Mike Powley

Mike Powley

Oak House Farm

Oak House Farm is located in the Vale of York at Green Hammerton.  The farm has introduced regenerative soil health principles to benefit both the arable and beef enterprises.  The soil is a clay loam with a lighter ridge to the west of the farm.

Farm Facts

  • 358 acres of which 118 acres is owned and the rest tented from different landlords
  • Half is arable and half grassland
  • Regenerative farming principles across the whole farm
  • 60 acres reseeded grass, 60 acres of parkland in HLS, and 60 acres of permanent pasture
  • 117 suckler cows
  • Supplies ABP deadweight

Performance

  • The finishing diet is saving more than £1 (8kg) a head per day
  • Finished bulls average 400kg DW at 13 months
  • Bulls average 1.5kg/day of liveweight gain
  • Forage utilisation and performance has more financial gain than improved grades
  • Bulls grade mainly U

Management

  • Spring calving herd
  • 50-50 clover mix is grown for 3 years of an 8 year rotation on the arable land
  • Nitrogen application has reduced by 40%. All pesticides, potassium and phosphate applications have been eradicated.  Even in the arable enterprise
  • Increased species diversity will provide a greater variety of root depths and structures to aggregate the soil
  • The harvest precision is critical for quality. The aim is for 35-50% DM silage; 18% crude protein; 10.5-11 % ME; 72% digestibility value
  • Finishing cattle are fed:
    • 50-50 ryegrass red clover silage – 250kg DM silage bales (valued at 8p/kg DM) has replaced 8kg of barley with a significant saving
    • Molasses and straw
    • 7% home-grown beans
    • Total cost is £1.55 a head per day with a margin over feed of £3.45
  • South Devons are essential for the success of the system being easy-fleshing and good at forage utilisation

Taken from Farmers Weekly 20th February 2024