Matfen Home Farms, Matfen, Northumberland
Matfen Home Farms is a family business partnership operated by Sir Hugh Blackett, Lady Blackett and their son Henry Blackett.
Based from the Matfen Estate Office, Matfen Home Farms Partnership brings together trading activities across the Matfen Estate including:
o Residential property lettings;
The Partnership runs a mixed farming business managed centrally by an Estate Manager. The operation includes around 1000acres of cultivated arable crops including wheat, barley and oilseed rape while Permanent Pasture provides grazing for a flock of 1200 ewes under the watchful eye of a Farm Manager and Farm Worker. Surplus pasture is sold under seasonal herbage agreements. As far as is possible fencing and general maintenance work is undertaken in-house. The Partnership will enter a Mid-Tier Stewardship scheme from 1st January 2019 ensuring the Estate is maintained in an environmentally sensitive manner providing habitats for a range of flora and fauna in harmony with the agricultural operations. Around 500acres of woodlands are managed by the Partnership and supply Roundwood timber, which gets processed into chip for the woodchip boilers across the Estate. The Partnership also owns and manages a number of cottages and houses on the Estate.
Carry out effective care to the flock by looking as necessary and dealing with problems as they arise. Preventing onset of disease and other issues by following flock health plan
While there is not presently a cattle herd in the Partnership it may become part of the future strategy and as such there is potential that this will be incorporated in due course
The majority of grazing on the Estate is on Very Low Input Permanent Pasture and as such requires careful management to optimise performance within the constraints. This includes targeted weed and pest control as well as monitoring of nutrient levels and application of targeted remediation as appropriate. The apprentice would be involved in all elements of this management strategy.
Machinery and Arable work
The Estate works with a range of agricultural contractors to produce winter feed and bedding along with other pasture inputs such as re-seeding and sowing. Contract partners are also on-board for the arable enterprise. All of these operations have, at times, a demand for additional labour and support so the Apprentice would be asked at times to assist, depending on workload and skills acquired or indeed required.
The woodland on the Estate is managed under a long-term programme including general maintenance, thinning and replanting. The woodland is managed as a habitat for a range of species with a particular focus on encouraging Red Squirrels. The Apprentice will be involved in various aspects of woodland and tree management across the Estate. A large amount of the timber produced is used to fuel the Estate’s biomass boilers and a range of log burning fires, all of which the Apprentice would support with.
General Agricultural Maintenance duties
The Apprentice will support the team and learn a range of skills while carrying out general agricultural maintenance including:
Management and Record Keeping
One of the key challenges of a large modern farm is to ensure the records for livestock, pasture management and other regulated areas are kept up to date, accurate and accessible. The apprentice would be required to learn and develop the skillset to manage these records, supporting the Farm Manager and in time developing processes to improve and digitise records.
Previous experience working on a farm would be advantageous but not essential
Qualifications required: GCSE Grade A-C in Maths and English (or equivalent). Functional skills will be undertaken at College by applicants without this qualification.
Future prospects: Progression to level 3 Crop Technician, Full time employment
To apply for this vacancy, please click on the link below: