H J Lea Oakes is one of the longest established independent animal feed manufacturers in Britain with a history dating back to Swettenham Mill in 1675 where the Lea family began milling feeds to supply the Cheshire farming community. Centuries later, we are still independent and family run and still very proud to be part of the country’s rich agricultural heritage. The company has seen many changes and expanded to become one of the largest feed manufacturers in the region supplying the agricultural community with a vast range of quality feeds across the UK.
Still based in South Cheshire, we now have mills at Aston, Congleton, Wheelock and Malpas as well as a blending operation at Prees in Shropshire. We have developed a wide range of feeds for professional farmers and smallholders as well as horse and pet owners.
At Aston Mill, we run a specialist ruminant feed mill, using some of the most advanced milling systems in the UK. The mill manufactures both compound feeds and blends. H J Lea Oakes’ feeds are relied upon by many of the largest agribusinesses in the UK. The company runs its administrative offices from here, working in an attractive cottage environment within, appropriately enough, a conservation area. The mill also has a large bagging operation and there is a small shop and collection point for farmers and pet owners alike.
H J Lea Oakes was also at the forefront of the new trend towards Organic Farming. Our Congleton mill, formerly known as Oakes Millers, part of the Northern Foods Group until 1995, has been a specialist Organic Mill as well as a dedicated non-GM site for number of years. In September 2014 we have moved the Organic operations to Malpas Mill to accommodate growing interest in horse feed also produced in Congleton Mill. We have made further investment to convert it to the production of both organic compound horse feeds and horse coarse mixes made from ingredients carefully sourced to ensure compliance with BETA Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances Code of Practice. Congleton is the home of the Equerry range of horse feeds made both as cubes and molassed coarse mixes.
Malpas Mill is now one of the few dedicated Organic Mills for over 100 miles and the DEFRA accreditation, combined with its UFAS certification, gives the company the industry’s highest accolades for excellence in this important and developing area. The once niche market of Organics is rapidly becoming mainstream and Malpas Mill is able to fulfil the orders of both compounds and blend or meal products.
Wheelock Mill, once the heart of the company and where we based our offices until 1999, now mills its own formulation of provender feeds as well as producing the Peckers range of bird feed.
In addition, we have added a new blending operation at Prees, formerly a Government grain intervention store and the Prees Airfield before that. Blends offer the farmer the ability to create bespoke formulations matching the requirements of each individual farm. It has been a growing market and now we can offer a much larger range of ingredients making it easier for us to target ever more tighter specifications. Prees is also accredited with BETA NOPS and able to produce molassed coarse horse mixes.
We are very proud of the feeds we produce, putting quality at the heart of everything we do.
H J Lea Oakes’ own group of Pet Food Superstores supply own-brand labels such as Nurtura for dogs and cats and Equerry for horses and ponies, which are sold at stores throughout the region and beyond. The stores also stock a vast range of animal and pet feeds as well as accessories for home and farm.