Lodge Farm, Nuneaton, Warwickshire
73ha grassland, 20ha rented grassland + 61ha overwintering forage rye and vetch on rented arable
160 Aberblack ewes, 50 Aberfield ewes
180 pedigree Suffolk ewes
Additional enterprises, other than livestock:
Fleece & Flowers: growing seasonal cut flowers for wholesale and retail market using organic and sustainable production methods
Farming background and objectives
Following an Ag with Animal Science degree at Harper Adams University, I joined PIC for five years. Working as part of the biggest livestock genetic company globally opened my eyes to the potential of genetic improvement. Next, I joined Innovis as a rep in 2012 and helped to develop the Aberblack breed based on our family’s Bentley Suffolk flock. I returned to Lodge Farm full time in 2017 to get more involved in the family business and Bentley Suffolks and spend more time at home with our two young daughters, Olive and Meghan. The farm’s objective is to support both my parent’s retirement and my young family.
We aim to produce 250 commercially focused, grass fed rams for sale each year, continually improving their genetic potential whilst maintaining type and functional traits. We’re also focused on improving the Bentley Suffolk brand as easy lambing, commercially focused sheep with the ability to thrive on a grass system. In addition, we’re building the Fleece & Flowers business over the next three years to achieve its potential.
Interesting fact about your farm
I am the third generation of Harding to farm at Lodge Farm and run Bentley Suffolks. Farmers Guardian Sheep Innovator of the Year.
When and why did you become an Innovis breeding partner?
We became a breeding partner for Innovis in 2012. The decision to work with a sheep breeding company was influenced by the fact I’d gained experience from working in the pig sector with PIC which introduced me to composite genetics and maximising their performance on commercial units. Once with Innovis we helped to develop the Aberblack, we saw both the potential the breed and working with Innovis as a breeding partner could have for our business.
What do you enjoy most about your role with Innovis?
Linking with some of the best sheep farmers in the country, while constantly learning from the other breeding partners and the Innovis team. Innovis and its team are also totally focused on improvement, which means we cannot stand still; they force us to get better and breed better each year – something which I really enjoy.