Pit Hall Farm - Kingsclear Estate

Tim May. Hampshire

The farmer

Tim May. 

We practice regenerative agriculture on the farm, and within this, the management technique we use can be termed holistic management.

We began adopting more of a holistic approach in 2012 when we realised that all arable farming, since the closure of our dairy 10 years earlier, was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain. We were struggling to improve yields year-on-year, in spite of growing expenditure on increasingly sophisticated inputs and technology. It was clear that the soil was becoming lifeless and lacking in organic matter and we needed to have a new approach, to get the soil back to maximising its potential and for the land to remain profitable.

As a result, I introduced true mixed farming back into the land holding, through adding four years of herb-rich leys into the rotation, and rotationally grazing these leys with a mix of animals including cattle and sheep (chickens and pigs will also be integrated in the future). Breeding ewes and beef cattle were brought in to help with soil improvement and to maintain an economic output from the leys (view what Tim has to say about how dung can benefit the soil and climate change in this short BBC video clip). The animals are grazed in a way that ensures that the whole farm gets the benefits from the grass and livestock, by keeping everything mobile. Costs are kept to a minimum by copying nature. Lambing is in May, at the same time as when our native deer population start calving.

 

The animals

Exlana sheep 

The land

2500 acres, recently converted to Organic, PFLA applied. Mixed tenure on chalky loam at 700'. Holistic Management and soil monitoring used.

Tim May using regenerative agriculture and uses a 'share farming agreement' to run his farm.

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