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FAR LEFT Rayne Rocket was born in 1911 and is pictured here three
years later at Hampreston.
LEFT Hampreston Herda
57, born in 1945.
BOTTOM The heifers that
arrived to found the Ham-
preston herd. They were
driven from their previous
home over two days by a
man and two dogs.
Board and he was a the use of manure and
member of the National Farmers’ maintain high levels of soil
Union Council. At the time, his son Richard was fertility. Pastures are injected
carrying out post graduate studies at Cambridge under Sir with slurry and the maize is
John Hammond, but James convinced him to return home to take the entirely grown without any
managing role. Richard, who was later knighted for his own role as MMB artifi cial fertiliser.
Chairman, never lost his intellectual curiosity and was a driving force The farm operates with three
behind many of the MMB’s technical advances. Having succeeded his staff, and Guy says he’s been
father as a board member in 1947, he became Vice Chairman in 1952 and fortunate to have had the
Chairman from 1958 until 1978. services of herdsman Chris Hill
By the 1970s, the herd had been split into two units, milking 80 and 65 for 42 years. Also involved are
head. Averages were around 6500 kg at 4% fat and 3.25% protein and Colin Wilson and David White
the herds were looked after by father and son team Fred and Chris Hill. who are responsible for arable
This was the situation when Guy returned home in 1979 having spent work, feeding, bedding and
six years working internationally in farming and the oil business. He set relief milking. “Whilst the cows
about reinvigorating the business, which had always remained very close are an essential part of the
to his father’s heart but had stagnated somewhat as a consequence of Sir texture of our countryside, the
Richard’s commitments off-farm. people are just as important.
Guy’s fi rst task was to combine the two herds into one, with an increase Having such excellent staff
in production as well. Expansion is diffi cult because the farm is on the means that I can leave the farm
urban fringe so Guy became one of the fi rst in the UK to grow maize. in safe hands”, says Guy, who has
The cattle graze in summer on a considerable acreage of permanent maintained the family tradition
pasture in fl oodable river meadows. The farm, however, does also have of external interests taking
some good, deep soil for arable crops and now grows around 90 acres roles with the Maize Growers
of maize, a crop that Guy says has revolutionised the farm. Hampered Association, Genus, RASE, the
by a lack of summer rainfall, and ironically partially liable to fl ooding in NFU and, latterly, the National
winter, the farm’s grazing period is limited. Maize has meant that the Trust.
herd can be buffer-fed throughout the summer and comprises 70% of Also part of the team are local
the winter ration as well. vet, and Holstein breeder, Dave
The farming operation at Hampreston today totals 550 acres, with Coombes, nutritionist James
250 acres of combinable crops rotated with maize. The proximity to Shenton and AI technician
Bournemouth allowed the farm to grow up to 100 acres of vegetables Richard Miles of Genus. Guy says
close to a ready market, and potatoes have also been a feature, but that the herd’s performance has
the system is now focussed on the cows and less labour intensive crops. improved due to access to good
Great care is taken using any chemicals as the two miles of river frontage advice and he doesn’t want to
provides welcome extra income from fi shing. Farm policy is to optimise see it go backwards. The main
issue is balancing feeding with
18 THE JOURNAL JUNE 2009
e3-09 Hampreston.indd 4 27/05/2009 08:09:42
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