Rethinking farming from the ground up
In the early 1990s, the du Val de Beaulieu family ran the Apsley Estate as a traditional arable farm, growing crops of wheat, barley and oil seed rape in managed crop rotation.
Nothing in farming stands still, and the shifting economic environment meant making changes. In particular, steadily declining margins forced us to innovate and rethink.
The changing farming climate has resulted in us making five major changes to our business:
Farming for energy
The biggest single change we’ve made is to grow crops for energy, rather than food. Since 2012, we’ve been supplying the grid with green electricity.
Investing in green
By investing heavily in our biogas plant we not only supply the national grid with green energy, but also power most of our own farming operations. In the long run, this has radically reduced our running costs. Our investing hasn’t stopped and we continue to look for efficiency gains.
Creating new revenue streams
During the process of bio gas production, other by-products are also made. One of these is called digestate, which can be used as a nutritious soil improver and fertiliser, in both solid and liquid form. The sale of these products to farmers helps add organic matter back on the ground and deter slugs. Keeping the soil in good health is measured and using products like our digestate can help long term, especially when removing all of the whole crop.
Growing in-house expertise
Farming can be hard as a one man band, being in a remote location with a breakdown working out how you can fix it as cheaply as possible. Our team has expanded over the years on the back of our factory to provide expertise in a number of areas. This means we can provide support to other departments within our business. Electrical, Civil, Design, Haulage, Accounting, Laboratory, Software and Mechanical Maintenance.
Working with partner farms
We provide many services to other farming businesses and land owners.
From purchasing standing crops on contract to managing or renting land on behalf of others, we can tailor our services to your aspirations. No matter if it’s food or fuel; we have the ability to maintain a profitable return.
The family faced the challenge of changing the farming business operation to ensure sustainability for the future.
As with many challenging situations, a clean and fresh approach was needed. This meant that we had to start with a blank canvas for our future business. Nothing was ruled out in our thinking, including a full remodel of the business.
Facing the future – together?
We are always open to discussions on future directions. We offer contract farming, in part or whole. This could be an attractive option for land owners looking to retire or significantly reduce their working hours. Contact us if you would like to chat about the possibilities.