The Threshing Barn - Stocks Farm
The Threshing Barn - Stocks Farm

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History of Stocks Farm...

Stocks Farm is a 750-acre arable farm adjoining the beautiful Meon Valley and close to the South Downs. It is predominantly chalk soil but with areas of clay loam and some flinty areas. Until 1996 it incorporated a 140 cow dairy herd of Holstein Friesians, but this was consequently sold. The dairy buildings have since been converted into residential housing for letting, creating a small farm hamlet.

During the early part of the century the farm was part of the vast Nicholson estate but was sold off in 1947. The present owners father came to Stocks Farm in 1942 as a tenant farmer and then went on to purchase the farm in the 1950's.

It is now fully arable with the following crops being the main ones grown on a rotational system. Oil seed rape, wheat and barley are the main crops, with oats, borage, beans, peas and turnips being grown as break crops. The minimal tillage system is now used which means no ploughing takes place, the soil just being cultivated before being drilled with the next crop and then rolled. This means that the process of establishing a crop is quicker, less fuel is used and labour reduced, therefore lessening the carbon footprint.

John Dalton has farmed the land since 1996 following the retirement of other family members in the partnership. It is now a prize winning conservational farm, with the latest modern technical machinery being used. It has a 15 tonne per hour grain dryer, 2500 tonnes of storage barns and its own weighbridge.

The crops are sold to various grain merchants for different purposes. A high proportion is sold for export. Wheat of milling standard is the highest valued crop and the majority of this goes to Rank Hovis McDougal at Andover. Lesser quality wheat is sold for animal feed. Oil seed rape is used for industrial oils and margarine. John sells the crops at various times of year, either at forward prices or through a pool marketing system.

Farming having changed so much over the past 15 years and with different sorts of Government and EU grants coming and going, and with ever increasing bureaucracy being introduced, as well as endless health and safety issues, it is an increasingly challenging profession. Stocks Farm is a fine example of a modern, well equipped, efficiently run and aesthetically pleasing arable property. This dovetails with the farm diversifying in 2002 into contract farming arrangements with 2 neighbouring farms and recently in 2008 being appointed contract farmer on a large estate near Winchester, thus giving a total acreage of 2300. If you would like more information or would like to stay on the farm click here