College Farm and Estate

Sparsholt College Farm and Estate Guide

View our comprehensive Guide to the Sparsholt College Farm and Estate here.

Sparsholt College demonstrates confidence in the future of the dairy sector - click here to find out more.

Sparsholt College Home Farm

The main function of the farm is to service the education and teaching requirements of the College in addition to being farmed commercially. These resources allow for a very broad range of farming enterprises to be demonstrated, exceeding that of many larger farms. The result is that students are provided with the opportunity to be fully involved with commercial arable and livestock systems.

To balance the theory sessions, access to the College farms allows for the introduction and development of a wide range of skills involving livestock, machinery, estate skills, record keeping and management.

The Home Farm and Estate adjacent to the College comprises 176 hectares, of which 146 hectares are farmed. An additional 146ha are rented for forage crop production including maize, grass, red clover and whole crop mixes. Arable crops are also grown in conjunction with a neighbouring farm.

Home Farm is located in a NVZ (Nitrate Vulnerable Zone) and is in its tenth year of Countryside Stewardship. Five hundred metres of hedges are either coppiced/layed or planted every year. 1,500 metres of wildlife margins are in place over and above those already in place for stewardship, these are planted with a range of wild flowers and clovers to give all season flowering. This is to promote nectar production for bumble bees and other insects.


The 100 Holstein cows are milked in a three-sided Fulwood Tribone parlour with bulk milk storage. The herd is calved in the Autumn from September through to January and averages in excess of 8,500 litres per cow per annum.

The £500,000 pig unit, built in line with modern production and welfare practices, opened in March 2005 has been praised by the RSPCA for placing the wellbeing of animals at the heart of it's design. This demonstration of excellent welfare has been viewed by thousands of people as the College educates the public on open days and school children on scheduled visits.

The pig herd comprises 130 sows and is 75% pure Large White. The progeny are reared to bacon. Each sow has an individual pen for their litters, these have an exercise area, rails to prevent piglet crushing and a warm creep to attract the litter from potential harm. To keep the animals healthy, the straw is changed three times a week, in addition to the rigorous cleaning programme. The unit is used not only for commercial production but as a teaching aid to both agriculture and animal studies students who benefit from the experience of handling larger animals.

The sheep flock comprises 300 breeding ewes which lamb early (late January or early February) to enable students to gain practical experience prior to going out on work experience. A new sheep barn will be built this year. Additional practical work with sheep is undertaken on neighbouring commercial farms.

The college farm livestock are used to demonstrate and teach relevant livestock husbandry skills in a commercial environment. Many students leave with competency certificates in Livestock Handling and Husbandry and Safe Transport of Animals. In  addition, courses are available in introductory livestock handling and husbandry skills.


A wide range of machinery is available for teaching and demonstration purposes. A fleet of small tractors are utilised for introductory tractor driving skills whilst another fleet of modern larger field work tractors are used for teaching cultivation and ground preparation, crop production and harvesting techniques.

Five all-terrain vehicles are available for quad bike training, plus a rough terrain forklift and a range of tractor mounted sprayers and knap sack sprayers are used to provide students with a range of industry-relevant technical certificates prior to working in the agricultural industry.


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