Farming is an integral part of the rural landscape at Woodhall. Whilst a proportion of the farms and land on the estate are let to agricultural tenants, the remainder is farmed in hand mostly on an arable rotation.

Agriculture has seen a dramatic change since the Second World War.

Up to the 1940s agriculture was dependent upon manpower and horsepower. The use of tractors was in its infancy, there were hardly any sprays and farmyard manure was virtually the only source of replenishment of soil nutrients. Steam threshing machines had been invented but otherwise there had been little or no technological advancement for many years. On most farms there will have been a wide range of enterprises, consisting of dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry, with cropping of wheat, barley, oats, sugar beet, potatoes and grassland. Much of the wheat, barley and oats will have been converted into animal feed so the primary source of income will have been from the sale of animals and animal products.

Steadily, year by year, decade by decade, discernible progress has been made towards greater productivity and output. The most noticeable changes have been in the reduction of labour and the increasing, now total, dependence upon machinery, sprays (herbicides, pesticides and insecticides) and artificial fertilizer. Also, the number of crops and enterprises has been reduced to a few and in Hertfordshire arable cropping is now the principal agricultural enterprise.

The Woodhall Home Farm is no exception and now grows wheat, oil seed rape, oats and tic beans, employing one person only and otherwise all primary works are outsourced to local contractors. The wheat is sold for biscuits and animal feed, the tic beans for animal feed and oil seed rape for cooking oil. All profits arising from the changes described are recycled into the infrastructure of the Estate of roads, gates, fences, farm buildings, and also the enhancement of the biodiversity and environmental protection throughout.

For information on the purchase of hay or grazing lets for horses and ponies please contact us.
Farming at Woodhall Estate
Rural Estate Hertfordshire