Norfolk’s farm business champion lays down the challenge
- Credit: Submitted
Norfolk's farm business champion challenged fellow farmers and growers to enter next year's competition after collecting his trophy at a special celebratory event.
James Chapman, of Chapman Farms, was presented with the Norfolk County Farm Business Competition's championship trophy by Simon Evans, president of the Aylsham Agricultural Show Association (AASA).
Mr Chapman had welcomed about 120 guests for a tour of his family's diverse enterprises at Clarke's Farm in Martham, near Great Yarmouth, incorporating arable and grazing land, conservation and woodland, livery yards, shooting, a country sports shop and commercial and residential lettings.
He said having his whole business put under the intense scrutiny of two top judges from Scotland had been a challenging, stimulating and thoroughly worthwhile exercise. 'I would urge you to enter the annual competition in 2017 – it really does help your business,' he said.
Mr Chapman will defend his title next year – having won for the third time in the 37-year history of the annual competition.
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His right-hand man, Jim Bailey, was presented with the Leonard Papworth Trophy for best farm manager.
During the two-hour tour of the 1,500-acre home farming operation, which includes 280 acres of woodland, Mr Chapman talked about the cropping including the 67ha of beet. His five-year average was 85t/ha.
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His winter barley, Maris Otter, is all grown on contract for Adams and Howling. It averaged 7.5t/ha (three tonnes an acre) last year.
Other crops included 26ha of vining peas, grown for Anglian Pea Growers and Ardo, and 32ha of potatoes for Nelson County Potatoes.
Last year, Mr Chapman took on another 800ha of arable land for the Burnley Hall estate, which almost borders the home farm. Now he is also responsible for managing the estate's 3,500 acres, ranging from Grade One arable land to sand dunes and sea defence works.
As a fourth generation farmer, Mr Chapman said that the family enterprise had grown to include liveries, property and the Broadland Country Sports shop. Conservation, environment and good shoot management were also integral to the rounded diversified business, he said.
Mr Chapman said the farm was also working closely with another neighbour, Richard Hirst, who had built up his pedigree Red Poll enterprise over the past eight years. The neighbouring farms will compete against each other for the championship trophy next year, with Hirst Farms qualifying by winning this year's Class Two title.
Robert Mitchell, chairman of the AASA's farm business competition, thanked sponsors including Brown and Co, Anglia Farmers, Bunn and Frontier.
NORFOLK COUNTY FARM BUSINESS COMPETITION 2016:
Champion: James Chapman, Chapman Farms, Rollesby.
Livestock: South Pickenham Estate Company, South Pickenham, Swaffham.
Class One (larger farms): David Jones, Morley Farms, Morley.
Class Two (smaller farms): Richard Hirst, Hirst Farms, Ormesby, Great Yarmouth.
Diversification: Roger Combe, Bayfield Farms, Holt.