Progressive and Passionate

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Team Yatesbury

The Gantletts have been farming at Yatesbury since 1968.

Richard and Charlotte Gantlett farm today, supported by their children with the aim to produce the best quality produce in the most sustainable manner. 

We have an enthusiastic team of  local, dedicated and skilled farmers (our staff), engineers,  craftsmen and tradesmen who support and make the team.

Yatesbury House Farm is a 534 ha family farm, on the Wiltshire downs near Avebury. Experience and tradition is combined with a deep-rooted belief that farming should work together with nature, not against it. The bio dynamic methods we use are a key part of achieving sustainable, natural and quality food.

At Yatesbury House Farm, we are focused on providing the highest quality of produce with the highest levels of customer satisfaction – we will do everything we can to meet our customers expectations.

The Yatesbury BioDynamic System
We are certified by the Biodynamic Association with the Demeter mark.

The resilience of the farm and its ability to produce food is embedded in the life, energy and quality of the soil.
–the health of soil, plant, animal, human, wildlife and planet as one and indivisible


Dedicated Team        working sustainably and ethically, constantly striving to improve the whole farm through research.
Feed the Soil             diverse ley mixture, Dynamic cattle grazing , Biodynamic preparations, Bio-cultivations, more trees, more biodiversity, crop incorporation
Light Cultivations     no ploughing since 2003, <5t tractors, satellite guided, low cost, low impact, low input system
Competitive Crops   3D sowing, diverse and high quality crops, vibrant rooting, under sowing, low weed burden
                                                                           

VACANCY

We are looking for a trainee stockman. 

Someone who loves animals/cattle and with a passion for soil/wildlife/nature. 

Driving skills are essential and very good accommodation is offered.

Any level of previous education is considered. You might have a degree and wish to further your practical skills and farm systems experience or you might want a change of direction from your previous work?

We are a busy commercial farm but we do things differently.

Experience with cattle and use of a telehandler would be an advantage. Apply through the contact form.


Biodynamic Agricultural College

We recommend the work based learning course offered by the Biodynamic Agriculture College.

Health & Impact

Everything we do on the farm is about health

Climate Change

This is an incredibly important issue which we are fanatically passionate about. 

Methane emissions from cattle are receiving a great deal of attention recently. See our Carbon balance below. Our cattle are pasture fed, they make an essential contribution to the sequestration of carbon in our soil, the levels of which have approximately doubled since we converted to organic methods. 

One of the most important farm goals is to be a zero fossil fuel farm. 

We now generate enough electricity for all our electricity needs.

Every decision we make on the farm uses less or zero plastic, uses less or zero fossil fuel and stores more carbon in the soil. We measure our impact on people and our planet. Through Public Goods Tools and      B Corporation's Impact Assessment tool.

Carbon Audit
We have recently conducted a farm carbon audit using the Farm Carbon Cutting Toolkit's self assessment tool.
Soil organic matter is growing at an average rate of 0.27% per annum on our farm and this alone has a huge impact on the positive result of the audit. 
The Carbon Balance opposite shows we are fixing more than 10 times as much carbon on the farm as we are emitting. 
So the contribution of the cattle on our farm to Climate Change is a positive, very positive one.
(Green segment of the pie chart is carbon sequestration 91% and the brown is carbon emissions 9%)

What we grow

Diverse Leys (or Herbal Leys)
We sow leys that have over 33 varieties of plants from 24 species of clovers, grasses and herbs. They are full of nectar producing plants and insect ideal foraging for bees and farmland birds as well as cows. The diversity in the seed mix ensures plants ideally suited to every corner of every field, with less competition the different species and varieties occupy more of the soil profile too making a more active and dynamic sward  and root system. The diversity makes for a healthier diet for our cows to savour. We have resently been part of the LegumeLink project which has demonstrated the outstanding benefits from a polyculture, mixed species, pasture sward, the research was published in 2013 (LegumeLink, 2013).

Cereals, Quality Produce

The cultivated crops on the farm are wheat, barley, oats and field beans.

We work closely with our long term customers who produce flour, porridge oats and malt for whiskey from our crops.

Soil Quality or Terroir is a critical influence for produce quality.

This factor has been understood in viticulture for a long time and is beginning to be understood in farming.

Cattle
Our herd of pedigree Aberdeen Angus beef cattle is growing steadily from 6 heifers in 1996 to nearly three hundred animals today. Their welfare is paramount to us, in the way we keep them and in the way we treat them. They are given neither routine antibiotics nor growth promoting drugs and  we even attend courses to make sure we understand and meet their needs and treat them with respect. Our cattle feed on our herbal rich diverse pastures and are fed hay and silage during the winter. Ruminent animals are natural converters of pasture crops  (cellulose) into food and Aberdeen Angus cattle are beautifully suited to our low input system,  naturally without horns, easy calving, easy fattening, happy cows.

Agroforestry

-including Silvopastoral Farming, Hedge rows and Copses.

About 5 years ago we started grazing small areas of woodland attached to permanent pastures (after checking with Natural England). It has been such a success that we plan to allow access of the cattle to all our woodland. Don't panic, this is only for short periods of time when the animals are nearby. The trees and shrubs provide browsing, shelter from wind and rain and sun. The cattle allow an opening of the vegetation providing a new dynamic element to the growth of the plants. This process is also bringing the woodland directly into the farm organism.

Maybe we will end up electric fencing our crops to allow our cattle to roam everywhere else in future?

Wildlife and Honey 
The farm has areas of woodland rich in bluebells and orchids. Deer, hares, hedgehogs, buzzards, hawks,  kytes and a rich array of farmland birds including: corn bunting, common curlew, linnets, yellow hammers, tree sparrows, sky larks, barn owls, little owls, tawny owls, quail, short eared owl, lapwing, and partridges as well as more common birds. We have already run projects to maintain and improve the environment in terms of planting and caring for hedges and woodlands, improving meadows etc. The results are already visible on every corner of the farm. Colourful finches nest in the many hedgerows and butterflies and bees help with pollination. Some of the bees work hard to produce our delicious natural honey. Ladybirds help to keep pests at bay and owls and rare bats find shelter in our barns. We are also planting special bird seed crops to feed wild birds when feed is in short supply in the Spring. Having said that the farming and the wildlife are one and whole, indivisible. We always strive to do better.
Some lovely comments from locals and observers:

"… so many more bugs here than other farms I go to", "the hares are the size of foxes here", "your Farm is cherished", "a feel of velvet"


Where we sit

Geology
Our farm is located on silty clay loam sitting over a seem of grey (lower) chalk. Man's land, certainly not boys' land. In the past, if turned over when wet this soil would quickly turn to concrete. Dryer years have usually been better years as rainfall is still sufficient in dry years for a good cereal harvest.
Grey Chalk Subgroup - Chalk. Sedimentary Bedrock formed approximately 94 to 100 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period. Local environment previously dominated by warm chalk seas. These rocks were formed in warm shallow 'Chalk' shelf seas with little sediment input from land. They often consist of a calcareous ooze of the microscopic remains of plankton.

Climate


Rainfall

1040-580 mm, 800mm mean

40-23 inches, 31 inches mean


(view across our fields to the Marlborough Downs)

Who we work with

Research

Everything on our farm is work in progress. Trial and error has been a big part of developing our systems, now we like to call it research as it is  a little more structured and organised. We have scoured the planet for good ideas. In this picture two Brazilian scholarship students from the University of Reading are helping to gather baseline data for a research project entitled High Biomass Rotation and its impact on Soil quality, Crop quality and Weed burden.

As well as the University of Reading we work with many other organisations such as the Organic Research Centre and are humbled to be involved in many projects

We are certified by the Soil Association for farm assurance standards known as Red Tractor and we support the important work which they do. .

Shumei


A Japanese charitable organisation and UN NGO  have their UK base on our farm developing and demonstrating their method of sustainable farming called Natural Agriculture. Their market garden is beautful and their wide variety of market garden crops delicious. They are working to encourage others to take up their method which has been used successfully for fifty years in Japan.
shumei.eu/yatesbury/

Calcot Manor Hotel

We have been working with Calcot Manor Hotel since 2009 and help look after the land that joins the Hotel. The pastures are rich diverse flower meadows grazed by our cattle, the fields were previously in intensive arable production. We have planted 14ha of woodland with the English Woodland Grant Scheme and the help of the Woodland Trust. We have planted 2ha of orchard and repaired the stone walls with the help of Natural England. There is now a buzzing, thriving and diverse array of wildlife and biodiversity thanks to the enthusiasm of the team at Calcot who nurture them on a daily basis. 

Look at our Instagram site for recent photos.