Water ‘vital’ for vegetable growing operation on Suffolk coast, farmers hear

PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:00 04 July 2018

Farmers from Suffolk and Norfolk  set out on their tour of Wantisden Hall Farms Picture: ANDY NEWMAN

Farmers from Suffolk and Norfolk set out on their tour of Wantisden Hall Farms Picture: ANDY NEWMAN

Andy Newman

Water is vital for an award-winning vegetable growing operation on the Suffolk coast, farmers heard on an annual farm walk held in the middle of a very dry spell for growers.

Around 60 farmers heard from Farmers Weekly Farm Manager of the Year Tim Pratt on a visit to Wantisden Hall Farms near Woodbridge at an event organised by Lovewell Blake and Suffolk Coastal National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

They heard about the importance of water for the 4,500 acre arable farm, which uses around a million cubic metres of water every year in its 18 irrigators.

“Water is vital for a farm like this,” said Tim, who has been managing the farm since 2006. “Jack Kemble dug lakes on the land back in 1974. This showed good foresight; without water we would have a poor crop of barley and a lot of rabbits.”

The farm specialises in vegetables, including 600 acres of potatoes, 250 acres of onions and 100 acres of carrots. It also grows 800 acres of barley and 400 acres of rape.

Visitors were taken on an extensive tractor-drawn tour of the farm, and the evening ending with a barbecue of meats supplied by local farmer John Flatt.

The annual walk aims to bring members of the agricultural community together to learn from each other. Previous walk venues have included Fen Farm Dairy and the Benacre Estate.

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