The Welney Website
Pates Farm, Tipps End
page created June 2006, amended/updated
Saturday, 18 October 2014
- page contents
Farm, off Wisbech Road, Tipps End/Tipsend, is
part of Norfolk County Council's Welney Estate of tenanted farm holdings.
The farmhouse and yard are on the west bank of the Old Croft River which
here is the parish boundary, so they are actually in Upwell Parish.
farm is the home of the Goodger family and is the base for their farming
operations. The farm also houses the headquarters and distillery of a
co-operative of which they are members,
Norfolk Essential Oils.
The following information is from the Goodger family's information leaflets
produced for their farm open day in June 2006.
Farm is situated on the Norfolk/Cambridgeshire border. The county boundary
runs around the western perimeter of the farm. The Farm is now the centre
of operations for the Goodger family who have farmed in Welney and the
surrounding area for the last 70 odd years. The current farmers have been
at Pates Farm for 8 years. The farm extends to some 500 acres for this
season, some of the land is owned and the rest is tenanted from various
land lords. The land is predominantly grade one silt with some more
difficult darker soils known locally as skirty type soil.
grown are 200 acres Wheat, 15 acres Oil Seed Rape, 36 acres Spring Beans,
55 acres Sugar Beet, 70 acres Potatoes, 26 acres Onions and 75 acres herbs
for Essential Oils production. The land does not have irrigation and
generally the crops grow well on the fertile silt soils.
sold through the Fengrain co-operative at Wimblington and the crops are
grown for animal feed, biscuit flour and bread flour. The biscuit wheat is
often delivered to Heygates Mill in Downham Market. Oil seed rape is grown
for seed production and for its oil which is used in cooking and can be
used as bio-diesel.
beans are grown for Human consumption and as a seed crop.
beet goes to the British sugar factory at Wissington and is used in
'Silver Spoon' sugar. This is a much mechanized operation and contractors
Russell company harvest the beet with large 9 row machines which cost
around £300,000 and have made this a specialized operation.
The potatoes are marketed through the Greenvale Company and the farm is a member of AP
Growers which is the co-operative arm of Greenvale AP. The potatoes grown are all
'Maris Piper' and this year 60% of the crop is pre-sold to McCain's who will make them
into their familiar chips. The remaining 40% will most likely go to fish and chip
shops. Around 60% of the crop is stored on farm after lifting for sale during December
through to May.
have been marketed through the Holus group and the farm has been supplying
onions to Asda for about 10 years now on a regular basis. Morrison's have
also been a recipient of the onions. These are stored off farm in rented
storage through to January when they will be graded and pre-packed for the
are grown for essential oils and are all distilled in the Norfolk
Essential Oils distillery which is situated on the farm. The Distillery is
a farmer co-operative and is run for the benefit of all the farmers in the
group. Herbs grown at Pates farm include Chamomile, of which there are two
types, Roman (also known as English) and German; Yarrow, Hyssop. Melissa,
Peppermint, Hemp and Clary Sage. The crops are cut with a mower like that
used for hay and allowed to wilt for 24 to 48 hours before being taken to
the distillery in the special loading wagon that lightly chops the crop
before it is placed in the large distillation vats. The crop then has very
hot steam passed through it for 1 to 2 hours in most cases and this
extracts the oil from the flowers and leaves, the hot steam with oil then
cools and the oil floats on the surface of the oil where it is collected,
filtered, dried and then bottled for storage before selling to companies
like The Body Shop who use it in bath and aromatherapy products.
is part of two crop assurance schemes, the combinable crops scheme which
verifies all the grain crops the assured crops scheme which verifies the
potatoes, herbs and onions
only employs contractors to harvest and cart the sugar beet crop, all
other work is done by the family. Onion lifting equipment is co-operated
with Frank Hartley and Sons, and combine and drill operation is shared
with Wesley Poole who is a close neighbour. Grading of potatoes for fish
and chip shop sales is carried out by HG Bliss of Christchurch. More and
more of this type of sharing and co-operation is necessary to cut costs in
order for these family farms to survive.
has taken 16 acres of land out of food production and cropped it down to
environmental areas such as 6 metre strips around field margins like
ditches, this creates good habitats for small mammals, birds and insects.
Other areas will be wild flowers, and wild bird seed areas. We hope this
will lead to greater wildlife diversity on this farm. This scheme is known
as the Defra Entry Level Scheme and is part of the new way of funding
environmental benefits rather than subsidizing over production of food."
For several years Ken Goodger wrote a series of excellent articles for our parish
magazine, Welney News, published under the title 'Farming Diary'. One is
available on this website - see link on right. I wanted to publish each of Ken's diaries as
they are a very valuable archive, but the editor of WN will not permit.
In 2008, an archaeological survey found evidence of 17th century farming - see report..
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