Potatoes are a really special crop for the farm and have been the core of our cropping for many years.
To produce top quality packing potatoes the Farm has invested heavily in modern planting, harvesting and grading machinery as well as making use of up to date technology on such things as irrigation monitoring and RTK precision steering on tractors to give more accuracy with applications. We also employ an independent potato specialist to supply advice and agronomy.
Potatoes are all harvested direct into boxes and sent direct to the customer or graded into different size bands, chilled and dispatched next day.
Varieties include Maris Peer, Annabelle, Gwenne, Iodea and Charlotte which are all grown as salads or scrapers, Marfona which is grown for early bakers and Maris Piper, Lanorma, Harry and King Edwards which are for early pre-packing. We also grow specialty varieties such as Laura, Empress and Baby Lou.
The kind climate and sandy soils in East Suffolk enable us to grow early crops of potatoes which are generally sold straight off the field in summer. Very few crops are stored because we struggle to achieve good skin finish. Up to 200 acres of crops are fleeced every year to promote earliness and protect the plants from late frosts.
The farm is also host of AHDB Strategic Potato Farm Programme for the East of the UK so we facilitate many potato trials each season and host multiple grower open days.
James Foskett Farms are members of G’s Growers and market all their onions through the pack house at Ramsey in Cambridgeshire for Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer, LIDL and Aldi
The crop is drilled in late February and March with 40% brown and 60% red varieties, then carefully managed during the growing season to hopefully produce a firm 60 to 80 mm onion to harvest in late August and September.
Harvest rates depend on dry weather so that windrowed crops have time to dry in the sun before being picked up and graded into our 3.5 ton boxes and placed into the stores for drying and cold storage.
James Foskett Farms have control of 7500 tons of modern cold box storage and conditioning facilities which are suitable for holding crop dormant until May and early June the following year.
Onions are a very challenging crop to grow and rely on favourable weather conditions to achieve good quality onions. Supply and demand is also very dependent on world markets.
Group 4 hard wheats are grown and varieties are selected for disease and drought resistance. Yields can be variable especially if the spring is dry.
Winter barley is grown for feed KWS Orwell is the most widely grown variety.
Rye is grown on a milling contract and has the real advantage of excellent drought resistance
All cereals are marketed through Fram Farmers/ADM either spot or via their well-run pool’s, this helps ensures quick movement at harvest and we have the comfort of knowing all grain is covered against bad debt.
James Foskett farms are members of by Anglian Pea Growers who produce and harvest fresh peas for freezing at Lowestoft. Anglian Pea Growers Ltd. (APG) is a cooperative of around 130 farmers in the eastern counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. APG grow Vining Peas that are frozen for Ardo UK, one of the largest frozen food producers in the world. This partnership is based on the common principle of producing high quality, great value products to look after the discerning requirements of British consumers.
James Foskett Farms, grow maize for Agri Gen the local Anaerobic Digester based at Bentwaters Park near Rendlesham which is producing gas and electricity for the national grid. Harvest and Haulage is all done by member contractors.
Sugar Beet is grown on the farm for British Sugar and processed by the Bury St Edmunds factory. The crop has been very important to crop rotations and farm profitability in east Suffolk for many years and it looks as though the 2023 price increases will make a big difference to growers continuing to grow the crop.