Earlier this month, on Wednesday 7th September, we hosted our annual open day. Following the pandemic and the limitations it presented, this was our first real opportunity to open up our new site at Dean Lane Farm.
Dean Lane Farm is unlike any premises that we’ve ever had. The site, once a large commercial farm and farmhouse, has been converted into offices, a warehouse and an expansive trial site – all within a once again functioning commercial farm.
The day itself was put on to not only demonstrate the new site and successful growth that Bright Seeds has seen, but to give a demonstration of the once niche catch and cover crops that are becoming ever more mainstream.
At the heart of the new site and the open day, however, was a display to show how a commercial farm can run practically and proactively alongside a successful shoot.
We were lucky enough to have a range of individuals and organisations from right across the agricultural and shooting world.
Among those attending included The NFU, Shooting Times, Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, National Gamekeepers Organisation and Velcourt – as well as various farmer cluster groups, the team from Cranbourne AONB, Perdix Wildlife Supplies and numerous farmers, gamekeepers and shoot owners.
What was on Show?
Crops – It wouldn’t be a Bright Seeds open day without the finest selection of game, cover and conservation crops, and we certainly had that.
With the expected introduction of the Environmental Land Management Scheme (ELMS), much of the focus was on our vast range of stewardship options. From our full range of Pheasant & Finch mixtures to Autumn Promise, Easy Grow and our Weed Buster range – we had various compliant mixtures on show that tick all of the boxes. As mentioned, with ELMS expected to enter the fray soon, there was a lot of interest shown by farmers and ‘keepers alike on these mixtures, with many deciding now what they will put in the ground next year.
We also had some new trials on show. Following one of the hottest and driest summers on record, our new Sorghum variety, more suited to drier summer periods, piqued the interest of almost every party that walked past it. Other trials focussing on carbon uptake were also closely watched and talked about.
Another point of interest were our ongoing herbicide trials. We are currently trialling a certain herbicide within wild bird mixtures, so we can continue growing these mixtures in the same areas. Again, this is particularly pertinent within ELMS agreements, so there was a keen interest registered by everybody from farmers to gamekeepers and conservationists.
New Building – The other big attraction was the vast new office building and warehouse site, both located where the farmhouses and barns were located.
The main talking point during tours of the office building was the sustainable nature of its construction, with our managing director Chris Bright keen to make Bright Seeds carbon neutral by 2030. To meet this target, the building has 72 solar panels on the roof that power a ground source heat pump, running the underground heating throughout the building – by far the most efficient form of heating. It also heats our hot water too.
Additionally, the electricity is almost neutral, with the majority of it being offset by the solar panels. And, there was much conversation about our plan at looking into using only electric forklifts in the warehouse.
Chris Bright continued expanded on the matter by saying, “For us, the purchasing of the farm, and building of the new offices, presented an opportunity to become self-sufficient and sustainable. We previously rented our office space, and this was the first time we’ve been able to put money into something we’ve owned,
With that in mind, and considering the environmental pressures and rising energy bills that we all face, we wanted to make the farm as green as we could”.
Food – The other big talking (and meeting)point was the food on offer! It wouldn’t be an agricultural open day without some hearty sustenance. And a big thank you to (who put on and supplied the food?) for providing very well received bacon baps and venison burgers.
There was also a trailer full of free cobs of corn to take away that had been grown right here on Dean Lane Farm!
New and Old Customers
Our Open Day was attended by both existing customers and those who don’t currently work with Bright Seeds, and we would like to thank once again everybody for showing up – especially considering the weather forecast! We had over 200 attendees and some very positive feedback.
On a more solemn note, it would feel wrong not to mention the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, which happened the day after our Open Day.
Thank you for your service and leadership.