SILVER WINNER FOR NEW ENTRANTS AWARD: AGAINST ALL ODDS
OF THE YEAR
Sponsored by: Massey Ferguson
Dean and Katie Whybrow
Lower Wilbury Farm, D. & K. Whybrow, Bedfordshire
Husband and wife team Dean and Katie started out their farming journey working on a 1000 acre estate in Bedfordshire while building their own herd of Hereford cattle and flock of Kerry Hill sheep.
However they always had aspirations to run their own farm, and in 2013 they started applying for tenancies all over the UK. Eventually they got lucky and in 2015, landed a farm business tenancy on an 80 acre farm close to their friends and family.
Dean and Katie invested in 250 cull ewes to lamb in their first year on the farm, they then kept 100 ewe lambs as replacements and bought in some younger sheep too. In 2017 they lambed 450 ewes in total, upping this to 700 in 2018. 150 of these ewes are the couple’s pedigree flock of Kerry Hill sheep, many of which are sold as breeding stock which adds value.
They also introduced 50 Norfolk Black turkeys and reared them for Christmas in the farm’s orchard, advertising locally and word of mouth have increased demand and this year they have orders for 150 turkeys. As well as the turkeys, the couple also run 40 head of pedigree Hereford cattle and 50 pigs.
Dean and Katie see value in participating in Open Farm Sunday and holding open lambing weekends on the farm, often this is in conjunction with barbecues showcasing their home-produced beef and lamb, which is sold in their farm shop. The shop is situated in the old farm dairy and opens for one day each month.
Labour has been a problem for the couple, running the farm with no outside help. Lambing time was especially challenging, juggling the sheep and caring for their young family, while Katie also held down a part-time job outside the farm.