Highland Court Estate in Kent is one of two fruit businesses owned by Farmcare which will be sold as a stand alone entity. The other is Tillington Estate in Herefordshire.

Farmcare farms 13,000 hectares over 11 sites and was formerly run as Co-op Farms, but was sold to the Wellcome Trust in 2014.

A statement said following a lengthy review of its business, Farmcare was announcing “a restructuring plan that will increase the economic resilience of its farms and ensure their longterm prosperity.”

The company is already in negotiations with potential farming business partners, who will take over the operational management of the farms.

The plan will also see Farmcare closing its central office in Barnsley. In the short term there will be no change to operations on the farms, but the Farmcare board has said it will cease operational farming before September 2018.

Apart from the two fruit estates, Farmcare’s operations include arable farms producing crops such as potatoes, cereals and vegetables at Goole and Wykeham in Yorkshire, Blairgowrie and Aberdeen, Louth in Lincolnshire, Down Ampney in Gloucestershire, Stoughton in Leicester and Coldham Estate in Cambridgeshire.

The business employs a total of 83 staff, with 68 farm based staff and 15 office based staff.