G S Shropshire & Sons Ltd
G.S. Shropshire & Sons Ltd is a family-owned business farming 1,400 ha of land, primarily on the Fenland of West Norfolk, near Downham Market. We are specialists in field-grown salad and vegetable production.
With a keen interest in the environment and crop quality, the combination of modern farming practices, wildlife conservation and ICMS principles have given us a unique type of farming.
Specialising in lettuce, celery and Chinese leaf salad crops grown on the peat soils, our cropping rotation is complemented by a large range of other crops in the rotation, including bulb onions and potatoes. To widen our rotation we rent land out for growing red beet, radish, carrots and leeks.
The crops on the majority of the farm are in a ring fence, with uniform, deep peat soil type.
We operate a unique farming system on this 1000 ha where all of the land is laser-levelled. This enables us to operate a sub-irrigation system by accurately controlling the level of the water table. Fungicide application is reduced due to the fact that the crop canopy stays dry, whereas overhead irrigation would create the ideal environment for disease development. In addition, our water requirement is 50% less than if we were using overhead irrigation, which on a hot sunny day could lose up to 60-70% through evaporation; our method reduces it to almost zero. With water being short in East Anglia, this has economical and environmental advantages. Our two large winter storage reservoirs guarantee our water supply as well as providing a valuable habitat for wildlife.
The construction of our newest reservoir, Rosedene No 2, has been supported through a Rural Economy Grant from the Rural Development Programme for England.
It was completed last October and is in the process of being filled using water from the Internal Drainage Board Main drain, which would usually be pumped out to sea. When full it will hold 70 million gallons (318,182 m3).
Waitrose are sponsoring a project which is being undertaken by Cambridge University to identify suitable habitats around the edge of the reservoir to prevent erosion,
and have received an award from Waitrose commending our water sustainability on the farm.
- Tesco Nurture (to Gold standard)
- Field to Fork (Marks & Spencer)
- Assured Produce
- Assured Combinable Crops & Sugar Beet
- ELS on whole farm
We joined the Entry Level Scheme in 2006 and have renewed it in 2011 to encompass the whole farm. FWAG have estimated that 7% of the farm is uncropped wildlife habitat, including thirty miles of hedgerows and ditches.
The British Trust for Ornithology has been surveying nightingales on the farm for the past two years and has divulged that the farm has one of the densest breeding populations of nightingales in the country due to the dense numerous hedgerows and nearby watercourses.