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Intensive Farming and Security of Tenure

Nature volume 135, page 177 (02 February 1935) | Download Citation



THE Metropolitan Water Board is promoting a Bill in the present session of Parliament to acquire the Holly Lodge Farm, Walton-on-Thames, owned by Mr. A. F. Secrett, for the purpose of making a storage reservoir. Mr. Secrett is well known in the horticultural world as one of the leading growers of vegetable produce for market. He has been particularly prominent in developing the growing of early vegetables, winter salading, etc., hither to almost wholly supplied by French and other continental growers, and by his willingness to impart his knowledge of the management of these special crops, he has contributed more than anyone else to provide the home market with these products. The farm consists of 187 acres, of which 165 are now in intensive cultivation. One acre is under glass, three acres are under frames for early lettuce, etc. The seakale beds, traversed by an underground hot-water system, extend to about £ acre. The whole farm has been redrained so as to lower the winter water table 4-6 ft. below the surface. The irrigation system, with its own well and pumps, covers 125 acres, requiring 2j miles of pipes. No other agricultural enterprise in Great Britain of this magnitude can show an equal intensity of cultivation; for example, a capitalisation of £81 per acre (exclusive of land), an output of £142 per acre, a wage bill of £62 per acre. No less than 10,000 tons of dung have been brought on to the farm for this year. It is noteworthy that Mr. Secrett, as a pioneer in his special business, has always been willing to instruct others; at the present time he has taken on fourteen young men to gain experience of his methods. They pay no premium and receive the ordinary wages; once each week Mr. Secrett lectures to them and explains his procedure.

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