Derbyshire - Campaign to Protect Rural England

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Etwall farm visit

On Saturday 28 June fourteen of us assembled for a guided tour of Baldfields Farm, Etwall.

Despite an overcast start, the rain managed to hold off and allowed us to enjoy an extremely informative tour of the farm with our hosts, Angela and Barry Sargent.

We heard how the farming system has evolved over the years, in terms of the arable crops grown on the heavy soils, increased use of contractors for field work, timing of calving and lambing, together with the increased use of direct sales to reduce reliance on the variable market for beef and lamb.

We saw the extensive ‘ridge and furrow’ earthworks across the farm, with Angela explaining how this was formed in medieval times and its value in draining the land for cropping.

Barry explained how the beef system works, with the cows calving in April and calves reared to between 12 and 15 months old before going for beef, a proportion of which is sold locally through their direct meat sales business.

We also saw the bull, Dallas, at first hand and heard about his interesting arrival on the farm, where he promptly went on the rampage, smashing down the fences!  He has, at least, been quiet ever since. 

It was great to see how much is being done for wildlife on the farm - we saw several recently restored hedgerows which had been ‘laid’ to thicken them out and increase their value for wildlife such as nesting yellowhammer. 

All in all, a very rewarding day, which saw us go home happy and fully stocked with Baldfields farm meat and honey!

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