Sunderlandwick specialises in growing high quality wheat for the baking industry.
Local flour millers mill this into specific grists used in the baking industry. Soft wheat is grown for the specialist flour millers, E B Bradshaw and Son and the flour is used in Rakusens Shemura and Kosher crackers, as well as Aunt Bessies Yorkshire Puddings.
Moisture retentive Burlingham and Holderness series soils predominate over the majority of the land at Sunderlandwick. To the west of the Driffield Trout Stream at Kelleythorpe, the soil is characterised by the gravelly loam of the Pocklington Series. A band of alluvial Frome separates the Pockington and Burlingham Series soils along the corridor of the Trout Stream.
As in all farming systems the land use is dictated by the soils underlying the land. The lighter clays of the Burlingham series are well suited to winter drilled arable combinable crops. The Holderness series clays on the higher better draining ground are also suitable for cropping, however, drainage limitations on the lower levels afford greater consistency in grass leys.
Similarly, but for opposite reasons, the excessively well drained nature of the Frome and Pocklington series soils, are also cropped with permanent grass. The droughty nature of these soils, if left unirrigated, lend themselves well to early spring and late autumn grazing.
Good yields of Winter Wheat are achievable in most years at Sunderlandwick. The clay soils requires timely cultivation and careful management to avoid operations when the soil moisture content exceeds field capacity. Currently the majority of the wheat produced is milled at the specialist Driffield millers, E Bradshaw and Sons. The resulting flour grists are used to produce Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire Puddings and Jacob’s biscuits.
Winter Barley is grown for animal feed and an on farm mill ensures that the suckler herd is never short of high quality feed and straw of known provenance. Winter Beans are also fed in the cattle fattening ration, at a level which does not induce bloat. Other beans are grown on contract for seed, and are also sold for human consumption to Arabic countries. Winter Oilseed Rape is sold to crushers to produce oil for cooking.
The Driffield Trout Stream is at the very heart of the Sunderlandwick Estate. It is the headwater of the River Hull, and is a source of drinking water for millions of people, in addition to being an invaluable wildlife resource and designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Water and wildlife protection measures are taken seriously within the arable and grass cropping.
The Estate has voluntarily entered into management agreements with Natural England under the Higher Level Environmental Stewardship Scheme. Conservation measures and eco-friendly management systems are woven into conventional agricultural practice to ensure that valuable productive land is growing food in an efficient manner with no detrimental effect to the environment.