AW Brandreth & Sons – a family-run farming business famed for its organic milk, hay and straw production – is diversifying its business by implementing a £1.6m 4Mw Ground Source Heat Pump (GSHP) as it looks to supply high-quality feed to the UK’s racehorse industry.
The Warwickshire-based, third generation farming partnership has invested in the GSHP to dry Lucerne hay, which is in demand from the UK’s equestrian industry where it is used to provide energy, good quality protein and a source of fibre to the specialist diet of performance racehorses.
Sixty acres of Lucerne seed has been planted already, which is scheduled for harvest in August.
The heat produced by the new GSHP will also be used to produce organic dairy grade Lucerne hay as well as other forms of straw and hay.
Joe Brandreth, of AW Brandreth & Sons, said: “Thanks to the contacts we’ve built up through our successful hay and straw business over the years, we have a strong book of demand for Lucerne hay and so felt that an investment in a GSHP would help to not only diversify the business but take it to the next level.
“Shawbrook understood the long-term value that the GSHP would provide our business by unlocking the Lucerne hay opportunity for us.
“As a specialist lender, Shawbrook offered us a facility that was ideal for the project and the dynamics of our business.
“We are really pleased to be working with them and looking forward to seeing how the investment in GSHP will help us unlock a new market and grow AW Brandreth for the future.”
The project means AW Brandreth & Sons qualify for the commercial Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), a Government financial incentive to promote the use of renewable heat.
Mr Brandreth added: “Businesses switching to heating systems that use eligible energy sources can help the UK reduce its carbon emissions and meet its renewable energy targets – so we are delighted to be able to play our part in that through this project, financed by Shawbrook.”
AW Brandreth & Sons is a family-run farm business consisting of almost 600 acres of owned and rented land.
The farm has 140 dairy cows producing organic milk with a long-term milking contract.
Its other main income is driven through its hay and straw business, where it produces swaths of hay which is then baled and stored then sold to clients in the UK and Europe.
The farm is home to one of the largest storage sheds in the area, covering an acre and holding the equivalent of 440 bales in length and 90 bales wide.
The specialist Agriculture and Renewable Energy team at Shawbrook Bank provided a funding facility of £1.6m to AW Brandreth to finance the project, with the GSHP pump installed by Omi Heat and Power Ltd.
Chris Russell, Business Development Manager at Shawbrook Bank, said: “Our reputation as a specialist lender has been maintained over the years due to a strong emphasis on relationship management.
“After being approached by Joe and the team, we quickly realised that this was a superb opportunity for the business and one that we whole-heartedly supported.
“This was Shawbrook’s first heat pump project of this size and it came with a number of potential challenges, as most project finance transactions do.
“But by working closely with Joe and Martin we were able to work through those obstacles and put a facility together that will help AW Brandreth further diversify and protect their business for the future.
“I am excited to see what the future holds for the farm with this latest venture.”
Shawbrook Bank was introduced to this project by Justin Amos of Portman Asset Finance.