The Belvoir Estate comprises 16,000 acres, 12,000acres of which is cropable land, 1,654 acres of woodland and 2,000 acres of permanent grassland. The Estate is divided into two categories, the ‘in-hand’ estate where all of the farming and other businesses are managed by Belvoir (2,000 acres of arable land and 1,000 acres of permanent grassland and 1,654 acres of woodland) and the ‘let’ estate comprises the remaining estate, of which the farming and other enterprises are rented by tenants.
In-hand a rotation of combinable crops are grown on a first wheat rotation, through peas and oilseed rape and there is a possibility of growing potatoes in red loam soil, which is ideal for achieving a perfect skin finish to suit the supermarket qualities.
The cattle and sheep graze the Parkland and grassland surrounding the Castle and are mainly consumed in the Castle and sold locally.
His Grace the Duke of Rutland has one of the last surviving herds of Pedigree Traditional Hereford cattle, with 20 cow’s due to calve in February 2012, 12 Heifers are to be introduced to the herd in 2012-2013 to increase the herd gradually to 50 cows. Three entire Bull calves are to be sold on for breeding, 6 steer calves are to be kept for finishing at 14 – 18 months for castle consumption.
In-hand there are 306 Mule ewe lambs for breeding and we are planning to purchase 200+ in-lamb ewes in February 2012 for late lambing at the end of April.
The lambs are to be fattened on roots (stubble turnips) over winter 2012 and will be sold locally as meat or for Castle consumption.
20,000 chickens are farmed in house, with plans to grow numbers to 60,000.
The Estate is passionate about linking conservation with commercial activities. The farm is in an Entry level stewardship scheme and has signed up for a High level stewardship scheme. There is also a strong emphasis on grassland management and conservational crops for wild bird habitat and waterways, ponds and lakes are being created and restored.