High animal welfare and environmental standards run through everything that is done on farm and they are keen to share these values through organised farm tours and visits.
Farmer: Nick and Claire Bragg
Address: Frogmary Green Farm, West Street, South Petherton, Somerset, TA13 5DJ
Frogmary Green Farm is set in the heart of the Somerset countryside, on the edge of South Petherton village. The farm is 202ha and the soil type is sandy clay loam. Nick and Claire Bragg have run the Frogmary Green Farm since 1992 and their main ‘crop’ is chickens. High animal welfare and environmental standards run through everything that is done on farm and they are keen to share these values through organised farm tours and visits. They also have a cookery school to further engage people with their food and where it comes from.
Frogmary Green Farm is a 320ha poultry and arable farm located on the edge of the village of South Petherton in Somerset. The farm is run by Nick and Claire Bragg who took over the farm in 1992 and the business became LEAF Marque certified in 2013.
Chickens are the farm’s main ‘crop’ and as such, high animal welfare standards are very important to the business. Stocking densities are low, a slower growing breed is used and plenty of enriching objects like straw bales, perchers and maize cobs are included in the chicken’s environment to keep them active and interested. These measures help ensure that the chickens have more room and a longer happier life than many indoor systems. In addition, Frogmary Green Farm was the first farming business to install a biomass woodchip boiler for the chicken house heating system, using timber from the local woodland. This provides a source of renewable energy and helps reduce heating bills
Currently, Nick and Claire farm 320 ha of arable crops, growing grass, cereals, maize and fodder beet. All of these crops are being grown to feed an on-site AD (anaerobic digester) plant producing biogas, which is supplied to the national grid. The spent feed is called digestate and is a valuable fertiliser which is then used on the growing crops.
Nick and Claire have worked hard both on their own farm and neighbouring farms to tackle soil erosion and run-off problems. Changes have included: planting an earlier variety of maize, also incorporating rotational crops including two/three year grass leys, using min till where appropriate and establishing larger field margins and corners. In addition, the soil organic matter content is slowly increasing through the use of cover crops.
Nick and Claire actively work with their local community groups wherever possible, hosting visits for the Brownies, Scots, YFC clubs and our local primary school. Their latest diversification venture, in conjunction with Somerset Public Health, is a Field to Fork project at the farm in the form of the S.H.E.D (Schools Health and Educational Den). This provides a purpose-built classroom where children and young people can learn about the food they eat in a farm setting and get involved in growing, cooking and eating home grown produce.
Conserving and enhancing the natural environment is at the heart of Frogmary Green Farm alongside demonstrating that these values can co-exist with modern food production. Since 2002, 4km of hedgerows and over 500 trees have been planted. Wetland areas have also been created with two ponds and wildlife areas. In addition, pollen and nectar margins have also been planted to provide extra habitat for bumblebee and insects. This has resulted in huge diversity of wildlife making its home at Frogmary Green Farm including cuckoo, linnet, song thrush, skylark, swift and whitethroat.
Nick and Claire are passionate about promoting agriculture and have a purpose built viewing gallery in their chicken house to enable visitors to see the realities of poultry farming. They have established close links with a number of local schools and are keen to welcome any organised group on to the farm. They get a real buzz from showing people around!
LEAF Demonstration Farms are commercial farms, which show the beneficial practices of Integrated Farm Management (IFM) to a broad range of audiences, through organised visits. They communicate an understanding of IFM in order to encourage uptake by farmers, support from the industry and political awareness of sustainable food and farming.
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