Fertility Farming

by Newman Turner

Notes on Goosegreen Farm

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Goosegreen Farm has 180 acres all in cultivation except 11 acres of apple orchards and about 10 acres of hill and rough grazing.

The farmstead is at an elevation of only 40 feet above sea-level and the fields slope up to the small Polden Hills. The soil is red marl formerly extremely heavy and difficult to work as may be seen from the fields furthest from the house that have not had the same benefit from organic methods -- particularly compost -- i.e. Soggers, Righton's Grave.

The stock consists of approximately 80-90 head of pedigree Jersey cattle, including a number that have been taken in for treatment, a horse and poultry. All animals are normally fed on the produce of the farm which means we carry cattle at the rate of more than one to each two acres of cropped land, in addition to other livestock.


When we first came to this farm in February, 1941, it was in a derelict state and nothing has been done to the buildings except essential repairs and the installation of a milking parlour and dairy. Much therefore still needs to be done. But capital has been extremely limited and we were reduced to scratch by the ravages of disease in the early years. Everything, therefore, has to be done out of income. Hence the strictest economy on non-productive expenditure.

Goosegreen is consequently a hard-working farm, without any frills. It is not a model farm, though we think our methods with the land and livestock might constitute a practical model of farming that can maintain health in crops and stock and at the same time yield profitably.

Mechanization has been very limited and only on a scale accessible to the smallest farmer -- a tractor, a milking machine, an ex-Army lorry, disc harrows and light tooth harrows, reaper and binder are the essentials.

We hope we are demonstrating that successful organic farming does not require large expenditure of either money or labour.

The Herd

The pedigree Jersey herd was founded eight years ago after costing two Jerseys against the Shorthorns and Friesians taken over with the farm. Only three times have we paid more than £90 for an animal and then for special breeding purposes. Some of the cows were bought for £5 to £15 as incurable. By treatment and breeding, we have built up a profitable herd from animals of low-priced origin. 

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