‘First class’ farm at Dunmow sets standard after becoming LEAF demonstration site

From left, Andy Gemmill, farm worker, Andrew Davies, farm owner, Will Gemmill, national head of farm

From left, Andy Gemmill, farm worker, Andrew Davies, farm owner, Will Gemmill, national head of farming and eastern regional chairman at Strutt and Parker, Stephen Fell, LEAF chairman, Jeremy Durrant farm manager, Alan Law head tractor driver and Alice Midmer LEAF IFM manager. - Credit: LEAF

An “excellent example” of an operation which is combining commercial farming with nature conservation is celebrating after becoming a new LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) demonstration farm.

From left, Andy Gemmill, farm worker, Andrew Davies, farm owner, Will Gemmill, national head of farm

From left, Andy Gemmill, farm worker, Andrew Davies, farm owner, Will Gemmill, national head of farming and eastern regional chairman at Strutt and Parker, Stephen Fell, LEAF chairman, Jeremy Durrant farm manager, Alan Law head tractor driver and Alice Midmer LEAF IFM manager. - Credit: LEAF

The launch of the celebrated status at E W Davies Farms Ltd, a 1,300 hectare family-owned arable business based at The Hydes, Thaxted, Dunmow, was marked by a farm tour on Friday, July 7, including leaders of LEAF, a farm conservation body. It was conducted by farm manager Jeremy Durrant, who expressed delight at the accolade.

“We believe 100% in what LEAF are about. We are very much for farming for the future and we are proud of what we do and are just happy to share with others,” he said.

The farm operates a much reduced tillage system, and has adopted precision farming and modern techniques using an Integrated Farm Management (IFM) system. It gained LEAF Marque certification in 2012 and grows a range of combinable crops, sugar beet, grass leys and environmental mixes. In recent years it has introduced livestock to the farm and currently runs a 200 strong flock of Polled Dorset sheep, and all the farm’s lamb is LEAF Marque certified and sold via a box scheme to local markets.

LEAF IFM manager Alice Midmer said: “E W Davies Farms Ltd was selected as a LEAF Demonstration Farm for its adherence and commitment to the principles of Integrated Farm Management. The farm is an excellent example of how to combine commercial farming with sensitive landscape and nature conservation and showcasing the benefits of IFM to farmers, consumers and industry audiences.”

From left, Andy Gemmill, farm worker, Andrew Davies, farm owner, Will Gemmill, national head of farm

From left, Andy Gemmill, farm worker, Andrew Davies, farm owner, Will Gemmill, national head of farming and eastern regional chairman at Strutt and Parker, Stephen Fell, LEAF chairman, Jeremy Durrant farm manager, Alan Law head tractor driver and Alice Midmer LEAF IFM manager. - Credit: LEAF

LEAF chairman Stephen Fell, who also attended the launch added: “Our industry has much to be proud of. For over 25 years, LEAF’s nationwide network of Demonstration Farms has been leading the way in promoting best practice in sustainable farming to other farmers as well as bridging the gap between farmers and the public.

“E W Davies Farms Ltd deserve their place amongst them. They are first class examples of how the principles of IFM can be implemented and play an important role in not only inspiring others in the food and farming industry, but helping to raise awareness amongst the public about sustainable food production.”

From left, Andy Gemmill, farm worker, Andrew Davies, farm owner, Will Gemmill, national head of farm

From left, Andy Gemmill, farm worker, Andrew Davies, farm owner, Will Gemmill, national head of farming and eastern regional chairman at Strutt and Parker, Stephen Fell, LEAF chairman, Jeremy Durrant farm manager, Alan Law head tractor driver and Alice Midmer LEAF IFM manager. - Credit: LEAF