Marsh lettings on the Norfolk Broads hit a record £200 an acre

The TW Gaze annual poultry auction.
Auctioneer Edward Baskerville. The TW Gaze annual poultry auction. Auctioneer Edward Baskerville.

Friday, March 28, 2014
4:16 PM

A record price of £200 an acre was paid for summer grazing along the Acle Straight at the annual Broadland marsh lettings.

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Auctioneer Nicholas Rudge, was “astounded” by the competition at the Bell Inn, St Olaves, from two bidders, who were determined to secure the lots.

It was the highest price that he could remember since joining the Beccles firm in 1992. “There were two people fighting it out. I think the rest of the company just sat back and watched in amazement. We couldn’t quite believe our ears,” said Mr Rudge. Last year, the best Acle lot made £124 acre.

The average for grazing was up by about £30 acre on last year, which was a feature of the sale by Ed Baskerville, of TW Gaze..

There were so many present at the annual sale that for the first time, a car park attendant was employed. It also attracted the largest attendance for many years with several new bidders.

The Acle Straight marshes made a top price of £200 acre, twice, and sold from £152 acre to average £174.50 acre. Another block at Potter Heigham made a “staggering” £145 acre or twice as much as usual, said Mr Rudge.

Other marshes at Fleggburgh, Runham and Potter Heigham averaged £112 acre. The Haddiscoe and Thurlton marshes made from £90 to £132 acre, averaging £108.20 acre. Outlying marshes in the Lowestoft area were easier and sold to £78 acre.

The overall average for 29 lots of marsh was £106.34 acre against last year’s overall £71 acre.

Mr Baskerville, who was selling for the Diss-based firm for the fifth year, had a strong sale with some “incredible results.” With new bidders from Kent and Essex joining the keen bidders, the overall average the 840 acres on Haddiscoe Island was £108.17 acre – up from £80.66 acre last year.

His colleague, Rachael Hipperson, who lets about 4,000 acres of season grazing, reported that demand for private lets in all areas ahead of the annual auction had been very strong.

The top price reached £164 acre for a marsh for John Cole Farms but the highest individual owner average was Downham Farms at £120.25 acre. A lot of 14 acres at Wheatacre made £106 acre.

Mr Baskerville, who had followed Jeffery Bowles after his 17-year stint as auctioneer, said that the graziers need to have good quality grazing for their livestock. “People enjoy it and there’s a real sense of history and occasion to the annual sale,” he added.

n Livestock exhibitors at this summer’s Royal Norfolk Show have been reminded that cattle and sheep entries must made as soon as possible. Contact, Mary Wright, livestock co-ordinator on 01603 731965 or mary@royalnorfolkshow.co.uk for schedules.

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