Wallington Farms’ Andrew Watts is responsible for 2,500 hectares of farmland in north Hertfordshire. He is an arable crops specialist who has advised the European Union as chair of the Seeds Advisory Committee to the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, is a former board member of BASIS Registration, which inspects agrochemical standards, and also ex-chair of the NFU’s combinable crops committee.
A repeat customer of Shufflebottom buildings - “six of the seven new buildings we have installed in the last few years” - Mr Watts’ latest, is a grain store at Bygrave Lodge, Baldock. The 3.6 metre surcharge fill store is 48 metres long and 24 metres wide, and has a hot dipped galvanised frame, steel spill plates and fibre cement eaves closures.
The new store brings on-farms' storage capacity up to 10,000 tonnes, enabling crops to be stored in accordance with optimal management and marketing schedules. With cooling through horizontal pipes or vertical pedestals, the stored crops are maintained in top condition. Location close to a main road means that lorries can be loaded in a few minutes, speeding dispatch. Eco features include a rainwater harvesting programme, now just awaiting storage tanks, and photovoltaic panels on the roof of an earlier grain store.
The wheat, barley, oilseed rape, peas, beans and oats produced by Wallington Farms are destined for mostly local processing, which minimises transport. “For example, most of the oats go to Bedford and the winter barley to a local maltings, through North Herts Farmers ,” said Mr Watts. These established relationships with processors should be an advantage post-Brexit. “The domestic market will remain,” said Mr Watts. “People will need flour and bread and all the arable crops we produce.”
Wallington Farms’ confidence in the future is reflected in the choice of Shufflebottom buildings. “We have chosen Shufflebottom because of the quality of construction,” Mr Watts said. “Also we deal with the same site surveyor, and the construction team does the whole job from start to finish. We have built up a good rapport with the company.”
Shufflebottom Director, Alex Shufflebottom, explains that the company constructs grain stores of any and all sizes, each one to suit customers’ exact requirements. “Our business is all about providing exactly what our customers want,” she says.