six generations since then, with cattle been exported to 24 different countries globally in that time. In 2003 the Haven herd split when James and Cin moved half of the cattle up to Boycefield. Making that their new herd prefix.
To mark the occasion of 200 years, we held an on-farm sale alongside the Haven herd with 39 pedigree heifers up for offer. All of our heifers went to great working herds, with Boycefield Acorn 45th fetching a price of 14,000gns!
Visit From The Princess Royal
As part of the 200th anniversary celebrations we were privileged to receive a royal visit. On arrival at The Haven, HRH Princess Royal was received by The Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire. Billy and Ben discussed all things Genetics, Mob Grazing and Regenerative agriculture with The Princess Royal then Philip Alman, Carolyn Fletcher & Paul Sneyd from the Hereford Cattle Society explained how the breed is adapting to new trends in the beef market.
Harvest 2022 Report
It will probably now seem a distant memory to some, but for those involved in agriculture the weather conditions we faced during the summer of 2022 has provided a stark wakeup call of what the future is likely to have in store for us. It’s looking like we have a lot of work to do to prepare ourselves for the sort of conditions that 1.2°C of global warming is going to bring us.
This year we have experienced the joint hottest Summer on record in England, with temperatures in the UK exceeding 40°C for the first time since records began. As well as the driest year since 1976. Our part of the West Midlands received just 35% of average summer rainfall resulting in a formal drought status being declared, this is likely to remain in place for some time yet.
There was some days around mid-August sort of time when crops were getting TOO DRY to cut. In a normal year wheat typically gets harvested when the grain is between 14-15% moisture content. This year the blistering heat throughout August meant that some crops were coming in as low as 11% moisture. This has a significant effect on overall yield, as well as causing storage complications. As a result, many farmers resorted to combining through the night and early hours of the morning. This was an attempt to try and cut in slightly damper conditions in order to add some moisture to the grain (this is unheard of). This isn’t the only reason harvest became a night time affair. The risk of field fires this year was extraordinary. Tinder dry conditions meant that the slightest spark from a piece of machinery was enough to immediately engulf it and the surrounding crop flames. At one stage it became a daily occurrence to be able to look out across the countryside and be able to spot a great ploom of black smoke as another tractor, combine or unharvested crop had gone ablaze.
Despite all this our yields were good and we got harvest in safely, autumn planting is now complete for the harvest 2023 crop so we are committed to the roller-coaster ride for another year yet with Wheat, Oats, Barley & Beans all to harvest!
Roll On 2023!
We've hosted a range of farm walks and discussions here at Boycefield in 2022. Including the Duchy of Cornwall, Soil Farmer of the Year, Farm Herefordshire, The Wildlife Trust, Our in-house farm walks & more! We will be hosting farm tours throughout the spring and summer of 2023!
Filming at Boycefield for the WWF
Back in June the World Wildlife Fund spent a couple of days on the farm filming for a series about the British landscape. We discussed all things soil health, biodiversity, mob grazing and sustainable agriculture. The series is due to air in early 2023 so watch out for that!