The Leckford Estate was purchased by John Spedan Lewis (the founder of the Partnership) in 1928 as his private estate, was converted into a limited company in 1929 and is now part of the John Lewis Partnership.
In August 2001 the Leckford Estate became part of Waitrose & Partners providing a real focus for it to produce food for the Partnership’s Food Stores under the Leckford Brand.
The Leckford Estate currently works across the following business units: Farming, Food Processing, Retail, Leisure and Events, Property Services and the Estate Office. You can find more information on each of these areas below and there’s more detail about the estate on the Leckford Estate website.
Arable crops: Partners are responsible for growing 550 hectares of combinable crops on an annual cycle using a combination of plough-based and non-inversion tillage systems.
Dairy production unit: There is a long history of dairy production on the Estate and in 2007 the two existing Holstein Friesian herds were combined with a further 200 bought-in cows to give a single herd of 600 cows in the newly built Abbotts Manor dairy complex, employing eight Partners.
Forage crops: The forage area comprises about 140 hectares of forage maize for silage, 90 hectares of grass leys for silage, 70 hectares of grass leys for grazing (dairy cows), 130 hectares of permanent grass for grazing (youngstock and dry cows) and about 16 hectares of lucerne for haylage (for the dairy cows).
Fruit farm: There are approximately 20 hectares of orchards on the shallow chalk soils at Leckford, employing one Partner and producing about 300 tonnes of high quality dessert apples and pears.
The Fruit farm also encompasses the 4.7 hectare vineyard planted in 2009, with the first harvest taken in 2011 (4 tonnes making 2,500 bottles of sparkling wine).
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