Dovecote Park Open Day at JCB and Wootton Lodge

On Monday 29th June, we welcomed over 400 of our producers and their families to the JCB Visitor Centre in Staffordshire for a different take on our annual Open Day.

On Tuesday 30th June, we welcomed over 400 of our producers and their families, alongside several representatives of Waitrose to the JCB Visitor Centre at the JCB World Headquarters in Staffordshire, for our annual producers Open Day.

With our usual Open Days taking place on one of our producers holdings, this year’s event was a unique change to the usual format, offering producers not only the chance to interact with one another and the Dovecote Park team, but the opportunity for an insight into the fascinating history of the country’s oldest and most successful independent businesses.

The day began with the producers gathering at the Visitors Centre; whereupon they were divided into two groups each getting a chance to see the ‘Story of JCB’ exhibition and production facilities, as well as the historic Wootton Lodge Estate. Each group were treated to a guided coach tour of the JCB farms of Wootton Lodge Estate, a 4,500 acre site containing arable land, woodland, deer, sheep and both Aberdeen Angus and South Devon cattle. Wootton Lodge has been privately owned by the Bamford family for over 50 years and shares a long history with Dovecote Park.

While at Wootton Lodge, the visitors were welcomed by Cattle Procurement Manager Kate Sutton and Commercial Director Laurie Ibbotson, before being given an insight into the current market by Andrew Allchurch from Waitrose. An excellent lunch – with two beef options provided by Dovecote – was served at the visitors centre before the groups commenced the second portion of the day.

The JCB portion of the visit began with a wander through time at the 2,500m ‘Story of JCB’ exhibition, an interactive journey through the history of the JCB corporation – from the agricultural background of the Bamford family in the late 19th century through Joseph Cyril Bamfords creation of the company in 1945 right up to the present day JCB – one of the world’s largest construction equipment manufacturers, with 22 factories across four continents, and a workforce of over 10,000.

The exhibition was highly enjoyable, displaying for visitors the changes in size, technology and marketing seen by the company over the past 70 years.Following on from the exhibition, the team were taken on a factory tour, and given the opportunity to witness first-hand JCB’s impressive production facilities, and to see machinery assembled right in front of them.

This year’s Open Day was our biggest to date, and we were delighted to see how engaged the producers were with the estate and exhibition. Dovecote Park would like to extend our gratitude towards every one of producers who took the time out of their busy schedules to join us for the day, as well as to the Waitrose representatives for their attendance, our Livestock team for their hard work in organising and coordinating the event, and of course, to the teams at JCB and Wootton Lodge Estate for their kind hospitality and expertise.