OLMC celebrates the historic occasion of the Queens Platinum Jubilee with a look at organic farming on the Sandringham Estate and Her Majesty’s commitment to sustainability

Sandringham’s organic home farm produces a varied range of crops which encompass a combination of traditional wheat, barley, beans and oat varieties plus a selection of heritage grains. A substantial conservation project is also underway helping to promote and encourage farm scale biodiversity, growing wildlife habitats and enhancing flora and fauna.

The ethos of organic farming has been invested in with with an outdoor-lambing flock enterprise with the aim of improving soil structure and fertility through a rotation system –  over 6 years which includes 2 years of a grass, clover, plantain and chicory, fixing nitrogen in the soil for the following crops and providing a sourse of protein and minerals for finishing lambs.

2700 Aberfield ewes are mated with Abermax rams. Careful monitoring of growth rates and successful lambing to select the best replacement ewe lambs ensures the development and expansion of the flock. From July to March each year the 100% grass fed lambs are supplied to the Sandringham Restaurant and Café, local butchers and a premium retailer.

Shorthorn cross breed cattle have also been added to the organic enterprise and these are grass fed outside but come in for calving and fattening.

A proportion of the Estates arable land has been converted to AgroForestry in its belief that the farming of crops and livestock amongst tree varities such as cider apple, perry pear, plum, quince, mulberry and walnut, go hand-in-hand. The trees are planted in rows with 4 metre wide wild flower strips running the length of the field. The idea is that there is enough space between the rows for arable farming and when the trees have grown sufficiently livestock can be grazed on the whole field benefiting from the shade of the trees in the summer months. Further benefits of this system are; improved habitats for birds and insects; the reduction of soil erosion and run-off resulting in improved soil nutrients and soil properties which benefit through the tree root structure.