Farming practice

The estate has two major objectives.  The first is to achieve sustainability. This means that the farming enterprise must maintain productivity by keeping purchased inputs to a minimum and making the optimum use of self-generated fertility derived from composted animal manures and the nodules of leguminous plants.

The second is to protect the environment and conserve nature. Grassland and arable acreages are managed responsibly and every effort is made to protect the wide variety of plants and wildlife that are found on the estate.

The grass fields form two significant areas.  Some are dedicated to the restoration or preservation of chalk downland and are hence of low Farming Practice at Cholderton Estate but are utilised as part of grazing areas with low stocking rates.

Others form part of the arable rotation and are dominated by legumes such as Red and White Clover, Lucerne and Sainfoin.  These are highly productive and form areas for intensive grazing and forage conservation. These fields are very important for many insects, birds and particularly Bumble Bees which swarm amongst the flowering legumes.

Barley, Oats and Vetches are currently grown for animal feed; no weed control is undertaken and yet high yields are consistently achieved.  These crops include rare arable plants and are valuable for wildlife, supporting significant populations of and ground nesting birds such as Lapwings, Skylark and Corn Bunting.

Vetches are particularly important for Bees and yield a high protein seed which is ground and fed to the cattle.

Farming practice - managing grassland PDF

Farming practice - managing crops and field margins PDF

Farming practice - managing chalk downlands PDF