Greens Farming Ltd

Based near Soham in the Fens around Ely, Greens Farming Limited operates across Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Lancashire, on 4500 hectares of land, ranging from rich black fenland to the free draining sands of the Norfolk Brecklands. We have been members of the Co-operative since December 2004.

Greens Farming combines large scale arable operations with the rotational gains of specialist vegetable cropping, and operates to high standards of wildlife conservation.

The company is a subsidiary of Spearhead International Limited, a privately owned company that farms across Europe.

Farms Director: Steve Mumford

Farm Managers: Greg Colebrook and Andrew Peal

Our specialist vegetable cropping is all on irrigated land, delivered mainly from reservoir storage of winter surface water, with support from borehole abstraction. Beetroot is predominantly grown on the rich, black fen soils in Cambridgeshire and Lancashire, while our onion, carrot and parsnip cropping is focussed on the irrigated light sands and loamy sands in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Our storage facilities include 13,500 tonnes of onion storage and 15,000 tonnes of beetroot storage, both as a mix of refrigerated and ambient capability.  We also have specialist storage facilities for our onion set production, with 1000 tonnes of hot box storage.

All the farms have strong environmental programmes and are Leaf Marque, Nature’s Choice, Nurture, Field to Fork and Assured Produce accredited.

We joined G’s Growers Limited based on a strong belief in the principles of co-operation among growers, and also a keen awareness of the benefits to operations and marketing that the Co-operative delivers. The pooling of our onion crops with those of the other growers allows us to provide a year round supply and a high quality service to our customers that, as an individual business, we do not have the scale to deliver. Furthermore, the principles of the Co-operative ensure that our share of the sales value is protected by clear terms of trade. We therefore have access to safer returns than would be available if we simply sold raw material onion crops to one of the packing companies supplying the UK retailers. Finally, as a group of growers, we learn from each other and try to match ourselves to the standards and achievements of the other grower members. Ongoing development is supported by collectively funded variety and agronomy trials, and collectively we are able to access European Union grant funding that supports progress in:

  • Crop yields
  • Quality
  • Season extension
  • Operating costs
  • Energy savings
  • Market development and product research.

In recent years, this funding has helped Greens Farming Limited to:

  • Improve field cleaning of beetroot, removing up to 20% by weight of soil, so that we reduced road traffic by 20% per cropped hectare
  • Expand our sowing capacity, so that even in the exceptionally wet spring of 2012 were able to sow our crops to the schedule, which is vital to ensure sequential availability of crops to match customers’ programmes throughout the supply year
  • Develop a new beetroot growing and harvest system that increased yield and maximised production of the baby size bulbs increasingly required by customers
  • Install a replacement baby beetroot grader that delivers the precise size grades required by customers down to 3 mm size bands
  • Improve onion harvest and store loading outputs so that we can more easily operate when conditions are absolutely right for harvest, protecting the quality and storage potential of the crop
  • Reduce herbicide use through investment in hoeing equipment and band sprayers
  • Develop our compost operation, which now processes 10,000 tonnes of co-operative waste. This is producing very high quality compost that is now used for soil conditioning, recycling precious phosphate and potash to our soils

For further information, please visit our website:
www.spearheadinternational.com

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