The Iford Estate farms approx. 900 hectares or 2250 acres of arable land. The land is centred around Iford, and ranges from heavy clays near the River Ouse to thin chalk on the South Downs.
Cropping comprises about 400 ha (1000 acres) of wheat for milling and animal feed, with the majority grown for bread making. The fertile soils around the village of Iford provide good opportunities to achieve high yields, coupled with good quality.
In addition we grow barley for malting, most of which is exported to Europe through Shoreham or Southhampton, Oilseed Rape which is crushed at Erith in Kent to make LEAF assured cooking oil and seed peas for Birds Eye.
A small area of land is used to grow maize for feeding to our beef herd.
Whilst we aim to achieve high yields from our arable land it does not come at the expense of the environment. Fertiliser and sprays are carefully selected and accurately applied using GPS technology, and we are advised by an independent agronomist. In addition, applications of artificial fertiliser are reduced by the use of manure and other organic material, which also help build the organic matter in the soils, reducing the susceptibility of our most important asset to erosion and at the same time reducing the amount of fuel required to grow the crop.
All our frontline machinery is coupled to tractors that employ GPS, automatically steering the tractor to an accuracy of 2cm. In doing so we minimise overlaps further reducing fuel use. We also operate a “minimum tillage” system whereby most of the soil is not ploughed but cultivated instead. This improves the biology of the soil and once again reduces fuel usage and increases retention of organic matter.