Colin Gisborne, the herd supervisor responsible for the day to day running of Broadstone Farm, in the village of Middle Chinnock, not far from Yeovil, thinks it’s the perfect place to live. It’s set in a peaceful location close to the Ham Hill country park, the source of the mellow coloured Ham Hill Stone which has been used for the construction of many of the buildings in the area.
The farm’s 302 acres are supplemented by a further 350 acres farmed on contract nearby. Together they sustain 304 milking cows and around 200 young stock. The decision to keep all young stock on farm is something Colin is very passionate about “knowing your heifers from the day they are born through to the day they calve and enter the herd is very interesting for me. Watching animals grow knowing they will be the future of our herd is something you can’t fail to be proud of”.
Broadstone Farm has invested heavily in new silage clamps, revamped existing cow housing with new cubicles and mattress systems and installed crushed limestone oolithic cow tracks. All of the investments made on the farm have been either to improve cow welfare or meet current legislation with regard to the environment.
All forage production both grazed grass and ensiled silage are home grown, grazing fields are reseeded with White Clover based leys every five years with a one year cereal crop grown if it fits with the whole farm rotation. Red Clover leys are used extensively for forage production to provide winter feed, the farm also produces fodder beet, winter wheat and triticale. The cereal crops grown are either ensiled as high dry matter forage or the grain is combined moist and crimped for use as a high starch concentrate.
Farm Size - 302 acres and 300 acres contract farming agreement to purchase crops.
Cow Numbers - 300
Aspect - Soil Type Clay based loam over sand stone bed rock.
Youngstock Numbers - 100+ on farm 60 reared at dedicated rearing farm.
Crops Grown on Farm for Feeding - Home grown forage grass whole crop some wheat crimped for use as concentrate fodder beet.
Aims of rotations - As much feed grown on farm as possible
Typical Housing periods - Nov - April
- Coombe Farm Assured Organic Milk Scheme.
- National Dairy Farm Assured
- Freedom Food
Organic Certifier: Soil Association
Training - Fully trained competent staff
Summary of Farm
A well managed, dairy unit operating in close proximity to two important tributaries of the River Parrett. Habitat creation and protection of the stream margin are key objectives under the River Parrett Catchment Project. Public access afforded by the Monarchs’ Way that traverses the western side of the farm. An extensive programme of pollarding is proposed for the willows alongside the Chinnock Brook. Hedgeline programme will create wildlife corridors.
Overview of Farm
Broadstone Farm is a 302 acre holding owned by Coombe Farms that supports a 300 cow milking herd supplying milk. The farm lies 3 miles north east of Crewkerne and accommodates the Chinnock Brook and Broad River both of which are important tributaries of the River Parrett.
The landscape is typical of the upper Parrett catchment with gentle rolling hills dissected by small streams providing a diverse range of habitats. The main conservation value is derived from hedgerows, streams, field margins and small areas of woodland.
The Monarchs’ Way connects Haselbury Plucknett with West Chinnock and passes through fields on the southern edge of the holding.
The predominant soil type across the farm is a clay based loam.
Hedges - The hedgerows on the farm have good conservation value. Hedges are extremely important refuges for wildlife. The structure of the hedges throughout the holding varies with a good mixture of species and density.
The hedges are protected and managed in such a way to increase their value to wildlife.
Trees - Veteran trees form an important part of our cultural and historical heritage, greatly contributing to the landscape in many areas. They are often several hundred years old and have a unique style and form. Each tree supports a very wide range of species, including plants, insects, lichens, fungi and micro-organisms, many of which only survive in these specialised conditions.
Hollows and holes provide nesting and roosting sites for birds, bats, other small mammals and insects. Veteran trees can be the host for climbing plants such as ivy, providing nectar sources when no others are available.
Field margins - Wildlife use the hedge bases for much of their day-to-day living and feeding, the field margin is therefore a vital resource.
Watercourses - Broadstone Farm accommodates the Chinnock Brook and Broad River both of which are important tributaries of the River Parrett.
The streams support a diversity of wildlife and the Chinnock Brook is protected from livestock ingress and bank side erosion by a newly established fenceline.
Grassland - There is a parcel of unimproved grassland along the escarpment that contains wildflowers.
Access - The farm is traversed by the Monarchs’ Way that connects Haselbury Plucknett with West Chinnock All pathways are clearly signed and stiles have been provided for walkers to cross fencelines.
The footpath crosses the southern edge of the farm and descends to the Broad River via the escarpment thus affording public access to the proposed conservation area.
Farmyard manure, slurry and dirty water
There are good storage facilities for manures at Broadstone Farm.