to the Duffields 125 website, celebrating 125 years of one of the UK's leading and trusted animal feed manufacturers

The 2015-16 year was a special one for us as we shared with our customers, friends, families and the public our incredible history dating back to 1890.

Today in 2020 Duffields produce approximately 350,000 tonnes of animal feed each year, producing feeds for the pig, poultry, cattle, sheep, game and specialist feed sectors.

The company is based over four sites across the UK with a fleet of 40 lorries and a team of 165 employees.

Take a trip down memory lane to see the fascinating artefacts from the Duffields archives and share your own memories with us, too.

If you're interested in joining the band of happy customers who trust Duffields animal feeds, then we'd be delighted to hear from you.


I am so proud to be Chairman of Duffields Mills Limited as it reached its historic 125th year of trading. I wanted to mark this achievement by producing a website to celebrate my family, our staff and Duffields the business, using memorabilia handed down to me through the generations.

Duffields is a family-owned business steeped in tradition and respect; but having that history does not necessarily mean that you will be successful and, certainly in today's tough economic climate, a business cannot rely on a name and historical links alone. Management have to make difficult decisions to ensure the longevity of a company, embrace technological advances and ensure that product quality and customer service are of the highest standard, whilst also maintaining profits for stakeholders - quite a list!

The company has been through a variety of major incidents. My great grandfather William Lant Duffield survived bankruptcy, flooding, two world wars, droughts and the depression. My father, Hugh Anthony Duffield (known as Tony) guided us through flooding and a major expansion period. Since I have been Chairman, we have overcome swine flu, bird flu, foot and mouth disease and double dip recessions. Due to its localised and simple management structure, the company has always been able to make quick business decisions and respond to current needs and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

During the course of research for this website, I found myself questioning why my relatives made the decisions that they did and the rationale for acquisitions that they made. I will never know the answers. But, the moral and ethical guidelines with which the Duffields family run the business has remained constant. These core trading concepts have stood us in good stead during turbulent times.

Duffields remains a trusted brand within the agricultural sector, fulfilling industry needs and exceeding customer expectations across the UK. Duffields was founded in Norfolk and has always taken a quietly active role in the community. The heart of the business will always remain here, but to continue to be successful we had to look further afield. In the future, I anticipate Duffields will continue to expand across the UK to meet the growing demands of existing and new customers.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to my family and each and every member of staff at Duffields, both past and present. They have shown dedication and commitment to building the business into the success it has become, and will continue to be. When you have a good team around you, you will never be alone in your endeavors and that support is gratefully received.

I hope you find something of interest as you start your journey on this website and get an inside view into how Duffields has developed, evolved and thrived across two centuries.

Alistair Duffield
Chairman & Managing Director, Duffields

Share your memories

We want to hear your memories of Duffields, old and new, as we celebrate our 125 anniversary. Share your photos and words by filling in the form here. You can also post on our Facebook page and join in the celebrations on Twitter with the hashtag #Duffields125

Duffields employee Eric Way recalls his 40 years with the company.

When did your family first start working for Duffields? It was 1934. My father Ernie lived in one of the worker bungalows just a stone's throw from the Saxlingham Thorpe Mill site. My father originally worked as a contractor but became a full-time employee when the company expanded.

What are your early memories growing up near Saxlingham Thorpe Mill? I can always remember building rafts as a child. There were sluice gates which opened and closed to control the river flow through the mill. This was when the river flowed through the site to power the mill, before new technology was brought in. When I knew the gates were about to open, my friends and I would jump into the river, climb onto the raft, and be propelled at great speed by the power of the water. The millers would always shout 'What are you doing?' but they could never catch us!

When did you start working for Duffields? I started working for Duffields in 1971. I had a young family at the time. When I joined my two brothers Phillip and Alan were also working for Duffields. Phillip has recently retired and Alan is still working at Saxlingham Thorpe Mill. My job saw me driving a van delivering loads to local small-holdings in the area. I was a driver for most of my time at Duffields apart from the 10 years leading up to my retirement when I worked in the mill.

What was the attraction of working for Duffields? The company has always been well-respected. There were many of us local lads working for Duffields because they were, and still are, a good, stable employer. Reflecting on things now, I really believe a mutual respect has developed between Duffields and the families they employ.

What was it like working for a family-run business? There was a difficult time in my career when I wasn't coping too well. I remember speaking to Tony Duffield, or 'Mr Tony' as he was known, about my problems. Tony's response was "Well, what can we do to help you?" He listened to me, we came up with a solution and I was so relieved we had talked it through. I distinctly remember how sympathetic Tony had been to me.

It was a case of 'keeping it in the family' when your son Mark joined Duffields?... That's right. Mark used to accompany me on work trips from a young age. He was given a trial by Duffields and applied to join the team full-time in 2011. I've seen Duffields grow over the years. Demand for Duffields products is always on the increase and that's really encouraging for the staff who believe the company can provide job security for the future.

What are you and Mark doing now? Well, after 40 years' service with Duffields I did retire but I couldn't keep away! I now work part-time as a handyman at Saxlingham Thorpe Mill. Mark's doing really well. He's working shifts on intake which is where raw materials come into the mill prior to processing.


Link to the Duffields gallery
Link to the hat gallery

Contact us

Duffields East Anglia & Head Office

Saxlingham Thorpe Mills
NR15 1TY

T 01508 470 661

Duffields (South East)

The Old Colliery

T 01227 723 838

Duffields (South West)

Babylon View
Pen Mill Trading Estate
BA21 5HR

T 01935 432 299

Keepers Choice Game Feeds

Botley Mills
SO30 2GB

T 01489 780 033


Alistair Duffield would like to thank the following for their support in compiling this 125 anniversary commemorative website:

AF PRomote (Anglia Farmers Ltd)
Archant Ltd

Eric Way
George Gilbert

Jonathan Neville of www.norfolkmills.co.uk
Mark Way

Michael Duffield
Stephen Peck