A lack of security from their short-term farm business tenancy has prompted a young couple to put their machinery fleet up for auction and emigrate to New Zealand.
For the past decade, new entrants Sarah and Scott Haywood have been building a successful contracting business in Cambridgeshire and, having secured a tenancy on a county council holding in 2017, thought they had cemented their farming future in the UK.
“It was only a five-year farm business tenancy at the outset, but we were led to believe that this would be extended to fifteen years if everything was going well at the time of renewal,” says the couple.
Regular readers might recognise the Haywoods and their machinery as they featured in our What’s in Your Shed? series earlier this year.
At the time they had big plans to invest and develop the business. But shortly afterwards, Cambridgeshire County Council announced that they would only be granted an additional three years at the farm, and they would lose two-thirds of the land.
They were also told that after this period they would have to reapply and risk losing the farm to another applicant.
“We had a few sleepless nights and, after planning different scenarios, worked out that it was too risky for us to keep doing what we were doing. Our plan was always to farm as well as run a contracting business and if we lost the tenancy, it would be too much of a setback.”
The pair looked at other opportunities but couldn’t find any attractive options opening in the next few years.
Having worked in New Zealand, Mr Haywood was familiar with the farming system and could see more potential for them to establish a successful business there. A trip to the country in June 2022 sealed the deal and, shortly after, Mr Haywood was offered a position as operations manager for a large contracting firm in Mid Canterbury.
This will give them a solid base from which to start, and they hope to buy a farm of their own in the next few years. “We’ve tried to turn the setback into a positive and we’re looking forward to starting afresh and getting ourselves re-established,” they say.
Before emigrating, the Haywoods are auctioning their sizeable fleet of modern machinery on 13 September. The sale is being run by auctioneer Cheffins and will be held at the couple’s farm in Rampton, Cambridgeshire.
There will be more than 150 lots, headed by four John Deere tractors, the newest of which is a 2022 6195R (pictured above) with an estimate of £110,000-£120,000.
Other frontline machinery includes a 2009 Claas Jaguar 960 self-propelled forager (pictured below) which is expected to sell for £60,000-£70,000 and a New Holland TX68 combine with a guide of £18,000-£20,000.
A host of implements are also up for grabs, such as Bunning and Agrihire muckspreaders, Bailey trailers, a John Deere trailed sprayer and 5m Horsch Joker 5RT cultivator.
See also: Handy checklist for buying a second-hand tractor
Haywood Farms, New Farm, Cow Lane, Rampton, Cambridgeshire – Tuesday 13 September 2022
Tractors 2022 John Deere 6195R; 2016 John Deere 6195R; 2011 John Deere 7530; 2010 John Deere 6330; 1999 Massey Ferguson 4255; Massey Ferguson 184S and 590
Forage harvester 2009 Claas Jaguar 960
Combine harvester 1998 New Holland TX68 with 24ft header
Excavator 2016 JCB JS130LC
Loader 2007 JCB 531-70 Agri Super
Implements 2019/2017 Bunning Lowlander 150 and Agrihire 15t muckspreaders; 2021/2014 Bailey 15t trailers; 2017 Horsch Joker 5RT cultivator; 2017 Kuhn Maxima 2T maize drill; 2004 John Deere 822 sprayer with 24m boom, Massey Ferguson 190LB baler