In 1956 when the 8th Marquess and Marchioness moved into Ragley Hall, all of the farmland on the Ragley Estate was rented out, including the parkland that surrounded the Hall.
In 1957, the 8th Marquess set up an in-house farming operation at Kingley Farm which he ran himself. There was a dairy unit and a reasonably large chicken unit for egg production. The farm occupied 300 acres.
As time progressed land was taken back, first the parkland and then the outlying farms.
Ragley Home Farms was formed in the early 1970’s and the farm base moved from Kingley to Weethley.
A bigger dairy was built in 1984 and in 1986, aged 32, Henry Jocelyn Seymour, son of the 8th Marquess and Marchioness became Farm Manager. It was to be a valuable insight into the business that he went on to inherit in 1991.
The farm continued with dairy cows, sheep and arable crops of wheat, oilseed rape, barley and beans. Vegetable production was introduced in the mid 1990’s and reservoirs were dug for water storage.
Ragley’s Farm Manager, Jon Parker, joined the business in 2002 when it went through a period of restructure.
Ragley Home Farms halted dairy production at the end of 2003 when the company we were supplying to went bust.
It was around about this time that we started to think more about the environment that we were farming in and how we could produce food, rear animals and care for our environment at the same time and we entered into the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in 2003.
Ragley Home Farms - Today
Today, Ragley Home Farms is a 3,500 acre arable, beef and sheep farm that is integral to the Ragley Estate.
A ‘LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) Demonstration Farm’ we practise Integrated Farm Management. IFM is a whole farm, sustainable approach producing healthy crops and livestock in an environmentally responsible way.
All products are assured under the LEAF Marque and Red Tractor farm assurance schemes.
All of our livestock are grass reared, using extensive grazing techniques. Output is tailored to the demands of our associated business Ragley Estate Meats. Our arable production includes quality milling wheat, which is bought by Warburton’s for bread making and HEAR (High Erucic Acid) oilseed rape which is used in such products as cling film and polythene.
We are part of various Environmental Stewardship Schemes, where we have decided to take some land out of production or reduce the intensity of production. In conjunction with this scheme, we have established 100 km of conservation field margins, changed our hedgerow management policy, reverted land from arable to grassland and manage some of the grassland on a very low input regime.
Ragley Home Farms uses the latest equipment and techniques to ensure that we combine the best modern technology with the best traditional techniques including the use of GPS and variable rate fertiliser application.
For more information please call: 01789 768692 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.