From green fields to a successful farm business;
food for thought
Here at Frogmary Green Farm, farming is our principal activity. Our overall aim is to produce food efficiently whilst still being mindful of our environment. We have established strips of wild flowers, clovers and rough tussocky grass alongside hedgerows, water courses and woods to provide habitats suitable for a variety of wildlife.
Put simply, by doing this type of farming we aim to increase wildlife habitats while maintaining profitable agriculture.
How Frogmary Green Farm has grown
Before 1990, Frogmary Green Farm was just green fields which we were determined to turn into a successful agricultural business. But first we needed some storage buildings and somewhere to live!
By 1996 we had three adjoining buildings (grading shed and two coldstores – all for potatoes) and a mobile home. 2004 was a busy year – we built our farmhouse, a larger potato grading shed, additional coldstore, machinery shed, workshop and weighbridge – and started work on our wildlife pond.
A further coldstore and an office block were completed in 2006. The office meeting room is used to welcome our school visitors keen to learn more about where their food comes from.
We gradually built up the farm business, with the aid of our loyal staff Colin Doble and John Field producing potatoes on contracts to packing companies who supply two of the main supermarket chains as well as maize and grass leys as fodder for local dairy farmers.
In 2008, we planted what we proudly call our arboretum! This consists of approximately 230 trees around our pond (which was finished by then!) In all we’ve planted around 1,600 trees in addition to four kilometres of new hedgerows.
In 2009 we hatched our plans to launch into chicken production. We invested in building two state-of-the-art chicken houses, creating the very best environment for the chickens. We produce our chickens to Freedom Food standards, set and monitored by the RSPCA. Two of the big supermarket chains sell our chickens.
In 2010, we installed our fantastic wood chip boiler which heats the chicken houses and workshop, and at the beginning of 2012 we built our third chicken house, adjoining the earlier two.
We produce our chickens to the Freedom Food standard which is backed by the RSPCA, one of the most respected animal charities in the world.
This means that we stock our chickens less densely and do much more to enhance their standard of living, including giving them:
- plenty of natural light
- perches and bales to stand on and
- CDs and maize cobs suspended from the ceiling to peck at – keeping the chickens interested and active
We want our visitors to see how our chicken live, so we have built our new chicken house with a viewing gallery. This also enables us to protect the biosecurity of our chicken and visitors.
Potatoes and other crops
We have contracts with packing companies who take the majority of our potatoes to supply two of the main supermarket chains. As a result, we have to grow all our crops in accordance with specific standards (CMi & Tesco Nurture). These cover good agricultural practices, ensure we operate in an environmentally sensitive way and that we protect the health, safety and well being of our staff. Our standards are audited and accredited every year.
Awards and accreditation
- 2012 Winner of Sainsbury’s Chicken Development Group – Best Carbon Footprint
- 2011 Farmer’s Weekly Poultry Farmer of the Year Finalist
- Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) and Higher Level Stewardship schemes (HLS)
- County Wildlife Site
- Archaeological Feature
- Profiled within Freedom Food Celebrity recipe collection
Frogmary Green Farm by numbers!
- 600,000 Freedom Food chicken raised per year
- 6,700 tonnes of potatoes graded in 2011
- 3,000 tonnes of coldstorage for potatoes and 1,000 tonnes of ambient storage
- 4,000 tonnes of chicken litter spread
- 4,000 metres of new hedgerows
- 1,200 acres of discing, pressing and drilling
- 300kw woodchip boiler heating chicken houses and workshop
- 266 acres of potato contracting – planting, harvesting, grading and storage
- 250 acres of potatoes grown in Somerset and Dorset
- 180 acres of maize grown for dairy farmers
- 35 acres of three-year grass leys
- 18 acres buildings, tracks, woods and ponds
- 13 acres of permanent and rough grassland
- 4 acres of apple orchard
Successful farming in the 21st century combines respect for the land and the environment with the use of technology to keep costs down and reduce waste of all kinds.
We’ve invested in some interesting technology – and we’d be happy to share our experiences if you are looking to invest in similar kit. Just contact us.
- Our Fendt Auto-guide system in our tractors allows us to use GPS to greatly reduce labour and fuel costs as well as giving greater accuracy in all aspects of ground work
- A 300Kw woodchip boiler (right) was installed in 2010 and is our newest green initiative at Frogmary Green Farm. We chose to install a biomass boiler for our heating system, utilising timber from local woodlands to heat water, providing us with a renewable energy source. This cuts our heating bills, significantly reduces our carbon footprint and avoids the need for any fossil fuel, ensuring that our buildings are as efficient as possible
- We use a Strautmann VS18 dung spreader for higher spreading precision to apply chicken litter to crops. This turns a potential waste product into a valuable source of natural fertiliser, high in nitrogen. We also provide this as a contracting service
A bit of history of Frogmary Green
According to a Somerset County Archive, a prehistoric trackway (SMR 53445) linking the Iron Age fort on Ham Hill with Neroche and the Blackdowns ran to the south of Stoodham, approximately parallel with the Fosse Way. It was the main route to Taunton in the 18th century and from the river crossing (Bridge) it ran west via Watergore, Moondown Lane and Frogmary Green to Fouts Cross.
Archaeology: Roman settlement, Frogmary Lane.
Field-walking during the construction of the Ilminster bypass revealed an extensive dark brown deposit which contained a variety of RB shards (a historic fragment of pottery, stone or glass vessels), ranging in date from the 2nd to 4th Century. The soil contained a lot of domestic refuse, suggesting that a Roman settlement lay in the immediate area.