Why we believe in Christmas trees!
In common with virtually everyone else, farmers are unsure what economic circumstances will obtain after the UK leaves the European Union. But we are of the view that farm subsidies are likely to be both reduced and redirected. It is therefore probable that those sectors of UK agriculture which are least heavily subsidised will be best placed to prosper under whatever new regime eventually emerges. The Estate wishes to continue the important part it plays in the local economy by remaining a viable business and creating employment opportunities and supporting local businesses. We believe that Christmas trees will help us to achieve this.
The nature of the farming enterprise is dictated by the inherent characteristics of the land. Virtually all the farmable land on the Estate is Grade 3 and, over the centuries, it has been clear that the land is very much better suited to dairy farming than to arable farming. That is why the land west of the river Ouse is largely given over to dairy farming. We have 250 acres east of the River Ouse in Isfield at Buckham Hill. This land is relatively poor and hammered by deer. The arable yields from these fields are seldom sufficient to produce an acceptable profit – or even a profit at all.
The 250 plus acres that the Estate own at Buckham Hill is particularly poor ground and cannot be turned over to dairy farming as there is insufficient land to supply dairy cows with grazing and we have no dairy facilities to the east of the River Ouse. Grass struggles to grow because of the large numbers of deer that live in Lodge and Rocky Woods (which between them total over 100 acres). Christmas trees can be grown on the land by erecting deer fencing to keep the deer out of the Christmas tree plantations.
It was with this in mind that on 12th October 22nd 2017 we planted our first Nordmann Fir Christmas trees.