About our farms
The University of Reading has considerable land–based resources in the Reading area, with some 760 ha of farmed land and woodlands at Arborfield, Shinfield and Sonning. In addition to the School's substantial teaching and research resources in crops at Sonning and animals at Arborfield, the University Farms represent a significant commercial farming operation.
Our farmland at Shinfield and Arborfield lies approximately 3 km south of the Whiteknights campus, adjacent to and south of the M4 motorway. The University has owned parts of this area since 1903. The River Loddon runs through these farms.
Sonning Farm is approximately 4 km north-east of the Whiteknights campus. It comprises 180 ha between the A4 and the River Thames and was purchased by the University in 1934.
The biggest commercial farming enterprise is milk production at Arborfield. Almost 600 cows are milked twice a day through a state-of-the-art 50-point rotary parlour, part of the University's £5 millions commercial farms and agricultural research investment. The majority of cows are housed in cubicles, with loose housing for those calving. The Holstein herd currently averages 9,500 litres milk sold (to Dairy Crest) per cow per year. Replacement dairy stock are reared at Sonning, bred from a proportion of the better cows, while bull and beef calves are sold at 10-14 days to a local rearer. The farm is also part of the Sainsbury's Dairy Development Group.
Please view a copy of our University Farms at Reading leaflet for further information.