http://www.soilassociation.org/visitanorganicfarm/visitanorganicfarm/articleid/1335/eastrop-farm-wiltshire
Eastrop Farm, Wiltshire

Visit an organic farm

Eastrop Farm, Wiltshire

Eastrop has been farmed by the Dibble family since our ancestors first arrived in 1917. The family moved up from Somerset looking for better land and, on it's discovery, Eastrop was deemed perfect. Some of the original animals came up by train - however, all 40 of the horses walked pulling farm equipment! The farm has always been farmed extensively and so conversion to organic farming was a natural step. Conversion began in 1996 with some arable fields and the cows have been organic since 2001.

Dairy cows

We currently have 170 milking British Friesians who have all been home bred. The cows are milked twice a day by Dan and, although not high yielding, they each giving approximately 5,500 litres per year. In the summer they spend their days and nights at grass and in the winter they are housed on straw and fed on our silage. They do not have names but we do have a “Bluebell” family which are grey / blue and white; this is a throwback to breeding up from Shorthorns to Friesian. Each of our cows has a calf every year. Half the herd are pure bred with a Friesian bull to breed our dairy cows of the future.

Beef cattle and meat sales

The other half of our dairy herd are crossed with Hereford , Aberdeen Angus, South Devon or Sussex bulls which are all native beef breeds. We keep our own pedigree Hereford bull called ´Bromham 1 Sorcerer´ - ´Saucy´ for short. He was born the year Harry Potter was all the rage! The calves are raised on the farm until they are 2 years old, at which time some are sold on to the Organic Livestock Marketing Co-operative but we are selling more and more direct to customers.

Arable crops

We grow wheat, barley and field beans in rotation with our grass and clover. Beans are legumes, like clover, so they help to enrich the soil with nitrogen. These may be sown in the autumn or in the spring. We harvest our crops in the summer and autumn. All of these may be sold off the farm or milled and fed back to our cattle.

Wildlife

Our farming practices are sustainable meaning that no artificial fertilisers and pesticides are used. This is beneficial to wildlife and wild flowers. Two of our ponds have been cleaned out and fenced and the willow trees surrounding have been pollarded. Two otter holts have been built close to the river Cole to encourage the otters which have been seen on the river to breed. We have planted 1.5km of new hedge rows and still retain all the original hedges planted in the 1860s. A recent survey revealed that we have over 70 different species of birds on the farm, including sky larks, lapwings, field fares, English partridge and reed buntings. Water voles live in our river banks and a large population of hares put on a great show during the breeding season.

Arranging a visit

Take a chance to experience for yourselves how we farm and to see our healthy animals in their comfortable surroundings. Groups and schools are welcome by appointment - please contact the farm for details.   

How to get there   

Eastrop is just outside Highworth on the way to Faringdon, on the left hand side.  

Contact details