60 years Young!
This summer has seen William Morfoot Ltd celebrate it’s 60th anniversary. Founded in 1962, the company has seen huge changes in the world of farming since the post war years but many of the core services offered by the business in the 1960’s continue to be offered today. Critically, the mantra of trying to exceed our customer’s expectations remains as true today as it was when the company started. The current team at the company were joined for a small celebration by both long standing customers and many new faces too on our stand at the Royal Norfolk Show this summer.
In the early days of trading, the company was involved in helping UK agriculture to become more self sufficient – with less dependence on imports. Works back then typically involved land reclamation, field enlargement, land drainage, ditch excavation and general water management. The company regularly used to undertake ‘stump blasting’ to remove trees and tree roots from the ground – achieved using explosives!
Back in the 60’s and 70’s, there was considerable financial support from the government to fund these improvements on farms in order to promote food security for the UK and as a result, grants were readily available to farmers to undertake the works that needed to be done. Much of the work in early years was undertaken under the supervision of drainage officers employed by the Ministry of Agriculture – who were there to ensure projects were delivered to the correct standards and in a timely way. With grant aid ending in the early 1980’s, the drainage industry as a whole saw some the early boom years come to an abrupt stop. The post grant aid period saw a much lower uptake in land drainage across the country as investment stopped and farms made do with what they had.
Winding the clock forward to the turn of the century, the tides changes again and by this stage our business had evolved considerably. Land Drainage interest had slowly and steadily become increasingly important again, with many of the original early drainage schemes now approaching 40-50 years of age. The majority of land drainage work delivered today is geared around replacing tired and obsolete older schemes which are underperforming and no longer delivering the results which are needed.
The company today is running 3 drainage teams on a year round basis and with data showing that our schemes are typically delivering a 25-35% uplift in yield; the demand for land drainage is steadily increasing as farmers look to maximise yields all the more following the steady removal of the Basic Payment Scheme. The company today has continually embraced modern technology and is particular well-known for it’s detailed and comprehensive drainage surveys – which are completed using the very latest in GPS technology and computer software. Investing in the very latest equipment has long been an important policy of the business and recently, the company has taken delivery of another tracked stone cart to help deliver future projects. The pictures below show the new machine on our stand at Cereals Event which was held few weeks ago.
Away from the land drainage sector, the company also are heavily involved in environmental projects and in particular, wetland creation and water course management. River restoration work, wetlands to improve water quality and create new habitats, scrapes and pools for wader birds all form just a small part of some of the diverse and hugely exciting array of projects the company is involved in today.
Agriculture and the wider countryside has evolved and changed considerably since 1962 but we are regularly told by some of our oldest clients that it is both reassuring and pleasing to continue to see Morfoot teams along with our equipment delivering improvement projects on farms across the country! We are very much looking forward to the next 60 years and thank all of customers for their continued business as we enter our 61st year of trading!