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Shiplake Farm

The Barn

The Doble family have been farming in Shiplake since 1904 when Edmund Doble became farm manager, and later tenant, of Shiplake Farm.   Four generations later the farm comprises 1400 acres which is either rented, owned or contract farmed for local land owners.  The farm now grows wheat, barley, oilseed rape, maize and poppies as well as grass for 160 beef cattle.  

Stephen took over from his parents, Brian and Pat, in 2011 and will be submitting regular reports on what is happening on the farm.

Shiplake Farm Bulletin - Autumn 2016


In June our Open Day was once again blessed with beautiful weather and we welcomed a record number of visitors to take a closer look at what we do.   We had a massive amount of help from the Nettlebed Farming Club and the Young Farmers but thank you very much to all the visitors, we raised £350 for Air Ambulance!

This year’s harvest got off to a poor start with disappointing yields of winter barley and oilseed rape mainly due to the dull, wet June.  Fortunately however the winter wheat yielded much better as it matures later and was able to fully absorb the sunshine in July.  As an added bonus all of the wheat achieved bread making quality which will help to offset the shortfall from the other crops.  Even the linseed did fairly well, it is the first year we have grown it for almost twenty years and we have relearned some valuable lessons for next year!

Brexit has dominated the headlines over the summer and farmers have been scratching their heads about what it will mean for them.  In the short term the weakness of Sterling brought about by Brexit has made our exports more competitive and given a welcome to lift to beef and grain prices however the long term impact in terms of farm support and access to European markets remains uncertain.   Many farmers would much prefer to operate without subsidies and the bureaucracy that goes with them however the reality is that in a global market very few British farms would make a profit without support payments. 

The current system is by no means perfect but it does compensate European farmers for following high environmental and animal welfare standards.  These standards are good farming practice which any farmer will be keen to achieve however they come at a cost and our global competitors are not restricted by them.  In return, food prices for European consumers are kept low and the public can continue to enjoy the countryside which is cared for by farmers.

Once we leave the EU it is uncertain how the British government will support farming however any new system will need to balance the needs of farmers, consumers and the environment as well as allowing time for all of those involved to adjust.

Article created / last edited: 20 October 2016