Five types of crop suitable for growing on a smallholding

Five types of crop suitable for growing on a smallholding

Farming and agriculture

Some of the West County’s most profitable businesses started off by growing crops on a smallholding. So what can you grow in the West Country? We’ve taken a look at just five of the many types of crop suitable for smallholdings.

Fruit and veg

As obvious as it may seem, some of the most successful farm shops stemmed from growing fruit and vegetables on their land.

From strawberries to runner beans, pumpkins to potatoes, the demand for organic fruit and vegetables is on the rise. Last year the Soil Association reported an increase of 4% in the number of organic product sales.

Whether it’s delivered in a vegetable box to their door, or by wandering through the local farm shop, there will certainly be a demand.

Herbs

Herbs can be great for adding flavour to food and some even boast medicinal powers! What most may not know is that some of the most popular such as basil, mints, coriander and dill are relatively easy to grow.

With so many types of annuals, biennials and perennials, there is plenty of scope to find the perfect plants suited to your smallholding!

Flowers

Looking to put your green fingers to work in the flower world? The West Country’s milder temperatures, especially in Cornwall, allow blooms to be grown successfully throughout the year.

From cut to dried flowers, bulbs to bushes, there is a range of seasonal types for all kinds of customers. Consider supplying local / national florists, garden centres and even showcase them at local markets and agricultural / horticultural shows.

You could potentially create a great source of income; being a speciality crop it allows smallholders to reap high-value rewards for their products.

Trees / plants

Trees and plants are a great way of reducing CO2 and can be a profitable earner for smallholders.

Willow and bamboo are commonly used in natural wicker products, such as furniture and baskets. Bamboo in particular, is fast becoming a new ‘super material’ and is now used in large-scale timber developments.

Trees such as firs, pines and spruces are great for smallholdings running seasonal businesses like Christmas tree farms.

Whether you have 2 acres or 20, there is an array of different sized species appropriate for your land.

Mushrooms

If you have shady areas on your smallholding, why not consider growing mushrooms?

According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the mushroom sector contributes to 4% of the annual horticulture income, which means there’s plenty of room for growth.

Common types grown in the UK include shiitakes (found in shady areas) and oyster mushrooms, which can be can be grown on straw. But the list is pretty much endless, with more exotic mushrooms being grown locally than ever before!

What next?

Setting up a smallholding from scratch with little or no agricultural experience can be a daunting prospect, but that’s why West Country Dream is here to help you along the way.

If you’re looking to take your first steps we can help you with an introduction into being a smallholder with our range of courses and workshops. Give us a call on 07816 514667 or visit our courses page.

Mortgage advice for buying a smallholding or farm

Mortgage advice for buying a smallholding or farm

Buying property with land Farming and agriculture

Considering buying a smallholding or farm? Whether you’re already searching, or about to start looking for your West Country Dream, you’ll need to be fully clued up on the type of mortgages available to you.

We take a look at some key points to bear in mind when seeking your perfect West Country property.

Is there an agricultural tie?

If you’re looking for a farm or smallholding, be aware that it may have an agricultural tie, which can limit the number of lenders available to you.

Agricultural ties, also referred to as Agricultural Restrictions, are sometimes applied to agricultural properties that have been built on a farm/smallholding where development would not usually be allowed.

This means it will have conditions that have to be met in order to live or buy that property. The most common rule is that the house ‘must be occupied by someone who is, or was previously employed, in the locality in agriculture’.

As a result, there tend to be fewer lenders who are willing to mortgage properties that have agricultural ties.

However, properties with ties tend to be much cheaper than those without, so if you don’t have a connection to agriculture you can apply to remove it or rent it out to someone who does!

Farm / commercial mortgage

Many mainstream mortgage lenders will often ask how much land is with the property. If it’s over a certain amount of acreage, you may need to find a specialist mortgage advisor.

A smallholding is usually defined as between two and 20 acres, with anything over this size classed as a farm. If you’re looking for a smallholding with minimal acreage for hobby farming, you could still be entitled to a commercial mortgage.

Using a lender that specialises in agriculture can be advantageous because they will have more knowledge of the industry. Make sure you shop around and talk to a variety of lenders to find a mortgage most suited to you.

Have a business plan

Planning to start up your own farm? Whether you want to keep a flock of sheep or a dairy herd, ensure you have a thorough business plan.

A business plan not only helps you to have a clear picture of what you want to achieve from your farm and how you will attain it, it is also essential to securing a mortgage.

Lenders often require evidence as reassurance you will be able to make the mortgage payments so what better way of showing them than by having a detailed business plan!

Do your research

Whether you’re buying a smallholding to keep a handful of sheep or starting up a dairy farm, do your research to find the most suitable mortgage lender.

The extra time invested initially could save you thousands later down the line.

Searching for a smallholding or farm?

We can help find your perfect property in the West Country, simply give us a call via our contact page or take a look at our land and property services.