About Ditchetts Farm
- Strategic Dairy Farm since April 2018
- Spring block calving herd of 240 New Zealand Friesians and Friesian jersey crosses
- Spring block 4900 litres per cow
- 182 rented hectares
- 67-hectare grazing platform plus 20ha silage ground
- Youngstock reared on the second unit outwintered with kale
Follow our journey of you are interested in:
- Managing a spring block calving herd
- Lameness - and learning more about their progress and the healthy feet programme
- Increase quality grass yield – driving growth to 18t DM/Ha
- Genetics - breeding a better block from the best and most profitable cows
- Lean Management/Improving overall efficiency
Richard Tucker, together with his parents Nigel and Brenda run a spring block herd of 240 New Zealand Friesians and Friesian Jersey crosses on 450 rented acres at Dichetts Farm.
Based near Tiverton Mid-Devon, the farm consists of 182 rented hectares of which the grazing platform is 61 hectares. The farm grows grass for grazing and ensiling and kale for outwintering.
The herd is currently made up of 240 Friesian x Jersey spring calving cows, yielding 4900 litres of milk per cow per year with 4.61% butterfat and 3.62% protein, milking twice per day and supplying Arla.
They graze from February through to October and have 200 head of youngstock, selling surplus breeding stock. Heifers have an average age at first calving of 24 months.
Their journey has seen them concentrate on reducing lameness in their herd, which has been significantly helped with the completion of the Healthy Feet Programme and focus on track surfaces. Grazing is essential to the business so there has been a focus on grass management and soil health.
Generating a healthy return on tenant capital whilst maintaining a good working environment are other key aims of the farm.
Our key performance figures
Ditchetts Farm openly share their KPIs so you can see how they perform against a number or technical and financial measures.
- April 2018 - Ditchetts Farm launch overview - Richard Tucker is joined for his launch as a strategic farm
- September 2018 - Concentrate feeding in a spring block calving system - Andre van Barneveld explores how to better use grass to reduce concentrate costs
- January 2019 - How to keep your business on its feet - Richard explains how they reduced incidences of lameness from 23% to 12%
- April 2019 - The challenge of growing 18 tonnes of dry matter across the farm - Learning not available for this event
- September 2019 - Breeding for a better block - Richard is joined by AHDB's Fern Pearston as they look at how genetics can be used to improve fertility
- January 2020 - Knowing your numbers - How keeping tight financial controls can help your farm be more resilient
- September 2020 - Futureproofing farm infrastructure - Richard Tucker considers the options for replacing his loose housing with cubicles and a new slurry system
- January 2021 - Work smart, not hard - Using Lean Management to help tackle the time it takes to wash down the parlour
- August 2021 - Preparing for the challenges ahead - Improving cow tracks and infrastructure are helping the Tucker family improve their business
Our considered approach allowed us to target the right areas and expand without taking on too much cost