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Celebrate the Platinum Jubilee with Dyson Farming Strawberries

Celebrate the Platinum Jubilee...

…with Dyson Farming Strawberries

Ahead of this momentous occasion we wanted to thank all our strawberry customers! Dyson Farming strawberries are available from M&S stores across the country and at selected local farm shops:

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The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Bid for your next getaway!

Bid for your next getaway!

BID FOR YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY!!

To the highest bidder, we are offering a stay at one of our exclusive holiday cottages on the edge of the North Wessex Downs AONB in East Ilsley, near Newbury, Berkshire

The cottage is available for 3 nights from 10th June:

  • 3 double bedrooms 
  • 3 bathrooms
  • 1 pet allowed

The usual rate for this property is £1100 for a three-night stay. We are offering the property with NO RESERVE to the highest bidder for a stay on the dates stated above.

Bids will be accepted on a ‘best and final’ basis before 12 noon on Monday 30th May.

Submissions should be made via email to leisure@dysonfarming.com

 

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The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Award recognition for supporting pollinators

Award recognition for supporting pollinators

We were thrilled to hear the announcement from DEFRA that Dyson Farming’s environmental team have been named winners of the Bees’ Needs Champions Awards in the farming category. Ian Willoughby, Environmental Coordinator, also received special mention in the annual awards that recognise and celebrate exemplary initiatives to support pollinators.

Our Ongoing Dedication

Dyson Farming covers 14000ha and has ten environmental stewardship schemes managing 1,300ha of environmental features. Alongside this is over 200ha of voluntary environmental features. Annual assessments of species diversity and site surveys are carried out at a field level. These surveys not only record the diversity, but also have located Andrena nitida one of the many solitary mining bee species that play such an important part in pollinating crops and wildflowers, this species had not been recorded in Lincolnshire for 100 years. 

Increasing species within our grass fields has a benefit to animal health and improves flora within the sward. This is achieved by transferring green hay and spreading, to allow the sheep and cattle to forage and tread in the seeds, predominantly premium seed mixes, as well as overseeding specific seed mechanically and harrowing into the sward.  

But it is not all about providing a food source, it is important to consider the wider picture. A proportion of hedgerows are managed by laying each year, creating dense growth from the base of the hedge giving greater shelter. While stonewalls are maintained to give niche habitats depending on the direction they face and woodland brash piles are left in rows or heaps from pruning’s which get grown in with grass and other vegetation, all to create the perfect conditions for insects to hibernate over the winter months. 

Environmental Stewardship Placement

Strategic placement of environmental features at a landscape level can help maximise benefits for pollinating insects. Sheltered sunny spots are preferred for insects and in these locations the intense noise from there beating wings is a magical humming experience.  

Within our potato farming, tramlines and irrigation headlands are not planted for operational reasons. Instead of allowing the land to stay bare, these areas are sown with intense annual flowers making a highway and perfect foraging ground for bees. Simultaneously allowing free movement of beneficiaries within the growing crop helping to control pests and diseases, while benefitting soil health for the following growing crops.  

Woodland Management 

To increase the flora diversity, we implement cyclical mowing of the rides every two years, and an annual mowing plan to encourage and increase prolonged flora diversity. Woodlands are managed under continuous cover forestry with some areas of coppice to increase flora species through the woodland. 

Across the estate cover crops are a key factor to the extensive crop rotation and investment in soil health, although primarily used for soil health, this method protects and increases the soil flora and fauna but provides much needed late pollen and nectar for pollinating insects.  

The grass and wildflowers margins that are against the edges of the fields provide foraging and shelter habitat for various species, allowing movement through the landscape along these species’ rich corridors. Blocks of pollen, nectar and wild bird cover features are evenly spread through the landscape to enhance the pollen and nectar provisions with the margins. Voluntary features link these corridors providing increased pollen and nectar that can be enhanced by altering drilling dates.  

Advocacy for wildlife  conservation

We work with local schools to aid a better understanding of the environment, where possible we build wildlife friendly areas within the school and link this with the importance of having pollinators and other species for food production.  

In addition, we regularly hold talks with the local parishes, groups, scouts and engage with the local community though external talks and events to explain about ongoing environmental delivery and how resources within the environment are cared for. 

There is a much wider public benefit and wellbeing piece of Dyson Farming’s environmental management, as many of the features border the extensive public and permissive footpaths across the Estate. A member of the public has previously said when referring to these areas ‘it makes me feel happy’, a very important benefit for all our mental and physical wellbeing. 

Head Office

The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Summer has come early at Dyson Farming 

Summer has come early at Dyson Farming 

Championing the innovation that enables Dyson Farming to grow quality strawberries when traditionally British strawberries are in very short supply contributes to the UK becoming more self-sufficient in food, reducing the air miles associated with imported fruit. 

Dyson Farming is harvesting its delicious British strawberries which are grown sustainably beyond the traditional UK summer season in its six-hectare glasshouse in Carrington, Lincolnshire. This is the fourth harvest of strawberries produced at the glasshouse since it opened in March 2021, the glasshouse team led by Angel Angelov are continually innovating to ensure a consistent and exceptional quality of fruit. Angel explains:

“Growing the perfect strawberry requires great attention to detail; from the way we treat our pollinators, through to selecting the right biological beneficials to suppress pests, this is all achieved by employing a great team of individuals. We then focus our final attention to the quality of picking and packing the fruit, to ensure total satisfaction for our end customers.”

The use of advanced technology means the team monitor each stage of development, from seedling to fruit, tending to micro needs and the crop as a whole. Innovation is at the heart of Dyson Farming and the team at the glasshouse are constantly exploring how technology can be harnessed to achieve the optimal growing environment. 

The giant glasshouse is 424m long holding 832 rows of strawberries, this latest crop consists of 700,000 strawberry plants which will produce approximately 750t of strawberries for British consumers. 

Harnessing the power of renewable energy

  • The glasshouse uses heat and power from the neighbouring Anaerobic Digestor plant which contributes to the overall circular farming model.

  • Digestate and a small amount of strawberry waste (strawberry plants and coir), are applied to nearby fields as an organic fertiliser to improve soils and crop yields. In the future, we are expecting to also use CO2 from our AD plant.

  • Rainwater is harvested from the glasshouse roof and stored in a lagoon, which is then used to irrigate the plants.

  • Crop growth is optimised by the mechanics of the hanging gutters which hold the plants. By enabling them to ‘swing’ from side to side, this allows 15% extra crop to be grown in the same area.

Every strawberry is carefully picked by hand by our experienced team of 70 glasshouse workers who will pick up to 14t a day. We ensure quality control, before weighing, packing, labelling and storing the fruit ready for transit in our on-site cold store.  

Dyson Farming strawberries are available to buy in M&S stores nationwide from April.  

Head Office

The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Creating a nourishing environment for British beef and lamb

Creating a nourishing environment for British beef and lamb

Calving has begun, and with warmer temperatures, crops are sprouting; there’s plenty of new life at Dyson Farming’s livestock farm, in North Somerset. 

Since starting the business from the ground-up in 2017, our fully traceable, multi award-winning beef and lamb continues to thrive at the Southwest estate. 

Traceability and provenance are an important area of the business. We use technology to generate a digital footprint of every animal born and bred at Hinton Farm, recording future eating quality and upholding high welfare and environmental credentials.  

There are 250 cows and 1300 sheep across the farm and the welfare of our animals is of course the highest priority. Whilst we are proud to be a part of various assurance schemes, we strive to exceed the standards. 

There has been notable investment to install excellent facilities; such as pasture tracks (walkways) to the grazing fields, and winter housing, as we want to provide the animals with the best living environment possible. In turn, we also believe this contributes to the overall quality of the produce. 

Peter Lord, South West Farm Manager talks about the ongoing optimisation to achieve a truly circular farming mix. 

“Livestock is a major part of our whole farm approach, growing crops within the arable rotation to feed and produce livestock helps to reduce the need for bought in feed, keeping food miles down and food production local for our customers.” 

Dyson Farming is proud of its commitment to sustainability and responsibility to maintain low food miles. Our livestock travel the minimum 10-12 miles to an abattoir and then straight to the farm shop or restaurant. Our longstanding relationships with local businesses and restaurants mean that customers can be assured of where their food has come from and trust in the great taste when they see a Dyson Farming label on the counter or listed in a menu. 

A list of places local to the origin farms, where you can buy or try Dyson Farming beef and lamb; 

Farleigh Road Farm Shop, https://www.farleighroadfarmshop.co.uk 

HE Williams & Sons Butchers, Frome https://www.hewilliams.co.uk 

The Bull, Hinton https://thebullathinton.co.uk 

The Rose & Crown, Hinton Charterhouse https://www.theroseandcrownbath.com/en-GB/homepage 

Our beef and lamb supplies the cafes and restaurants that serve 4000+ employees at the Malmesbury campus for Dyson Technology, under the guidance of Joe Croan, Dyson Head Chef.

We also independently entered the Great British Food Awards and the Taste of The West 2021 competition where our topside roasting joints, fillet steak, leg of lamb and lamb chops achieved GOLD awards, with our leg of lamb quoted as the best tasting lamb of the competition in the Great British Food Awards 2021.  

Panel judge of the Great British Food Awards on the quality of our meat:  

“The leg of lamb was simple to cook, and the flavour was phenomenal. After resting for 20 minutes the lamb was so tender it could be sliced using a butter knife and was enjoyed by us all. Simply put this was the best lamb we cooked. Taste 10/10” 

From soil health to hi-tech agronomy and cutting-edge cultivation techniques, we are committed to a long term, regenerative model that leaves a positive land legacy in 100 years’ time. 

Head Office

The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Passionate, pioneering people

Passionate, pioneering people

At Dyson Farming we’re proud of our people. Across the business, we employ over 180 men and women, whose knowledge, expertise and dedication fuels our commitment to being a force for good in farming. 

Fairness and inclusivity are at the heart of our conduct as we strive to be a progressive employer, offering employees the opportunity to thrive in their careers.     

There’s a wide variety of jobs at Dyson Farming and to recognise our great people, this International Women’s Day, we speak to four women about their roles in the business. 

Lucy Farrow, Spray Operator

Lucy is a Spray Operator, based in Carrington, working across the Lincolnshire Estate. The daughter of a farmer herself, at university she studied to become a teacher, but decided to work whilst considering further study options. She started as a farm worker four years ago and achieved her spray tickets last year.

“It’s one big family, we work hard and have a laugh. Everyone shares the same passion for farming.”

To begin each day, Lucy speaks to the Head of Harvesting to make a plan of what’s needed. Crop protection is an area of the business where innovation and technology have a vital role. Dyson Farming uses precision spraying technology, which means herbicides can be applied when weeds are identified. Mitigating the need to spray across entire fields.

The role requires real attention to detail, sometimes working alone or with a wider team depending on what’s needed. Lucy is also trained in pea harvesting and drilling. 

“The best part of my job is that I’m entrusted with a lot of responsibility and I know that makes a real difference in supporting the Farm Manager and wider team.” 

Joanna Knight, Estate Surveyor

Joanna knew early on that she wanted to work in Estate Management after graduating from Harper Adams with a degree in Rural Enterprise & Land Management. 

Following graduation, Joanna worked for five years as Rural Surveyor on the Holkham Estate in Norfolk. Having relocated to Lincolnshire, Joanna joined Dyson Farming in 2016.   

She manages all areas of the estate’s assets, predominantly commercial property as well as some support for the business’ residential offering. There’s a strong focus on natural capital and effective planning for the future, in order to stay ahead of the curve. 

Joanna works directly with the property team and Dyson Farming’s enviromment coordinator. Her remit crosses all parts of the business, with a focus on environmental management, grant applications, natural capital and carbon accounting. She also manages other aspects of the business including the insurance portfolio. Joanna also works with Green Crop Information, the research arm of Dyson Farming, aiding with presentations and Dyson Farming’s perspective on natural land.  

There’s huge diversity, citing the best part of her role being part of a business, getting to fully understand it and helping it to develop over time. 

“It’s a privilege to work for a business that wants to be a force for good for agriculture. It makes me feel that my contribution also makes a difference” 

Joanna is a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and a fellow of The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV). She’s also recently completed Dyson Farming’s Management Development Scheme. 

Lucie Redwood, Trainee Glasshouse Manager

Lucie grew up on a local arable farm and studied Agriculture at Newcastle University. She joined Dyson Farming in 2018 as a seasonal worker, but loved the company and stayed well beyond her original 6-month contract.

At the glasshouse, technology is at the forefront of everything. Lucie runs the weekly payroll which uses the Priva FS Labour System. She downloads reports from the glasshouse computer so there are no paper timesheets. Staff all have personal devices that scan to clock-in and out for the day as well as every task in between. They are also used to record their picking speed and yield in harvest.

“The biologicals in the glasshouse are also fascinating. Particularly the bees, but equally the pest control bios; spreading tiny insects around the glasshouse which can dramatically cut pesticide rates by over 80%.”

This month Lucie’s moving into a new role as Sales and Trials Coordinator in the glasshouse, where she will be responsible for communicating strawberry orders between customers and the glasshouse team, coordinating stock, picking forecasts, and daily management of the plant trials area.

“I love puzzle-solving, so I enjoy it most when staff or colleagues come to me with an issue which I can then work out – especially if that means building an app or learning new software. The supply of beautiful strawberries is a bonus!”

Lucinda Smith, Agronomist

Lucinda went to Riseholme Agricultural College, during which time she had work experience on a farm carrying out quality control of potatoes. 

Previous to beginning her career at Dyson Farming, Lucinda worked as a trainee agronomist and then distribution agronomist at ProCam (Agronomy and Crop Production advice and services.)  

As part of the agronomy team, Lucinda spends the majority of her time field walking, inspecting crops, she then generates a report with a recommendation of her findings to the farm teams for crop management. 

“The best part of my job is getting to be outside and meeting new people. Dyson Farming is an impressive business to work for.” 

If you’re interested in finding out more about careers at Dyson Farming, check out our current vacancies.

Head Office

The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Our spring crop is flourishing at the Glasshouse

Our spring crop is flourishing at the Glasshouse

This is the third crop of strawberries to be grown at our glasshouse in Carrington. We currently have two batches of crop in progress, with the area planted in December now entering the flowering stage.

Pollinating strawberry plants is what triggers strawberry development, as each flower on the plant turns into an individual strawberry. As the first flowers open, we introduce bees, which are crucial to the eventual shape and quality of the fruit.

Beehives are positioned evenly throughout the glasshouse so that each flower is pollinated equally, to produce a beautiful shape and delicious taste. Each hive box comes with its own Queen, so the bees naturally return to their own hive at the end of each feed. This also means that if the bees ever need to be moved or protected they can;  a special door allows them to return home, but not back out of their hive until the door is re-opened.

We use Bumble bees as they are excellent pollinators as well as being naturally docile and friendly, meaning our glasshouse team don’t need to worry about a sting.

The team are also currently busy ‘truss teasing’. This is where individual trusses which bear flowers (and eventually strawberries) are gently pulled from inside the crop to rest on the crop supports away from the leaves. As the strawberry fruit develops, it will naturally move downward, making picking 50% quicker rather than searching through the plant. It also allows the glasshouse team to have clear visibility of the plant and its progress towards perfect ripeness.

This latest flush will be ready to be picked by hand at the end of March.

A critical part of Dyson Farming’s sustainable circular farming approach, the glasshouse uses advanced technology to maintain optimal growing conditions to be able to grow British strawberries at a time of year when traditionally it is too dark and cold, avoiding unnecessary food miles. It is powered with renewable electricity and surplus heat from Dyson Farming’s adjacent anaerobic digester (AD), where cut strawberry plant leaves are stored and spread with solid digestate to fertilise the surrounding farmland. Rainwater is also harvested from the roof and used to water the plants.

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The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Dunston Beck project update

Dunston Beck project update

A collaborative Dyson Farming project to boost biodiversity

Dunston Beck Phase II

In February 2021, following several months of planning, Dyson Farming collaborated with the Environment Agency and Wild Trout Trust to deliver phase I of the Dunston Beck restoration project. The objective of this project was to restore the natural function of the Beck whilst increasing pool areas and oxygenating riffles (areas of shallow, free-flowing water created by coarse sediment) to improve aquatic life in the Beck. (You can read our original phase I article here).

A year on and works to extend the scheme under phase II are in progress further downstream. This will see the river length increasing from 350m to 420m by allowing the Beck to have a natural weaving path through the landscape, returning to its original features and providing some flood relief.

At the start of the project, Dyson Farming conducted baseline surveys by undertaking ecological surveys. The project will continue to monitor wildlife and water turbidi​ty in and around the Beck. The reduction in turbidity means there will be less sediment held within the water body, reducing the phosphorus load and resulting in a cleaner Beck.

(Left) Dunston Beck pre-work Jan 2021. Phase II sensitive excavation works to restore original features and increase the channel length.

For both sites together, the total increase in hydraulic habitat area under the same flow conditions will more than treble (to 24,500m2 from 7,150m2). The site is 3 hectares and once excavation is complete, it will mean that at times, 1.9 hectares will be seasonally wetted to provide high quality wetland habitat. Prior to both projects only 1% of the river habitat consisted of riffles and similarly only 1% pools (the rest being steady runs/glides); following the completion of the second phase that increases to 11% riffle and 21% pool habitat. This provides a huge boost to habitat quality for aquatic invertebrates and fish (particularly trout), which spawn on gravel riffles and shelter in deeper pools.

The ponds, scrapes and secondary channels in the floodplain provide even more habitat diversity which will benefit a wide range of plants and animals, including mammals, amphibians, reptiles and many bird species. The excavated land has been established with grass mix and drilled with native plants and sheep grazing has been introduced to stimulate wild grazing. Together this creates a rich and diverse flora for pollination, benefitting insects and other invertebrates that pollinate wildflowers and nearby crops.

Whilst still in its infancy, due to the long-term environmental benefits, the Dunston Beck project has proved hugely successful, and Dyson Farming will continue to monitor the progress of this site as the area develops.

“Not only does this restorative work enhance important niche habitats such as the aquatic life within the beck but at a land parcel level the floristic sward, grazed with sheep increases the number of insects that has wider benefits at a landscape level with species such as bats that have maternal roosts in the adjacent landscape features of Nocton Wood.”
Ian Willoughby, Environmental Coordinator, Dyson Farming

We will revisit the Beck in the coming months to report the ongoing development and progress of the site.

This is a collaborative project with the Wild Trout Trust and the Environment Agency. Thanks go to Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, Lincolnshire Rivers Trust and the University of Lincoln for continued advice throughout this project.

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The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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Dunston Beck Project

Dunston Beck Project

Find out all about the most recent developments at Dyson Farming

Dunston Beck Project

Dyson Farming have been collaborating with the Environment Agency and Wild Trout Trust, designing a scheme on Dyson Farming land to carry out some improvement works to the Dunston Beck. The project is taking place on a 3-hectare parcel of land bounded by Dunston Fen Lane to the north, Prior Lane to the west and the Dunston Beck to the south and east.
The aim is to improve the Beck and adjacent land for the benefit of wildlife, by mitigating the historic impacts of land drainage where the Beck has been straightened, widened and deepened.
Through sensitive excavation, bends will be put back into the channel creating a variety in depths and flow patterns to filter the sands and gravels on the riverbed, improving water quality. The land alongside the beck is being lowered to different heights, allowing it to become wetter at different times according to the Beck’s water level. This creates a mosaic of habitats ranging from marshy wetland to drier meadow areas.
Seeding and planting with locally sourced, native plants and carefully managed grazing, will ensure a rich and diverse flora. In turn, this benefits insects and other invertebrates which pollinate not only wildflowers but also nearby crops.
The groundworks are starting at the beginning of February 2021 and are expected to take 4 – 6 weeks to complete. This follows several months of design and planning work. Ecological surveys have been carried out to ensure the existing wildlife on the site is not harmed. Archaeological surveys have been carried out and the works will be overseen by a specialist in this field.
This is an exciting project, watch this space for further developments!
Head Office

The Estate Office,
Cyclone Way, Nocton,
Lincoln LN4 2GR

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hear from you