Russell Smith Farms is a purely arable operation. They grow about 1,500 acres of cereals and sugarbeet, along with around 1,000 acres of vegetables for the supermarkets, and both organic and conventional crops. The vegetable operation requires a huge amount of water, which is provided through borehole extraction and reservoirs – they are currently in the process of building a new 110 million gallon reservoir to allow for continued irrigation during dry years.
Environmental values are important to their farming business. Russell Smith Farms is signed up to ELS and HLS schemes, and they are a LEAF demonstration farm, hosting a number of visits each year. Russell Smith Farms also hosts many local schools to teach them about farming and the environment, in addition to being a Waitrose demonstration farm. Each year they collaborate with neighbouring farmers to host an Open Farm Sunday event, which attracts over 2,000 visitors.
Russell Smith Farms has many strong ties with some of the large seed and plant breeding companies. RAGT and KWS are both based on the farm, and they also work closely with some of the leading agricultural companies in the R&D field to help bring new products to the market.
Growing both organic and conventional crops, Russell Smith Farms is constantly learning new ways of how the two methods can benefit each other. Much of their land is located in the heart of Cambridge’s biotech/agritech cluster, ensuring they are very aware of the importance of synergy between farming and science and technology.