Broadenham Farm

Broadenham Farm.

Robert and Jean Smith came to Broadenham Farm in 1961. There were then 100 acres. The 170 acres of Paull's Ash Farm were added in 1969.
Four men were employed to run the farm where there was a herd of Ayrshire cattle.  These were being bred up to be a Friesian herd. When a new milking parlour was installed the labour then employed was a contract milker, Alfie Evans, and Sarah and Clive Goode, tractor driver.
    A scheme was developed nationally to allow farmers to go out of milk production. A decision was made and the dairy herd was sold. The farm cottages were let to private tenants.
    The farm was then run by Robert and his son, John, who went to agricultural college. The farm supported a flock of 100 ewes, Dorset Horns crossed with a Texel ram. All produce from them was sold to North Devon Meat Co. Beef animals were reared and 70 acres produced wheat, barley and oats. Wessex Grain Co. cleaned, dried and sold the grain while some was used for milling and mixing and fed to the beef animals on the farm.
    Robert became ill and Wayne Sparks helped out on a contract basis. Sadly, in 1993, Robert died and John took charge of the farm Changes had to be made. Wayne stayed on. The sheep were sold to Mike Mouland but stayed on the farm on rented land. 100 - 120 acres of grass and maize provided winter feed and 152 acres grew wheat, barley, field beans and oats.
    The system is the same today. John share farms 133 acres of arable land in Thorncombe and to supplement his income has a Heavy Goods Vehicle Licence. He transports cattle, corn and straw for a local contractor.
    This year the weather has had a disastrous effect. The normal spring processes of spraying could not be carried out on time because the contractor could not come. The Autumn rain prevented the sowing of the winter wheat. It has been impossible to drive on to the fields at the right time. Harvesting the maize crop is usually completed in 6 hours; this year it has taken 3 days. To add to the problems the heavy rain has moved the surface soil and blocked the field drains on lower land.
    When the paperwork involved in farming today requires many hours of work it adds considerably to the stresses of the everyday life of the farmer.