A fifth-generation, family-owned potato farm in Cornwall has invested in new equipment that will see productivity more than double, after securing a £400,000 funding package from Lloyds Bank.
Situated in Lanlivery, Colwith Farm is a grower and supplier of premium quality Cornish potatoes, distributing to wholesale food suppliers and brands including McCain and Burts Crisps.
The six-figure loan from Lloyds Bank has enabled the business to install the latest robotic picking equipment to speed up efficiencies when bagging potatoes – increasing productivity on the grading line by 25 per cent.
As a result of the drive by both consumers and retailers to source food from British farms, the business has seen an increase in demand for its produce throughout the West Country and across the UK. The new equipment will allow the farm to meet the new demand while continuing to maintain the high-quality of its produce all year round.
The 200-acre farm is also home to the world-renowned Colwith Farm Distillery, the region’s first plough to bottle distillery which uses the farm’s potatoes to make its own single estate vodka and gin, and is sold to retail outlets, pubs and restaurants throughout the West Country.
Clare Dustow who manages the farm with her husband Chris as part of the generational family partnership, believes the new technology has come at a pivotal time to allow the business to continue to grow.
Clare commented: “Investing in the efficiency of our processes is absolutely key to our growth. Over recent years we’ve seen a surge in demand for our premium potatoes and investing in new robotic technology allows us to speed up the picking process and fulfil more orders for our customers.
Colwith Farm has been a customer of Lloyds Bank for more than three generations and has grown from strength to strength during this period to become one of the region’s most renowned potato farms.
“The relationship with Lloyds Bank has been fantastic over the last few years. Our relationship manager totally understands our business and the competitive sector we operate in. With his support, we have been able to grow and invest in new equipment that will only enhance our productivity.”
Jeremy Weekes, agricultural relationship manager at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Colwith Farm is a perfect example of a business that embodies the heightened demand for superior British farming produce. We’re proud to have supported the farm through Dustow family generations and I’m confident the latest investment will allow the team to continue to thrive in the years ahead. We will remain by the side of agricultural business to help them achieve their growth ambitions.”