Incorporating a range of different farming systems, our farms demonstrate a mix of enterprises run on a commercial basis.
The University farms are based at two locations in close proximity to the campus. Coates Manor Farm and Harnhill Manor Farm total 491 hectares in size (1,200 acres), and offer very different farming systems. There is also an equine enterprise providing a stabling and livery facility at Fossehill Farm. All the enterprises are run on a commercial basis, and our students benefit through access to their physical and financial data.
The mix of enterprises across our farms consist of cattle, sheep, outdoor organic pigs, horses and arable, and students also have access to dairy farms. These various enterprises provide a field laboratory for students and staff, and are used for farm classes, demonstrations and projects.
The farms are a focus for research. Current projects being undertaken include an investigation into reduced cultivation and improvements in soil organic matter and fertility. Field and plot trials are undertaken on the farms by commercial companies on an on-going basis, and the farms provide a number of demonstration and trial areas.
The University farms are part of the Higher-Level Stewardship Scheme and are committed to enhancing the environmental value of their holdings. Research and demonstration projects, often involving outside funding and other external organisations, are a continual part of the farms’ business and educational programmes.
Harnhill Manor Farm
Harnhill Manor Farm is an example of an integrated livestock and cropping system, part of which is managed organically. It is associated with a 120-sow outdoor organic pig herd, managed as a joint venture with a local business partner. In addition, a mule, Lleyn ewe breeding flock is kept under a conventional farming system together with a calf rearing enterprise. Arable cropping is rotated with forage crops, grown to support the livestock and to facilitate an effective rotation to underpin the management of a mixed farming system.
The University has also taken over the tenancy of a 2.6 ha vineyard, producing white wine to be bottled and marketed commercially.
Coates Manor Farm
Coates Manor Farm is predominantly arable cropped, with some pasture land supporting the equine activity.
We currently grow feed and milling wheat, oilseed rape and spring malting barley.
Fossehill Farm is adjacent to Coates and provides livery stabling for students and associated exercise facilities. The stabling is set out over eight barns and features a 1,000m all-weather exercise track and an outdoor arena.
Kemble Farms Ltd
This large dairy complex, just half a mile from the main campus, provides outstanding opportunities for our students to learn about and experience all aspects of an increasingly large scale and dynamic industry. Kemble Farms Ltd allow our students access to observe their commercial management of a high-yielding, 900-cow, all-year-round calving dairy unit.
In addition, it boasts an anaerobic digester making use of the cow slurry to generate electricity.
To provide a contrast, students have access to this 300-cow autumn block calving herd utilising a grass-based system.
Additionally, the University uses numerous farms, estates and businesses, both locally and further afield, for visits and practical exercises.